Deputy President William Ruto now says that he is not worried about who will head Kenya’s electoral body ahead of the 2022 General Election. Speaking in Embu town on Sunday, the DP, who is considered by a section of Kenyans as a front runner in the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta, said the outcome of the 2022 polls would be decided by Kenyans and not the chairman or the commissioners of the Independent Electoral Commission IEBC.
Reacting to reports that ODM leader Raila Odinga and his allies are determined to make key changes in the electoral body ahead of the 2022 polls, Ruto said he is not worried about who will be picked to head the commission. “Anyone can assume the leadership of the Commission. We are ready and have confidence in our independent institutions,” said Ruto.
The second in command, whose allies claim has been sidelined by the President, stated that he won’t lose sleep even if the ODM chief’s elder brother Oburu Odinga is appointed to replace the current chairman Wafula Chebukati. “We don’t have a problem even if they pick Oburu Odinga as IEBC chair. I am confident because it’s only Kenyans who will decide who will become President,” said Ruto. “I am only asking them to assure us that they will accept the results without any chaos,” he said.
Ruto’s remarks come just days after Members of Parliament passed the IEBC (Amendment)(No 3) Bill 2019, which gives the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) majority four slots in the seven-member panel tasked with the role of appointing electoral commissioners. The Thursday development was seen by political analysts as a window for the Head of State and his handshake partner to take control of IEBC ahead of the 2022 polls as their allies currently hold key positions in the House.
The Justice and Legal Affairs Committee which is controlled by the two leaders’ allies is charged with the role of vetting nominees picked by the President from those appointed by the seven-member panel. Reports indicate that there are plans to make Odinga a one-term President through the ODM party’s cooperation with Jubilee. However, the former Prime Minister has not officially announced if he will vie for the top seat in 2022. In his Sunday speech, Ruto also said that he will oppose any attempt to use the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) to create positions for “selfish leaders” at the expense of needy Kenyans.