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Ruto allies praise Uhuru's national address, focus on presidency

Friday April 5 2019

DP William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto at Kinna Primary School in Isiolo County on April 5, 2019 during a fundraiser for women's groups. PHOTO | DAVID MUCHUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

DAVID MUCHUI
By DAVID MUCHUI
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VIVIAN JEBET
By VIVIAN JEBET
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Deputy President William Ruto's allies have praised President Uhuru Kenyatta for his State of the Nation Address saying he diffused the politics around the war on graft.

The lawmakers numbering more than 25 accompanied Dr Ruto to a fundraiser in aid of 85 women groups in Kinna, Isiolo County, on Friday.

While vowing to remain supportive of the DP until 2032, the legislators led by Kimani Ichungwa (Kikuyu) and Lucy Wahome (Kandara) told off his critics saying the President silenced them, so they were having the last laugh.

Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira) said members of the 'Kieleweke' team, whom Dr Ruto earlier slammed for opposing his 2022 presidency bid, were "rendered toothless" by Mr Kenyatta's remarks.

"Those who have been rushing to churches to insult DP Ruto should now go back to work," he said.

'TEAM DEVELOPMENT'

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Mr Ichungwa said those backing the Deputy President are now referred  as 'team development' and that they will accompany him on his tours to launch projects under the Big Four agenda.

"Those opposed to the DP should now concentrate on the Big Four since the President made it clear that the war on corruption shall be fought by the rule of law. Those who have been visiting churches insulting the DP have no direction."

But Mr Ichungwa said the authorities the President asked to play their roles in the anti-graft fight should ensure suspects are arraigned and that the evidence presented is credible.

"We want offices tasked with fighting corruption to adhere to the rule of law. They should not be used to soil the names of government officials," he said.

His sentiments were echoed by Saku MP Ali Rasso who decried his arrest and arraignment on charges of fanning violence only for the courts to clear him.

'MOB JUSTICE'

Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo said Dr Ruto's opponents had hoped that he and his allies would be reprimanded during the President's national address.

"However, the President made it clear that his government will not [resort to] mob justice. Those hoping to use the handshake to ascend to the presidency are daydreaming," she said.

Ms Wahome termed Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga a visitor who had overstayed his welcome in the ruling Jubilee Party and said it was time for him to go back home.

"We are in Jubilee to stay. That is why we will guard our home day and night from intruders," he said.

"As a lawyer, I understand that the Constitution has established the position of opposition leader. There is nothing like the opposition supporting the government of the day. If a man allows another visiting man to overstay in the house, he might end up being overthrown."

Laikipia Woman Representative Catherine Waruguru said those who have been calling for the arrest of graft suspects without due process were vigilantes.

"The vigilantes were silenced yesterday because the President called for adherence to the rule of law. The courts should be allowed to do their work. We know there was a scheme to have ministers allied to Ruto sacked," Ms Waruguru said.

'GRASSROOTS MAN'

The legislators vowed to stand by Dr Ruto through thick and thin, saying Jubilee must stand by the 2013 pledge to support his leadership for 10 years.

"Our journey with Dr Ruto started in 2013 and must continue through 2032. We made up our minds," Isiolo North MP Hassan Oda said.

His Laisamis counterpart Marselino Arbelle said the DP is a friend of pastoralists so they will support him in the next general election while Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga said Dr Ruto was at the heart of the people so nobody will change their resolve on the next election.

Isiolo Governor Mohamed Kuti termed the DP a down to earth man who has visited every corner of the country.

"We can relate with Ruto because he is on the ground fundraising and bringing development every other day. Even a child knows him because he has been in the grassroots. The handshake which happened in Nairobi cannot help those in the village," he said.

He added that those who want to compete with the in 2022 must go to the ground "where the arena of the game of politics is located".

Isiolo Woman Representative Rehema Jaldesa said most MPs were in support of the DP because he is easily accessible when they need assistance.

RUTO'S REMARKS

In his address, Dr Ruto said the government's development record is unmatched despite the outcry about corruption.

"Do not be cheated that Jubilee's only record is in the theft of public resources. We have [constructed] roads, installed hospital equipment and paid school fees. No one should run the negative narrative that we have done nothing because we have a track record," he said.

He said the government had allocated Sh100 billion to development in the 11 arid and semi- arid counties to ensure they are up to par with other parts of the country. The money is meant to improve roads, construction of water projects and increase access to electricity.

Regarding the President's speech, the DP said he made it clear that all leaders should concentrate on uniting Kenyans.

He said politicians should keep off the war on graft and concentrate on development.

"Politicians should stop pretending to know it all. If you are not a judge, an investigator or a witness, and your work is loitering at burials spreading propaganda, you are the greatest enemy to the war on graft."

Dr Ruto further said their opponents should fold up their "tribal" parties and focus on forming those with a national outlook.