Ruto 'stays focused', says impeachment plot will backfire

Friday March 13 2020

Deputy President William Ruto addresses residents of Nandi County during a tour on March 13, 2020. PHOTO | DPPS


Deputy President William Ruto has addressed plans for his impeachment for the first time, dismissing them and saying those behind the plot are liars who will not succeed.

The politicians, most of them in the Opposition and a number in Jubilee Party's Kieleweke faction, have accused DP Ruto of disrespecting President Uhuru Kenyatta.

He said on Friday that they are engaging in a fruitless plot and that their efforts will only distract Jubilee from achieving what it promised the public in 2013.

“I am freely advising those planning my impeachment in Nairobi that your underhand tactics will take you nowhere," he said in Nandi County, where he launched several projects.

"Those of you who have been elected should go back and serve the voters otherwise that impeachment you are planning in Nairobi might turn back on you and you get impeached by wananchi because you are engaging in personal interests instead of serving them [sic]."



Some of the politicians who want Dr Ruto out of office say he is consumed by his ambition to become President in 2022 and is no longer serving Kenyans.

But he said he and President Kenyatta remain focused on their agenda for the country.

“When we presented ourselves to be elected, we promised voters that we will serve them. I’m requesting all the leaders not to be fraudsters and liars. We should ensure we deliver what we promised our people. Kenyans know we promised them roads, electricity connections, water, improved technical training colleges ... That is our agenda. The President and I are still there working for our people," he said in Mosop, where he handed title deeds to residents.

“I know what the President was elected to do [since I am] his assistant. Some people think I visit places to politic. I have not come to Nandi to campaign. The time for that is coming. I have come to give out title deeds, launch a construction project in a school and give out ambulances to a hospital. I did not come to ask for votes."

He went on to say, "There is a time we will remove our coats, shirts and put on campaign T-shirts. It is not yet time for that. I am hearing some saying Ruto is campaigning. I have not started. I am still assisting the President to deliver the agenda he gave Kenyans and I am doing it as expected."


Deputy President William Ruto's supporters during a demonstration in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County, on March 13, 2020. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP


The Deputy President is on a whirlwind tour of his North Rift backyard and is expected in Trans Nzoia and West Pokot on Saturday.

Those who accompanied him to Nandi said they will stick with him and ensure he helps Jubilee fulfill its promises.

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang said, “The BBI and reggae is new to us. We are not ready for reggae. We are still on the Big Four agenda. We are focused on development projects and serving our people. As Nandi people, we are asking you to stick to the Big Four agenda. Leave reggae to them. You are God-loving and we know you are Christian."


Meanwhile, police teargassed a handful of Dr Ruto's supporters in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, when they attempted to hold demonstrations without a permit.

The protesters asked proponents of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) to respect the DP.

They chanted anti-BBI slogans and waved placards as they marched through the town, some saying the DP's rivals are out to tarnish his name at the expense of unity.

"The BBI has turned out to be a scheme to undermine the DP. He should be respected as part of the presidency. Some have been saying he will not vie for the presidency in 2022. Only God knows if we will be alive in 2022,” said one Elvis Kiprotich.

Eldoret West police boss Eliud Maiyo's efforts to calm down the demonstrators fell on deaf ears so officers resorted to using teargas.

Chaos arising from the demonstrations, the second case in a week after protests in Kabarnet, Baringo County, left travellers stranded for hours.


Deputy President William Ruto's supporters flee during a demonstration in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County, after police fired teargas to disperse them, March 13, 2020. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Dr Ruto's supporters are displeased by how he has been treated since the March 2018 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga.

Revelations by a section of leaders allied to Mr Odinga, of plans to remove the DP from office, have sparked outrage.

Senate Minority Leader James Orengo stirred a hornets' nest last week when he announced that in two weeks, he will sponsor an impeachment motion against Dr Ruto over the fake Sh40 billion arms deal and the killing of Sergeant Kipyegon Kenei.

In addition, MPs allied to President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga have asked the DP to resign, saying his 2022 presidential ambition has clouded his ability to perform his duties and that he is now in an “open war” with his boss.

They accuse the DP of committing “an egregious malfeasance against democracy, the rule of law, accountability and good governance”, a position they say must be corrected.

But Dr Ruto’s allies have dared President Kenyatta to dissolve Parliament and call for fresh elections, saying he has the support of majority of Kenyans.

“The DP campaigned vigorously for Jubilee to clinch power in 2013 and 2017. It is laughable for some people to now claim that President Kenyatta did him a favour by appointing him as his deputy,” said Linus Rotich, a youth leader in Eldoret.