The reverberations from a scandal in which Kenya’s powerful deputy president William Ruto was blocked from travelling to Uganda, are growing by the day. This time, the target is Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party which leads the opposition block, has come out guns blazing. The party is led by longtime opposition politician Raila Odinga who has competed in various previous elections and lost. However, a rare 2018 deal with President Uhuru Kenyatta has positioned Raila as frontrunner, against the now disgruntled deputy president Ruto.
The DP was blocked from leaving the country for Uganda on Monday because he allegedly lacked clearance from State House.
His allies have claimed the orders to frustrate the DP came from Cabinet Secretary for Interior Fred Matiang’i.
On Wednesday, ODM MPs, were spitting fire as they cast aspersions on Deputy President William Ruto’s ties with Uganda’s National Resistance Movement (NRM).
Led by Suna East MP Junet Mohammed, the opposition legislators claimed the second in command was plotting to use force to capture power in the next general elections slated for August 2022.
According to Junet who doubles as the minority whip in the National Assembly, Dr Ruto is borrowing a leaf from President Yoweri Museveni’s party on ascending to power.
“While we don’t wish to interfere with the internal political arrangements in other Countries, we want to state categorically that we don’t need to borrow from other Countries political habits whose end results can only lead to chaos and backwardness for our Country,” said Junet.
Warning Kenyans against a Ruto leadership, the legislator said the second in command will not relinquish power should be succeed his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“In embracing NRM with its authoritarian, undemocratic, antagonistic, expansionist and anti-competition tendencies, DP Ruto reveals to all that life under him will be worse and that in the event he captures power, he will never relinquish it,” continued the MP.
Pointing out NRM’s record on human rights, democracy, good governance, freedom of the press, fighting corruption among others not worth emulating, the Suna East MP claimed Dr Ruto was seeking ways to destabilise the country should he lose the elections.
Junet also described Dr Ruto as a dictator who will not observe presidential term limits should he take over the reins of power in 2022.
Meanwhile, for the first time, Ruto addressed the issue of him being blocked from travelling to Uganda. He told a local Kenyan radio station: “Yoweri Museveni is a friend of Kenya’s president, He is my friend. I have even campaigned for him. All Nasa leaders have once campaigned for Museveni. How can it be okay when he is their friend, but there is a problem when he is a friend of the DP? Am I not entitled to friends.”
Analysts have long argued that part of the reason Raila has not become Kenya’s president is because of Museveni who is said to dislike the son of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga one of Kenya’s independence leaders.
While Kenyan politicians are tiring themselves over President Museveni, the Ugandan leaders has since 2019 not been seeing eye to eye with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame. Kigali accuses Museveni of backing armed opposition for regime change in Rwanda. Kampala also says same of Rwandan leaders.
However, whereas Rwandan leaders have publicly voiced their concerns at every opportunity, Museveni has maintained silence. When the conflict began, he ordered all his government not to comment on the Rwandan issue, saying there is no fundamental problem, and that he would deal with it himself.
At the moment, the Rwanda-Uganda border is closed since March 2019. Rwandans are not allowed by their government to travel to Uganda, except those flying.
Very little in terms of imports comes in from Uganda. Uganda has also imposed restrictions on Rwanda imports.
Hundreds of Rwandans have been arrested by Ugandan security. Some have been brought and left at border, with injuries they claim were by their captors.