Deputy President William Ruto's controversial remarks about Raila Odinga's supporters continue to elicit sharp reactions from members of the ODM Party even as he defended himself from alleged hate speech.
Over the weekend, Ruto was captured labelling most of Raila supporters as violent, remarks which angered a section of Luo community due to Odinga's huge following in the region.
"These people telling us a lot of stories think that we do know them. They see destruction. If they don't destroy parties, they destroy houses.
If not houses, they go for the railway. And if not railways, they destroy friendship. These are people we know. For what purpose are we entertaining them for?" Dr Ruto said.
Even though Ruto denies dragging the character to the Luo community, ODM Director of Communications Philip Etale insists that such statements are due to Ruto's 'anger' in the fight against graft which directly affects him.
In a post on Facebook, Etale said the Nandi community, in which Ruto was born, was the first to uproot a railway line when the British built it before independence. They were against the idea of building it across their territory.
"Students of history will tell you Nandi were first to uproot railway. In the 1894-1905 Nandi resistance, the Nandis frustrated the colonialists by uprooting the railway that was passing through their territory," argued Etale.
Supporters believed to be those of Raila, uprooted Kenya-Uganda Railway line in 2008 days after the hotly contested elections between Odinga and retired President Mwai Kibaki. Ironically, Ruto was in ODM by then.
Odinga enjoys a huge following in Luo Nyanza under his ODM party.
More often than not, the Orange party has been associated with violence.
In 2017, Raila's supporters thronged into streets to reject President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election.