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Ruto defies Uhuru, vows to press on with project tours

Sunday February 02 2020
RUTPIC

Deputy President William Ruto. He said he will continue pursuing the country's development agenda. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By RUTH MBULA
By JUSTUS OCHIENG'

Deputy President William Ruto has vowed to continue with his countrywide tours to launch development projects in a show of defiance to his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The move comes just two days after the Head of State expressed his displeasure with those he had entrusted with authority.

President Kenyatta had said he will personally tour the country to launch development projects.

But, speaking on Sunday in Kisii, Dr Ruto said he is paid a salary as the country’s Deputy President.

“I will continue launching water, road, education and electricity projects. I will continue coming here because I earn a salary as Deputy President and that is the work of a DP,” he said.

He added: “Is there anyone here in Kisii complaining that I’m not doing my job? Let them tell me. If I’ve not performed other people’s duties, then let each and every one do their work and let’s respect one another.”

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NO ENDORSEMENT

His sentiments appear to be in response to Friday’s statement by the President who, while speaking at various stops in Nyandarua, declared that he will inspect government projects himself after being “betrayed” by those he had hoped would help him deliver on his mandate.

His sentiments have been construed to refer to his deputy, senior government officials and a group of MPs largely from the ruling Jubilee Party who have, in recent months, embarked on a string of crusades to “inspect” or “launch” development projects across the country.

“Those I used to send to represent me and ensure that development projects are on the right track started behaving like hyenas and doing their own things to enrich themselves. Let no one cheat you; from today, I’m not sending anyone to help me. I’ll do it on my own,” the President warned.

He further made it clear to a cheering crowd that he had scant faith in some of those closest to him. He said he does not have a preferred candidate in the 2022 race.

BBI FORUMS

However, Dr Ruto on Sunday sought to reassure Kenyans that all was well between him and President Kenyatta, even as it is becoming evident that the two have been reading from different scripts.

In recent days, the President and his Deputy have progressively drifted apart to a point where Dr Ruto is being snubbed in public and his allies are crying foul over the mistreatment of their master.

Dr Ruto spoke as his allies insisted that they will not stop touring the country on development agenda and also to complement BBI consultative forums.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, an ally of Dr Ruto, said they had mapped out parts of the country where they will visit despite “intimidation by pro-Raila Odinga leaders”.

“We said we’ll organise complementary rallies to the already established ones and, where necessary, we take charge as elected leaders,” Mr Cherargei said.

HARAMBEE DEAL

He said they’ll tour Mount Kenya region and parts of Coast including Kwale and Kilifi. “After Kisii, we shall move to Nyamira, Migori, Busia, Bungoma, Marsabit, and Ukambani especially in Machakos where our colleagues on the other side have not taken the BBI message,” added Mr Cherargei.

In Kisii on Sunday, Dr Ruto said Kenyans were bright people who can ''differentiate between those who work from storytellers.''

“We’ve all agreed that we no longer have fools in Kenya. We’re all sane enough to know what is happening in this country,” he said in Itierio during the consecration of Bishop Joseph Omwoyo of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Mr Ruto has been counting on the President’s support for his 2022 bid.

The DP’s allies have told the President to honour his pledge of supporting the DP for a 10-year term — a promise that seems to have gone with the wind as soon as President Kenyatta made peace with ODM leader Raila Odinga with the March 9 handshake.

The handshake sought to end the political animosity that was tearing the country apart.

PUBLIC DEBATE

On the Building Bridges Initiative, the DP, who was received in Kisii by Deputy Governor Joash Maangi and MPs Silvanus Osoro (South Mugirango) and Alpha Miruka (Bomachoge Chache), condemned the fracas witnessed in Kitui on Saturday.

He said bridges cannot be built with violence and each and every person has a right to be heard.

Former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa challenged those criss-crossing the country with BBI rallies to provide the document for Kenyans to read.

“It’s unfortunate that the BBI document has not even been made available to the public to read, yet people are preoccupied with rallies,” Mr Echesa said.

Former Kakamega senator Boni Khalwale said the DP will continue with his development tours. “We remain unbowed and will continue with our development moves and march to State House,” he said.

Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa said the DP’s opponents were running scared and have resorted to blocking his movements across the country.

On Saturday, chaos and confusion marred the BBI rally in Kitui.

RESPECT THEM

The DP’s allies were harassed by a team of bouncers hired to provide security at the event.

The MPs, who arrived moments after the rally had started, were barred from accessing the main dais where Mr Odinga, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, governors and other elected leaders were seated.

The more than 40 heavily-built men intercepted and led away the Tangatanga leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen and Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot.

Drama started when two senators and MPs Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu) and Moses Kuria (Gatundu South) were left standing behind the governors, prompting protests from Kamba MPs, who demanded that their colleagues be accorded the respect they deserve.

MPs Victor Munyaka (Machakos Town) and Nimrod Mbai (Kitui East) threatened to lead a mass walkout unless their colleagues were treated with respect and dignity.

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