Elections 2017

Stop insulting me at pro-BBI rallies, Ruto tells politicians

Deputy President William Ruto greets Mama Agnes Nduku after a Sunday service at St Christopher Catholic Parish - Kyumbi in Maanzoni, Machakos County. [DPPS]

Deputy President William Ruto has asked politicians campaigning for Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) to stop making him the subject of their rallies.

He said the politicians were free to campaign for the document, but should leave his name and insults out of their meetings.

Dr Ruto said: “I saw yesterday (Saturday) insults formed half of the meeting. There was less mention of BBI than mention of Ruto and his home in Sugoi.”

He said the politicians should concentrate on asking Kenyans what they would prefer to be in the document rather than trivialising the forums.

The DP spoke on Sunday during a prayer service at Kyumbi Catholic Church in Maanzoni, Machakos County.

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He was accompanied by MPs Victor Munyaka (Machakos Town), Vincent Musyoka (Mwala) Fabian Muli (Kangundo), Kimani Ichungwa (Kikuyu) and Nimrod Mbai (Kitui East). 

At the same time, Ruto urged the BBI taskforce to come up with a countrywide programme and seek to accommodate the views of every Kenyan. 

He urged leaders from across the political divide to respect those with divergent views and give them space to freely express themselves.

“There is no need to hold people with a different opinion in contempt to the extent of denying them an opportunity to express themselves,” he said.

The MPs said BBI meetings had been turned into platforms to insult and disparage some Kenyans, a situation they said was dividing the country further.

They faulted use of the police to stop Mumias rally that had been planned for Saturday, saying security forces should not be used to gag divergent views.

“If BBI was about inclusivity and political tolerance, why can’t we stand contrasting political views” posed Mr Ichungwa.

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The Kikuyu MP said BBI is meant to unite Kenyans, then it should not be used to insult Ruto. 

“Those who want to insult Ruto should wait for 2022 campaigns,” he added.

Mr Muli said the police should be given space to fight terrorism and crime.

“We need to respect the independence of the police. They should be given time to do their job,” he said.

Mr Munyaka wondered why there were a lot of violence and police brutality in this year’s constitution amendment push yet the country had witnessed two peaceful referendums before. 

“We had referendum campaigns in 2005 and 2010 that did not have any violence. What is so special about this BBI that it has to be forced down the throats of Kenyans” he posed.

Ichungwa further said the country’s unity can easily be achieved if leaders embrace honesty in their politics. 

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“If we end the politics of dishonesty, deceit and hypocrisy in leadership, we will cure the problems that we have in this country,” he said.

Mr Mbai said BBI was dividing rather than uniting Kenyans because of retrogressive politics employed by those in charge.