Ruto welcomes opponents willing to help create next government

Deputy President William Ruto with clergy and other leaders at AIPCA St. Joseph Kikopey during a fundraiser on November 7, 2021. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto has declared readiness to work with presidential hopefuls willing to join him in forming the next government. The DP’s call indicates his United Democratic Alliance’s readiness to form the next government with a political party with the same ideologies as its own.

“We are open and welcome all leaders who are ready to join us on lifting this country under our bottom-up economic model. We are prepared for those who want to work with us,” said Dr Ruto.

The Deputy President spoke at a fund-raiser at AIPCA St Joseph Church in Kikopey, Nakuru, where he was accompanied by allies. They later drummed up support for his presidential bid.

His statement appeared to target former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, who recently stated that he was available for talks with Ruto.

“If you hear them (Ruto) looking for me, tell them I am available because Kenyans must consult. If they want to reach out to me, they are most welcome,” said Kalonzo in response to a question on the possibility of him working with the DP.

Ruto yesterday later addressed roadside rallies at Gilgil and Naivasha towns, where he reiterated his plans to continue with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda incorporated in his bottom-up economic strategy. “What we did not do as planned because of intrusion by external forces in the Jubilee Party shall be done under my administration. We have stopped reggae and our priority is now on economic empowerment,” said Ruto.

Despite pressure by Ruto’s allies to join UDA, Gilgil MP Martha Wangari, who hosted the event, steered clear of party politics and did not join the entourage after the church service. “We are grateful to the President and his deputy for the great work they have done for Gilgil residents as promised in 2017. We have roads tarmacked, drainage works done and other ongoing projects,” said Ms Wangari.

Ruto’s allies said his call to like-minded presidential hopefuls was welcome, noting that they were ready to accommodate new members and have them assigned roles in government should UDA carry the day in 2022. “Kalonzo is a senior state counsel and we respect him. Looking at his background and politics, he is also a hustler. We believe he can make a good Speaker of the National Assembly in the government we want to form,” said Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro.

Naivasha MP Jayne Kihara took issue with Raila Odinga’s approach to woo Mt Kenya through his 2002 support to President Mwai Kibaki, saying the ODM leader resorted to the strategy when he realised he had hit a dead end. 

“Raila was the last to join Narc. He realised everyone was with Kibaki and his support was repaid through appointments. While in government, he led his people out of government into opposition. The only debt we have is for Ruto, who has remained firm,” said Ms Kihara. 

Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika said they were ready to welcome more opponents into the camp to entrench democracy and strengthen it from the counties to the national level.

“We have built UDA into a national party, which is open for all. Presidential aspirants waiting for endorsement by Statehouse should join us now in engaging the electorate, who have the final say,” said Ms Kihika. 

Former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu urged Naivasha residents to back Ruto, saying the DP had the right experience on running the country and what it would take.

“We shall not be intimidated to stop supporting Ruto. Some institutions were used to hunt me down alongside Mike Sonko (former Nairobi governor). If these people mean it in the fight against graft, why do we have sacred cows,” posed Waititu. 

Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali reiterated his commitment to supporting Ruto, saying the DP had stood with the Mt Kenya region more than Raila had. “Having supported Mt Kenya region in 2002 only is a drop in the ocean. Ruto stood with the region’s leader - President Uhuru Kenyatta - in 2002, 2013 and twice in 2017. It is this loyalty that shall be rewarded,” said Mr Washiali. 

Nyandarua Woman Rep Faith Gitau took a swipe at Raila, saying he lacked a clear plan for empowering Kenyans, and that his monthly stipend for the jobless would encourage laziness.

“Raila himself doesn’t believe his Sh6,000 stipends to needy families will work, because the country’s coffers have been milked dry,” she said. 

Kiambu Town MP Patrick Wainaina said such a stipend was equivalent to socialism, which did not work well for other African countries that embraced it after independence.

“When someone tells us that he wants to give people Sh6,000 for being jobless, he wants you to remain that way. That is a socialism plan, which left some African countries impoverished more than how their colonial masters had left them,” said Wainaina.