SECTIONS

No cause for alarm, William Ruto assures residents over fears of poll chaos

Deputy President William Ruto during a grassroot leader's meeting at Njoro, Nakuru County. [DPPS, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto has assured Nakuru County residents that there will be peace before, during and after the August 9 General Election. 

The UDA leader, speaking after a meeting with residents, called on Kenyans seeking seats to commit to peaceful campaigns.  

Njoro, Molo, Kuresoi and Elburgon residents, who met the DP and other Kenya Kwanza leaders yesterday, had expressed fears over possible poll chaos in their areas ahead of elections.

Ruto was accompanied by his running mate Rigathi Gachagua, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika, Njoro MP Charity Kathambi, Bahati’s Kimani Ngunjiri and Senate aspirant Tabitha Karanja.

The media was locked out of the meeting that lasted more than six hours. Speaker after speaker at the event claimed they were living in fear as the ghosts of previous poll chaos haunt them. The locals said they were hesitant to support Ruto fearing he would not take care of their interests. 

Our fears

“We have had fears and we keep asking ourselves what will happen if we give the Deputy President this seat. Will he take care of us? That has been our fear. That is why in this area, we are hesitant to support you,” said Mr John Macharia.

The issue of land and displaced persons also cropped up, with locals calling on Ruto to promise to he will address their issues should he succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Mr Peter Gikonyo said displaced people in Molo were never compensated. He said there are fears hostilities could return as the campaigns peak. He told the Kenya Kwanza brigade that their hearts are heavy for fear of the unknown. 

“Give out an order immediately you get elected so that those occupying land that was not allocated to them can vacate it,” he said.

While assuring the residents of peace, Ruto called on Azimio la Umoja One Kenya flag bearer Raila Odinga and other leaders to condemn political violence.

The DP said he made a major sacrifice in 2012 when he dropped his presidential bid to support Uhuru for the sake of peace. He assured locals that the August poll will be orderly and peaceful, saying the country had learnt lessons from the 2007-2008 post-election skirmishes. 

Jacaranda rally

He revisited the Sunday chaos that preceded his rally at the Jacaranda Grounds in Nairobi’s Embakasi area, blaming it on Raila.

Ruto said he had written a letter to Raila asking him to come out and condemn political violence. The UDA leader claimed that most of Raila’s strongholds were hotspots of political chaos.

“If there is one promise I want to make to you is that Kenya will be peaceful. I will ensure peace prevails across the country,” he said.

The DP said he whatever the outcome of the elections, there will be peace. He called on Raila to make a public commitment that he will embrace the outcome of the August 9 vote.

“The violence could be a strategy to reject the outcome of elections. Votes will not count if you leaders caused chaos and made people fight,” Ruto said.

He assured displaced persons that are yet to be settled that their concerns will be addressed by Kenya Kwanza should it will the polls.

The DP, at the same time, took the opportunity to drum support for his bottom up economic model. He said besides promising peace, the economy will be a key area of focus. Muturi said Ruto cannot be the architect of the foundation of peace and be the one destroying it. “Do your part and our captain will do his part. It is his priority to maintain peace,” he said.

At the meeting, Ngunjiri and Senator Kihika, who have been engaged in supremacy fights, reconciled.