Deputy President William Ruto yesterday laid ground for the revamping of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) at a meeting in which he rallied his troops to move to the grassroots and sell his vision.
During the meeting at his Karen residence, Ruto is said to have taken dozens of MPs through the bottom-up economic approach in a Powerpoint presentation to prevent gaffes they have been making in public forums.
Ruto formally announced that the party will hold elections in December followed by a National Delegates Conference (NDC).
The DP promised not to interfere with nominations so that the party can front popular candidates with the aim of becoming the dominant party in Parliament.
“He assured us that there will be no direct nominations. We all agreed that other parties have lost elections in their strongholds because unpopular candidates are imposed on the people,” said an MP who attended the meeting.
Ruto said he will soon unveil the UDA elections board and fill party positions before end of the year.
He is said to have been keen to break down the bottom-up approach, which forms the backbone of his campaign.
“Amongst the 15 million at the bottom of the pyramid is about 4 million jobless Kenyans.
It is our considered position that through policy change in investments – by investing not in capital intensive infrastructural programmes but in labour-intensive projects in housing, the cottage industry – we can create millions of jobs,” Ruto told the Tanga Tanga MPs.
According to the MP, Ruto asked them to stop debate on his aborted trip to Uganda, saying it was a distraction to their cause.
He also assured them that everything was in place to win the 2022 elections and they should work together.
“Let us stop the politics of ethnicity, division, and hate and have a healthy competition.
Get rid of these insults and have a conversation about the economy of our nation.
Kenya will be a lot better and will stand a chance to be much greater,” Ruto said.
He said the UDA manifesto will be launched during the 2022 election campaigns.
The manifesto will have four pillars based on President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda. It will outline ways to expand the economy and source of taxes.
MPs who spoke accused the Nasa coalition of hijacking the President’s development agenda through the Handshake (with ODM leader Raila Odinga) and the Building Bridges Initiative.
“Regrettably, the Nasa coalition, its principals and their Jubilee collaborators took the government hostage and hijacked its agenda.
They mismanaged the economy leading to stockpiling of public debt to unprecedented levels occasioning the current crisis,” said Kandara MP Alice Wahome, who read a statement released by the DP after the talks.
According to the UDA supporters, their party had activated an aggressive recruitment of members.
“We have resolved to embark on a serious party registration drive to attain the projected number of over 10 million members,” said Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua.
The pro-Ruto team declared that the Jubilee Party had “collapsed”.
They accused the opposition of having participated in the alleged collapse of the ruling party.
“The opposition Nasa coalition has disintegrated. The Hustler Nation has found a new home in the United Democratic Alliance,” read the statement.
But in a rejoinder, ODM accused the Ruto team of running away from problems they helped to create.
“The President extended Tanga Tanga and their leader a lot of leeway in Jubilee’s first term, which they could very well have used to implement this so-called bottom-up approach but which they instead saw as an opportunity to loot, grab, and basically run the country to the ground,” said ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna.
He said despite what the MPs say, the truth remains that the problems in Jubilee begin and end with the DP.
“None other than Jubilee Party Leader President Uhuru Kenyatta has said as much.
We are utterly bemused that Ruto has failed to muster any sort of courage all this while to face his boss and instead chooses to shadow box by dragging in the name of Raila Odinga,” Sifuna said.
He said that contrary to the UDA supporters’ assertions, government programmes including the Big 4 agenda continue, adding that the only difference is that Ruto is no longer invited to launch them.
“We understand why Ruto would like the conversation to move from what he was doing flying around the world with unsavoury characters and doing things whose definitions do not fall too far from money laundering,” Sifuna stated.
“We will keep asking why the holder of an office a heartbeat away from the presidency keeps acting in a manner that suggests he is intent on overturning the country’s constitutional order.”