Deputy President William Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza alliance counterpart Moses Wetangula have criticized the Azimio-One Kenya coalition for holding a vetting exercise for its running mate.
The two leaders have particularly taken issue with Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka being required to appear before the interview panel like the rest of the potential candidates seeking to deputize Raila Odinga, terming it as humiliation.
DP Ruto, in a tweet on Wednesday morning, said Kalonzo “deserves some dignity and respect”, backing the Wiper boss’s earlier sentiments that he will not present himself for vetting.
“Though we are competitors, to subject HE Kalonzo to some humiliating ‘interview’ is impunity. We must unite to eliminate the culture of political deceit, the hallmark of some politicians,” wrote Dr. Ruto.
“Whatever the circumstances every leader deserves some dignity and respect. Heshima si utumwa.”
On his part, Wetangula accused Odinga of disrespect and humiliation to his long-time allies, adding that Kalonzo “deserves better”.
“He is at it again: disrespecting & humiliating his comrades,” said Wetangula, “Now HE Kalonzo is to prostrate himself before Raila loyalists to demonstrate his “suitability” to be a running mate.”
“SKM you deserve better! The outpouring anger is justified,” he added.
Kalonzo has since maintained that he will not appear before the seven-member team, dismissing it as “demeaning” because he should be an obvious pick to the position.
“I want to tell all Kenyans that I will not attend the said process. I find the entire thing demeaning to my person and will therefore distance myself from it,” he was on Wednesday quoted by the Standard as saying.
In the meantime, Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya Committee Secretary-General Junet Mohamed has defended the interviews which kick off on Wednesday, May 4.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Mohamed said the exercise is aimed at ensuring that Odinga does not end up with a deputy like William Ruto whose relationship with President Kenyatta has been frosty.
“The guiding principle in identifying a running mate for the Azimio Presidential candidate is: We don’t want to have a deputy president like William Ruto,” he wrote.
Candidates being considered for the deputy president’s post under an Odinga presidency will begin meeting the panel on Wednesday through Tuesday, May 10.
Those scheduled to be interviewed include NARC Kenya Party leader Martha Karua, Narc Party leader Charity Ngilu, former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, Governors Ali Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru) and Alfred Mutua (Machakos).