What Raila Promised William Ruto

Written By Michael Maunda on Sunday, May 6, 2012 | 12:07 AM

PRIME Minister Raila Odinga promised Eldoret North MP William Ruto to use his international contacts to try and save him from the International Criminal Court if he backs him in the 2013 election.

According to highly placed ODM sources, the seven hour meeting was held at the house in Karen of a former Kanu operative on Monday, April 23. The meeting was also attended by Westlands MP Fred Gumo and Raila's wife Ida who had been to Ruto's house twice to set it up.

During the meeting Raila promised to speak to his international contacts in the USA as he was about to travel there to receive an honorary degree from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Raila left the country on April 24 and returned on Thursday morning.

According to an ODM MP, Raila promised that he would help Ruto the way '"he helped ODM chairman Henry Kosgey." In exchange, Raila wanted Ruto to return to ODM, or at a minimum not to campaign against him in the Rift Valley before the election. In January the ICC did not confirm charges of crimes against community against Kosgey and former Police commissioner General Hussein Ali. Charges were confirmed against Ruto, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, former Public Service boss Francis Muthaura, and radio presenter Joshua arap Sang.

The two agreed to meet again after Raila returned from the USA. They agreed to come to the follow up meeting, scheduled for next week, with concrete answers to their respective questions. Raila is expected to revert with a response from his international contacts while Ruto will be expected to state whether he will back the PM in the elections.

According to ODM sources, the meeting was mooted after the homecoming party in Kitale on April 22 for Justice minister Eugene Wamalwa last month. Gumo told those present at the rally, including Ruto and Uhuru, that the ICC cases should be brought back to Kenya because leaders were playing politics with them.

After the meeting, Gumo reportedly called Ruto to sound him out and was surprised to find that he was not hostile. "He took his cue on the grounds that Ruto seemed to have softened his position. Gumo then told the PM that they should initiate the talks," said the source. They met on the following day, April 23, and Ruto reportedly told Raila that it was too late and the Kalenjin have moved on while Raila reportedly offered Ruto the post of Deputy Prime Minister.

Ruto told the Star that he was not interested in any agreement. “I am beyond being approached by anybody for any deals. I want a deal with the people of Kenya directly,” he said. Approaching Ruto is part of the ODM strategy to water down the effects of Musalia's defection to the United Democratic Forum party.

In December, Ida suddenly issued a surprise statement supporting calls for the ICC cases to brought back to Kenya. At a press conference on Thursday morning, Raila dismissed Mudavadi's exit as inconsequential but challenging him to resign and face a by-election. Raila also stated that he would not oppose President Kibaki's initiative for a fresh round of shuttle diplomacy to have the ICC cases tried at the East Africa Court of Justice.

Reports that Raila may be courting Ruto have caused jitters in the G7 alliance. “ODM is regrouping with Raila and Ruto touching base and in serious talks. We have confidential information that the two met last week before the PM's trip to US,” an MP close to Uhuru said.

However Rift MPs have vowed to abandon Ruto if he returns to ODM. "He will go there alone. The ground is not looking good and we have URP as the party of choice. People are starting to feel that they have become a guitar. The Mau forest evictions brought a lot of resentment," stated an MP close to Ruto. Yesterday when the Star broke the story, Public Works minister Dalmas Otieno remained tight-lipped when asked if Mudavadi's replacement might be Ruto. "We are not short of options. You watch this space,” was all he said.
The Star