NAIROBI, Kenya May 15 – Deputy President William Ruto is now set to unveil his running mate today, after failing to do so yesterday, following a political stand-off in his party.
Ruto, whose party, the United Democratic Movement (UDA) was set to unveil its running mate Saturday, ended holding a crisis meeting with his top strategists until midnight, with journalists waiting outside at his Karen official residence.
He had been expected to make the announcement at 11am, but it was later changed to 1pm, 3pm. But it did not happen.
Sources indicate that Ruto was all set to name Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki as his running mate until Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua insisted it must be him.
“The two were then called to a meeting by the party leader and a few of his top advisors and they could not agree,” a source said, “that is when they were asked to leave so as to let the team deliberate on the matter.”
This deliberation went into midnight.
“Kenya Kwanza news conference coming up shortly,” UDA’s Spokesman Hussein Mohammed tweeted at midnight when he told journalists that the big announcement will now be made on Sunday at 11 am.
In Mt Kenya, supporters of Gachagua in Mathira held demonstrations in town insisting that he must be named to deputise Ruto in the presidential election set for August 9.
“We know the game plan they are playing, we know some leaders from Kiambu don’t like Gachagua and that is why they are influencing Ruto to change to Kindiki and we will not allow that,” a local leader could be heard saying after leading youths out of a hotel where they had been camping waiting for the announcement.
Azimio La Umoja One Kenya coalition party presidential candidate Raila Odinga is also set to name his running mate today during a rally at the historic Kamukunji grounds in Nairobi.
Raila received three names from a panel of eminent persons on Friday, which sources say include Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka, former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth and Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua.