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Ruto under fire for supporting Museveni’s campaign

By NAIROBI NEWS TEAM

Deputy President William Ruto’s move to join President Yoweri Museveni on the campaign trail last week has been met by heavy criticism from Ugandan opposition leaders.

Ruto has been actively involved in Ugandan politics for the past month ahead of the general elections slated for early next year. He has on separate occasions, met and lobbied members of Parliament allied to the ruling NRM party to support President Museveni’s candidature.

This move has understandably incurred the wrath of the opposition in the neighbouring country with Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) leader Kizza Besigye leading the condemnation of Ruto’s activities.

“Ruto should be careful. He is hanging around a falling tree, it might fall on him,” Besigye was quoted by the Ugandan media.

Another opposition leader Democratic Party’s (DP) leader Nobert Mao told NTV Uganda: “There are several issues in Kenya that require Ruto’s attention such as land grabbing and corruption. (By coming to campaign here), is he trying to run away?”

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Mbale Municipality MP Mark Wamanga also said: “Ugandans know what they want. Our neighbours shouldn’t tell us who to vote for.”

It is unclear why the DP teamed up with Museveni, although the Ugandan media speculates he is either trying to position himself as an influential leader in the region, or counter a move by Cord leader Raila Odinga who recently met Besigye and another Ugandan presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi.

Ruto on his part has refuted claims of campaigning for President Museveni. Mr Ruto said that his visit to Uganda on Wednesday was to confirm and cement peace, trade and unity between the two countries.

“My visit is to confirm the partnership between Uganda and Kenya, enhance commerce and trade for a shared future,” Ruto said during a joint press briefing with President Museveni at Kapchorwa State Lodge earlier in the week.