Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has said he will not take sides in Kenya’s presidential election, scheduled for August, debunking claims and rumors that Uganda and the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party are backing Deputy President William Ruto.
< p>DP Ruto, ODM leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi and several others including former governors and diplomats have expressed interest in becoming Kenya’s fifth president.
Speaking to local media in Kampala, President Museveni said: “Elections in Kenya or any other African country are a matter for the people of that country. We never take sides in the internal affairs of other countries. So we have no side in Kenya’s elections.”
Until he was prevented from flying to Uganda in August last year, in what he described as a private visit, DP Ruto had visited the country frequently, including in 2015 , when he joined President Museveni at a campaign event in Kapchorwa, citing him as a role model.
“The peace and stability that the NRM has brought to Uganda has enabled joint projects,” he said at the time.
In 2018, Ruto was back in Uganda when the Kapchorwa-Suam road, which leads to Kenya, was opened. He reportedly had private talks with Museveni.
After talking to Museveni during a visit by Ruto, the rumor mill circulated that the two were talking about a united Africa and Ruto’s presidency.
Senior Presidential Press Secretary Lindah Nabusayi said at the time that Ruto was “a supporter of President Museveni’s ideology and believes in his vision for East Africa and Africa.”
Political analysts thought Museveni would support Ruto for the presidency as NRM director Communications’ Emmanuel Dombo said the DP and Museveni have a long-standing friendship.
Dispelling fears that Kenya’s elections usually destabilize the flow of goods, particularly fuel, as was the case with the 2007 by-election violence caused fuel shortages in Uganda for weeks, Museveni said there was already an alternative route through Dar es Salaam and therefore there was no cause for concern.