NAIROBI: Deputy President William Ruto has come under scathing attack over a slur on Kanu leader Gideon Moi.
A cross-section of Rift Valley leaders took exception with the DP’s reference to Gideon in offensive terms while he was campaigning for the Jubilee candidate for the Kericho senatorial by-election last Saturday in Belgut. Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto said the DP should stop belittling leaders from the region if he wanted to be respected.
The governor said it was clear the DP and his Jubilee brigade were becoming frustrated because of the heat they were feeling from Kericho voters over many unfulfilled promises, thus resorting to personal attacks.
“This is all about frustration. Ruto should be honest and respond to voters’ genuine concerns and stop sideshows,” said the governor.
West Pokot Senator John Lonyangapuo said leaders must act with utmost restraint and sobriety in their dealings and stop engaging in personalised attacks.
Prof Lonyangapuo called on President Kenyatta to restraint his deputy from dividing the country with foul language. “It is very shocking and misleading for somebody of the DP’s status to mislead the electorate. I wonder what the bad blood is for yet Kanu is part of the Government according to a post-election agreement,” he said.
The Baringo senator’s aide also criticised Ruto over the remarks. Joe Kimkung, a former assistant minister and the current Bungoma branch Kanu chairman, said the remarks carried in a section of the press were in bad taste and disrespectful to Gideon.
Mr Kimkung also criticised accusations that the senator was leading the Kalenjin community to the Opposition, saying they were were misguided and meant to deceive voters.
“The people of South Rift have a right to demand the promises that were made by the DP be fulfilled,” said Kimkung. Mogotio MP Hellen Sambili said the community thrives on respect and humility, which all leaders must uphold.
However, the DP on his Twitter handle denied abusing Gideon. “My statements have never been about trivialities like circumcision...” he posted.
Ainamoi MP Benjamin Langat and his Bureti counterpart Leonard Sang, who were among the area leaders who accompanied the DP during the rallies, denied that Ruto had used abusive language against Gideon and other leaders opposed to Jubilee candidate. “Ruto simply referred to Gideon as the son of retired President Daniel arap Moi. Anything else is just a falsehood,” said Mr Langat.
Report by Vincent Mabatuk and Nikko Tanui Wilfred Ayaga