Deputy President William Ruto has trained his focus on religious leaders and the youth ahead of the 2022 elections.
In just over two weeks, Dr Ruto has hosted eight religious delegations at his official residence in Karen as well as his Sugoi home in Uasin Gishu County.
He has hosted more than 60 youth groups and given them equipment valued at millions of shillings to help them in their business endeavours in the same period.
“Formalising the jua kali sector will make Kenyans get opportunities to make a living, while at the same time opening up chances for the government revenue.
“As we work towards this, we need to align government policy with the requirements of the informal sector,” Dr Ruto said at his Karen office Thursday when he met a group of young people from Westlands, Kasarani, Embakasi East and Kamukunji constituencies.
Also present were Lang’ata MP Nixon Korir and Nominated Senator Millicent Omanga.
The DP had before then met another group of young people from Embakasi West, Embakasi South, Dagoretti North, Kamukunji, Embakasi Central, Starehe and Langata constituencies.
Dr Ruto told the groups that he understands where they are coming from, often repeating his rags-to-riches tale as a “hustler” who rose from a chicken-seller in Turbo.
The phased reopening of churches, which allows one-hour services with a maximum of 100 worshippers, has given the DP a new campaign platform, which had been denied to him by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr Ruto, a self-confessed “investor in heaven”, has often used pulpits to make important pronouncements, with the scenario likely to continue since the ban on political gatherings still stands.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday extended the ban on political gatherings by 30 days even as he allowed churches to operate under strict conditions.
Curiously, the order has it that those below 13 and above 58 years will not be allowed to attend services. Among the country’s top politicians, only Dr Ruto, who is 53, can attend the services.
Mr Kenyatta and Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi are 58, ODM chief Raila Odinga is 75, Wiper boss Kalonzo Musyoka 66 while Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula is 63.
“Many people are being threatened that they will be taken to court, others to the Kenya Revenue Authority or the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
“Others are being told that they will be demoted or removed from their offices not because they did anything wrong, but because they are friends with the Deputy President of Kenya.
“And today I ask: Am I not a Kenyan too to have friends?” asked Dr Ruto last Saturday when he hosted church leaders at his Sugoi home.
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei said the meetings with religious leaders were “absolutely necessary”.
“The DP is a prayerful, religious man. And during this time, he does need divine intervention to go through this political situation of unnecessary, unwarranted attacks,” Mr Cherargei said, referring to what he said were efforts to push Dr Ruto to the wall.
On meeting the youth, Mr Cherargei said: “He is a government leader who will continue to talk to the youth, the religious leaders and all.”