The Ugandan government has finally broken its silence over Kenya Deputy President William Ruto’s aborted trip to the country on Monday.
In a statement issued Thursday, the President Museveni-led government denies claims of interfering in Kenyan affairs following concerns that the DP had planned to fly to Uganda without informing his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“Our foreign policy is very clear that we don’t interfere in the internal affairs of any country what so ever. We have no authority; we have no power over Kenyan government. They have their own reasons why the prevented HE Ruto from coming to Uganda and that should be channeled to the Kenyan High Commission,” Mr Okello Oryem, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs told jouranlists at Uganda Media centre on Wednesday.
Kampala also says it had not made protocol arrangements to receive Mr Ruto.
Dr Ruto was blocked from flying to Uganda in what would have been his second trip to the neighbouring country in less than a month. Kenyan Immigration officials had said there was no clearance for the trip.
His office, however, insists the DP’s was a planned private visit, for which he did not require any clearance.
But on matters protocol, Mr Oryem says there were no plans to receive the DP. The minister, however, did not clarify whether this was because Dr Ruto was planning a private visit or because they were not informed about the trip at all.
“I was not informed by the chief of protocol being requested by the Kenyan High Commission in Uganda to provide protocol services to the deputy President,” he said.
The statement by Uganda comes after the Raila Odinga-led ODM party, which described the DP’s troubles as a “sympathy-seeking circus”, questioned the Dr Ruto's links to Mr Museveni and his party, the National Resistance Movement (NRM).
In the statement, ODM questioned DP Ruto’s plan to borrow lessons from National Resistance Movement (NRM), including using its top strategists in the 2022 election.
According to ODM, Dr Ruto is wrong to want to follow in the footsteps of a party with a bad record on democracy, protection of civil society places, good governance, freedom of the press and human rights abuses among others.
“While we do not wish to interfere with internal political arrangements in other countries, we equally want to state that we do not need to borrow from other countries political habits whose end result can only lead to chaos and backwardness of our country,” ODM said in a statement read by National Assembly minority whip Junet Mohamed.
However, the NRM national vice chairman for Eastern Uganda, Mr Mike Mukula described the ODM comments were uncalled for and diversionary, especially at a time when the two countries are building the blocks of East African Community (EAC) political integration.
“I have raised our concerns as NRM to ODM top leadership on the negative orchestra being perpetuated by some sections of MPs which is uncalled for and is diversionary especially at a time when we are building the blocks of EAC political integration,” Mr Mukula tweeted on Thursday.
Additional reporting by Job Bwire