Monday February 17, 2020
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DP Ruto Says He’s Ready to Face Raila in 2022

Ruto was speaking in reference to media reports suggesting that the opposition leader would contest for presidency in the coming General Election

Deputy President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

By Geoffrey Isaya

Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto says he is ready to go head-to-head with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga in the 2022 race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Speaking on Sunday in Meru County, DP Ruto, however, challenged Odinga to come out clean that he would accept defeat in the next election.

Ruto was speaking in reference to media reports suggesting that the opposition leader would contest for presidency in the coming General Election. Odinga has rubbished the newspaper reports but has neither denied nor confirmed that he will be on the ballot come 2022.

“I have heard that he has announced that he wants to compete with me in 2022. I do not have a problem competing with him, but he must first tell and assure Kenyans that in case of a defeat, he will accept the decision of the Kenyan voters,” said the Deputy President.

“Let him first tell the country that in case of defeat, he will not cause chaos.”

Ruto, however, said he is currently ‘busy’ focusing on fulfillment of the Jubilee government’s development agenda.

Deputy president William Ruto sits next to Meru senator Minthika Linturi during a church service at the Full gospel Church in Buuri,Meru county.

“But for the time being, I want to tell him that I am busy ensuring that the Jubilee manifesto and the Big Four agenda are realised,” said the DP.

Earlier on Sunday, Mr. Odinga said he was “deeply disappointed” by the media reports placing him in the 2022 presidential race.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson Dennis Onyango, Odinga said his calls for his party ODM to prepare for grassroots elections were “deliberately twisted” to mean he is in the presidential race.

Deputy president William Ruto addresses residents of Meru County on Sunday.

“Raila Odinga strongly objects to reports appearing in the Sunday Nation today that put him in a presidential race he has not declared any interest in and which does not exist currently,” read part of the statement.

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“Mr Odinga entered no race yesterday and he knows no race that is on as reported in Sunday Nation.  It’s way too early.”

The former premier who is also the African Union High Representative for Infrastructure said focusing on the 2022 elections would undermine efforts towards addressing issues facing the country such as “violent elections every five years, runaway corruption, troubles in the counties, reforms to education and endangered national values.”

Next Story

Kenya Leads a Movement to End FGM by 2023

Kenya Fighting to End Female Genital Mutilation by 2023

Despite Kenya banning female genital mutilation (FGM) in 2011, the tradition of circumcising girls has continued in some ethnic communities. (Representational Image). Wikimedia Commons

By Rael Ombuor

Despite Kenya banning female genital mutilation in 2011, the tradition of circumcising girls has continued in some ethnic communities. President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed to end FGM by 2023, but activists say more needs to be done as millions of girls are still at risk of undergoing the cut.

At just seven years old, Sylvia Keis’ family told her she would be circumcised.

One day before the ceremony, Keis ran away from her home village of Ewaso Ngiro to the town of Narok — a three-hour walk.

A Masai girl holds a protest sign during the anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) run in Kilgoris, Kenya, April 21, 2007. VOA

“I just decided I better ran away even if I was going to die, because I had that emotion,” Keis said. “My father never took me to school and now he wants to circumcise me. After circumcision and you are not in school, what next? You will get married. I said I better ran away, whether I will get help or not.”

The Tasaru Girls Rescue Center gave Keis the shelter and support to avoid circumcision and stay in school.

The center’s 63-year-old founder, Agnes Pareiyo, has helped more than 1,000 girls escape genital mutilation since 1999.

Her mission to protect girls is a personal one, as her family put her through FGM when she was 14 years old.

“Because of what I went through, nobody could tell me that FGM was good,” Pareiyo said. “I did not know other effects, but I knew the pain I went through, the bleeding the whole day and nobody cared, they kept talking.”

Activists: Community, family support needed 

A man shows the logo of a T-shirt that reads “Stop the Cut” referring to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) during a social event advocating against harmful practices such as FGM at the Imbirikani Girls High School in Imbirikani, Kenya. VOA

Kenya banned FGM in 2011, but some ethnic groups like the Masai still see it as a traditional rite of womanhood before marriage.

The United Nations says one in five Kenyan women between 15 and 49 years old have been circumcised.

Activists say more needs to be done to reach the U.N. goal to end FGM worldwide by 2030.

“It is estimated that around 200 million girls in the world alive today have undergone one form of FGM or another globally,” said Anne Njuguna, Plan International’s Regional Disaster and Risk Management Specialist. “It is further estimated that 15 million more girls will undergo FGM by 2030, and these girls are between the ages of 15 and 19 years old. This is a huge number that we cannot allow to happen.”

Activists say more community and family support is needed to end FGM in Kenya.

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After final high school exams this year, Keis plans to return home for the first time in 11 years to reconcile with the family that tried to circumcise her.

She wants to share with them her dream of becoming a doctor, and show everyone in the village that girls should not be cut and are instead better off in school. (VOA)