President Uhuru Kenyatta has accused his deputy, William Ruto, of telling lies to the residents of Nakuru and Mombasa counties.
The president said on Wednesday, July 27 that Ruto was politicising the standard gauge railway (SGR) administrative decisions to gain political mileage.
Ruto is on the record saying President Kenyatta’s administration replaced the initial plan of building an industrial city in Naivasha with an inland container depot, a move that, he claims, has demasculated the Port of Mombasa and led to loss of jobs.
The deputy president has also faulted the Jubilee administration for redirecting cargo transportation from road to the SGR in order to “decongest” the Port of Mombasa.
About 30 per cent of all cargo coming through Mombasa port goes to neighbouring countries.
The Naivasha Inland Container Depot acts as a storage and clearance point for cargo destined for neighbouring countries such as Uganda and Rwanda.
President Kenyatta says Ruto was part of the Executive team that approved the building of the SGR, and even laid out operation protocol.
Ruto, who has campaigned in both Nakuru and Mombasa counties on several occasions, has often referred to SGR politics, promising to reverse the legal and administrative changes so as to improve the lives of the coastal people.
“It was never the intention of the government to build the SGR so that the coastal people can be impoverished. The SGR was meant to make the port much more efficient and to improve the business and the fortunes of the coastal people.
“Unfortunately, a few people took hostage of the whole project and ended up with selfish programmes to the detriment of the coastal people,” Ruto said in Nairobi on May 10 this year.
The DP said if he wins the presidential election on August 9, he will do away with the directives that require cargo to be transported on the SGR.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Wednesday, while commissioning the 217-kilometre Nakuru-Kisumu railway, that Ruto was being insincere while making the promises to the coastal people.
“I can’t stand a liar,” the president said, while referring to his deputy.
“Kenya needs a leader who is development-oriented; one who can leverage on the existing projects to improve the lives of the people,” added Kenyatta.
“One cannot claim to be a great leader, yet he comes here and says: ‘as a government we love you, the people of Nakuru, and that’s why we launched the inland container depot’, yet when he goes to Mombasa, he tells the residents of that county: ‘those people (the Executive led by Uhuru Kenyatta) have transferred port operations from Mombasa to Naivasha. If you elect me, I’ll restore the operations in Mombasa’,” said Kenyatta.
“I don’t like liars. Let’s be honest people,” added the president.
Kenyatta also accused Ruto of telling lies that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) was started to lock him (Ruto) out of presidency.
“He (Ruto) lied to you that my friend, Raila Odinga, and I came up with BBI to lock him out of the presidential seat. That is not true,” said Kenyatta.
The president said he, consequently, couldn’t stand Ruto’s lies, and decided to support an “honest and well-meaning” leader in the presidential contest – Raila Odinga.
“I wish Kenya gets a leadership that genuinely cares for the people. I’m urging you, with a lot of humility and respect, kindly vote for this old man (Raila odinga) in the August 9 presidential election. Nakuru County, kindly let’s walk the journey with him.”
President Kenyatta said Ruto “is not yet ripe for presidency”.
“He (Ruto) is a Kenyan just like all of us. However, he needs to develop a calm demeanour, reduce on insults and appreciate that ascending to the top leadership comes with time, no need for speed. Let him also understand that statesmanship is better than insults and fanning hate,” added Kenyatta.
“He’s still young, and stands a chance in the future. He, however, needs to be visionary.”
The president asked the residents of Nakuru County to vote for leaders affiliated to Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya so that Raila Odinga (should he win the presidency) gets a majority representation in the National Assembly.
Upon commissioning the Nakuru-Kisumu railway on Wednesday, the Head of State said the revamped facility would open the county to business opportunities, with a possibility of employing up to 25,000 residents of Nakuru County.
Rehabilitation of the 217-kilometre Meter Gauge Railway started in August 2020, and was to be commissioned in December 2021, when President Kenyatta awarded Nakuru a city status charter.
However, the commissioning was postponed in unclear circumstances.
The project cost the government at least Sh3.8 billion.
“The Nakuru-Kisumu railway line will improve the transportation of passengers and cargo,” said President Kenyatta when he launched the project on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, July 26, the president visited Olkaria, Mai Mahiu Station, Naivasha Inland Container Depot, the Suswa Water Project and the Turkish Ceramic Granite and Tiles SEZ Limited, all within Nakuru County.