Ruto: It is not a must for me to become president

Deputy President William Ruto hands over a token to Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Wu Peng, Karen office, Nairobi County.

Deputy President William Ruto has said he will retire alongside President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022 if he will not succeed in his quest for the Presidency.

Speaking during a radio interview yesterday, Dr Ruto said there was no political pact in Jubilee that guarantees him an automatic nomination as the party’s flag bearer in 2022.

“I am willing to retire alongside President Kenyatta if I don’t get elected by Kenyans. It is not a must that I become President, it is up to Kenyans to decide, this is democracy,” Ruto said.

At the same time, Ruto conceded that there are people connected to the President who are not comfortable with him. 

Sly characters

He, however, said he will not let them distract him. “We are leading a government which is bound to have people of different characters. There are those who are sly and cannot be trusted,” said Ruto during the two hour show in Kameme FM which was aired from the his Karen home. 

The DP also emphasised that he was not expecting automatic support from President Kenyatta’s Mount Kenya backyard, as a way of the President reciprocating for the support he received in Rift Valley. 

“I have said before and I want to repeat again that there is no region in this country that owes me anything. There is nothing like repaying a debt that some people have been talking about,” said Ruto.

He said his relationship with President Kenyatta was intact, and that Jubilee was still united despite a few discordant voices.

“Uhuru and I have a history. I didn’t support him because he was winning. Even in 2002 when he lost, I was with him. These Kieleweke people are going round trying to teach me how to support Uhuru which is laughable,” said the DP.

While emphasising that he was fully behind the handshake between Uhuru and Opposition Leader Raila Odinga, Ruto however stressed that the handshake should not be used to instill fear among people.

“I support the handshake not due to fear, but because I believe in the unity of this country,” he said. The DP also averred that he would never allow violence to occur over a presidential election.

“I will have nothing to do with politics that cause acrimony among Kenyans whether I am a candidate or not,” Ruto said.

He asserted that in case things don’t work out for him in 2022, apart from opting to retire, he could also be active in the opposition.

He said he would never go to court to contest the will of the people. 

“One problem we have as a country is leaders who refuse to lose elections. If I am defeated, I will rather be in the opposition. There shall be no demonstrations or shambolic swearing in ceremonies,” he said.

Loyalty to President 

The DP insisted the Jubilee Party was unified, and told off MPs who are against him to join the opposition.

“There are very few MPs who are part of that group called Kieleweke. Those MPs will end up in ODM,” The DP averred.

Expressing agitation, Ruto said his relationship with the President was cordial, and that he was best suited to carry out the President’s agenda. He said such MPs should be ignored.

Ruto stressed his loyalty to the President saying that besides soldering through the humiliating Hague trial in 2013 alongside Uhuru, he had also stood by him when the Supreme court nullified the 2017 election. 

 “These MPs in Kieleweke cannot teach me to respect the President, I have stood beside him since 2002. They have made no contribution to the government. We have been together since our days in Kanu. That is over 20 years,” He said.

“Between me and the Kieleweke MPs who would the President stand with? of course, me.” 

 Addressing questions about his contributions in churches, which have led to inquiries about his immense source of wealth, he said that he has been doing business for 30 years, and that is where his money has come from.

“I am not going to say which companies I own. I make these contributions because I am a Christian. The only reason they are complaining is because I do not come from a well-known father or mother and I started off by selling chicken,” the DP said.

Corruption war

While commenting on the corruption war, he said the whole clamour was being politicised. 

 “There are genuine efforts to fight corruption through investigations carried out by institutions such as Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and Directorate of Criminal Investigations which are on track,” he said.

“However, there is propaganda being carried out by busybodies and politicians who are attending funerals and meetings across the country to trash the good efforts.”

On plans to hold a constitutional referendum, he said he will only support such an initiative if it was to benefit the majority of Kenyans and not a few politicians.

 Ruto argued that a review of constituency boundaries as well as gender representation in leadership were some of the issues that should be raised in the constitutional debate.

“The referendum must be an open conversation where everyone will be heard. W e cannot carry out a referendum to suit the needs of five people who want to share power,” he said.

He noted that while women represent about 50 per cent of the Kenyan population, they had only a 10 per cent representation in leadership.

The DP blamed the delays caused by the second election in 2017 for the Jubilee Government’s failure to honour its pledge to construct stadiums.