Deputy President William Ruto has said his support for President Uhuru Kenyatta in the 2013 and 2017 elections was not a political debt that should be paid by Central Kenya when he runs for the top seat in 2022.
Speaking at a time when a sizeable section of the vote-rich region has vowed not to support him in the 2022 State House race, saying they owed him nothing, Mr Ruto said that the debate is unnecessary.
“There has been debate doing rounds on who owes who what... I want to remind leaders what Paul says in Romans 13:8; “Owe no man nothing except the debt of love for one another,” Mr Ruto said.
LOVE ONE ANOTHER
“That is the debt that all of us have, to love one another; no person, no community, no section of Kenya, owes anybody, including myself, anything.”
The deputy president was speaking Sunday to at the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi where he donated Sh8 million and pledged Sh2 million more for the construction of a Sh1 billion children and teen centre.
The only debt that should be paid in full, the DP said, is that of leaders who promised to deliver after the elections.
Talk of political debt and whether or not Central Kenya — President Kenyatta’s support base — are obligated to vote for Mr Ruto in 2022 following what is said to be an agreement in 2013 for his boss to back him in his State House bid has hit headlines in the recent past, with the Jubilee Party divided almost in the middle on the issue.
Last week, a Gikuyu song titled Hatuna deni ya mtu (We owe nobody a debt) was circulated online, presumably as a continuation of talk on whether the second in command deserves a shot at the presidency and whether the Central Kenya bloc is indebted to cast the ballot in his favour.
So strong are the emotions in both camps that nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura told NTV last week that leaders are being asked to choose between “Kieleweke” (let it be understood” and “Tangatanga” (loitering) camps.
“Tangatanga,” he said, stood for those rooting for Mr Ruto’s presidential ambitions, while “Kieleweke”, which was invented by Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, a known Ruto critic, stands for President Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda and national unity in the context of post-March 9 dispensation after the famous “handshake” between the President and opposition leader Raila Odinga.
BIG FOUR AGENDA
It was the same reference made by nominated MP Maina Kamanda on Saturday when he warned a section of Central Kenya leaders whom he said have now abandoned President Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda and the fight against graft, and are now in an overdrive with early campaigns for the DP.
"A section of the Mt Kenya leaders hung on the President's coat to secure their positions but they are now behaving as if they have another bigger master than the President. They have even gone a notch higher to publicly oppose his directive on lifestyle audits. We will not let them disrespect the head of state," Mr Kamanda said in Thuita village of Mathioya Constituency in Murang’a.
While speaking Sunday, Mr Ruto also dismissed people he said were opposed to his contributing huge amounts of money in church.
“We do not come to church as politicians, but as Christians and we are unapologetic about our faith. None of us is being asked to give beyond our means, and we when we do, we will do so cheerfully and proudly,” Mr Ruto said.
He was accompanied by Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki and MPs Kimani Ichung’wah (Kikuyu), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu), Sabina Chege (Murang’a County), and nominated Senator Naomi Waqo.