Deputy President William Ruto kept off politics when he visited Mt Kenya region days after President Uhuru Kenyatta told local leaders to quit early 2022 campaigns.
Ruto was in Nyeri to flag off the inaugural Dr Wahome Gakuru Memorial Marathon and thereafter attended services at churches in Nyeri town and Tetu constituencies.
But unlike in previous visits to the region, where his address has been strong on politics, Ruto was moderated. He largely addressed development issues, with a majority of legislators who accompanied him also being subdued on the topic.
After Uhuru’s declaration in Nyeri, the DP skipped functions in the region causing speculation.
The functions he skipped include Karatina University graduation ceremony and a church fundraiser in Laikipia County.
Yesterday, he participated in the marathon where he ran and completed the 10km race, while some leaders who joined him pulled out midway. Other leaders who ran included Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga, his Migori counterpart Okoth Obado, MPs, Ngunjiri Wambugu (Nyeri town), James Gichuhi (Tetu) Gichuki Mugambi (Othaya) and Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira).
Ruto called for unity and harmony, saying there was no room for divisive politics based on tribe, religion or party lines.
"Pray for our country because despite the party differences (and) tribal divisions, we want unity and must keep off divisive politics. We have vowed never to sink this country into divisive politics," he stated.
"We are a brotherhood, held in unity and harmony across party, tribal and faith divisions as one people," the DP said.
He said the Government would focus on reforms in coffee farming, universal healthcare and achieving the Jubilee manifesto.
"I would like to reiterate that as the President said two weeks ago in Nyeri, this county will be in the centre of key pilot development projects and we are committed to working together towards accomplishing several programmes," he said.
While Ruto kept off politics, Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro and his Kikuyu counterpart Kimani Ichung'wa accused the DP's 2022 opponents of planning to revive the International Criminal Courts (ICC) cases.
“Those trying to bring back ICC should know the wave in support of DP Ruto is unstoppable and in 2022 you will be President and no one can stop it. The whole of Mt Kenya is behind you,” said Mr Nyoro.
Mr Ichung'wa said those giving fresh reports to the ICC were enemies of the country scheming to cause disunity.
“We know those who have been supplying the ICC with reports are evil schemers, and they will be defeated come 2022. The people will show their support for you,” he said.
Ngunjiri, on the other hand, spoke of developments initiated by the Government, including the construction of 4,000 housing units.
“Nyeri town will also benefit from the innovation hub to be set up at Dedan Kimathi University, and a road that can connect Nyeri to Nyandarua,” he said.
Obado said the political landscape had changed since the handshake between Uhuru and Opposition chief Raila Odinga.