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DP Ruto finally shares event with President Uhuru

Deputy President William Ruto, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Chief Justice Martha Koome and Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka arrive for the national prayer breakfast at Parliament Building, Nairobi on May 27, 2021. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

After a lengthy absence from functions presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto has finally showed up for one - the national prayer breakfast'.

Ruto is attending the May 27 prayer breakfast event at Parliament Buildings among a host of other national leaders.

This is the third time this year the two are attending the same event after the burial of former Cabinet Minister Simeon Nyachae on February 15 and a Cabinet meeting 10 days later.

Prayer Organising Committee Co-chair Dan Maanzo on Tuesday while confirming Ruto’s attendance downplayed the frosty relationship between the President and his deputy, adding that the event provided an opportunity for leaders to reconcile.

“We hope that the prayers will provide a platform for "the leaders to reach out to each other and reconcile,” said the MaKueni MP.

Skipped events

On February 5, the DP skipped the ceremony to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of former President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi despite his name being on the programme.

Their fallout was amplified in the months of March and April when Ruto skipped various Covid-19 addresses by President Kenyatta.

On May 4, Ruto skipped the reception of Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu at State House, Nairobi, with his aides saying he was not invited.

Emmanuel Tallam, the Communications Director at the DP’s Office, told the media that Ruto followed the televised proceedings from his Karen Residence Office.

Ruto also skipped this year’s Labour Day celebrations at State House, Nairobi which was attended by Cotu boss Francis Atwoli and Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui.

“We honour and celebrate the extraordinary sacrifices that workers, households and enterprises continue to make to advance our country’s transformation agenda amid the devastating surge in the Covid-19 pandemic,” the DP tweeted on May 1.

According to the Constitution, Ruto is the principal assistant of the president and should attend all gazetted State functions at which the only speakers are the President, him, the host governor and sometimes Raila.

Since March 2018, when President Kenyatta shook hands with ODM leader Raila Odinga, and more so 2020 and 2021, the DP has been isolated in his own government, making him an outsider in decision-making and key meetings.

He has however attributed this isolation to an attempt by President Kenyatta’s inner circle to lock him out of the Head of State’s 2022 succession plan.

“If President Kenyatta now trusts other people and consults more with Raila, I have taken it with grace. The style changed, and it is the prerogative of the President being the boss,” Ruto said during a recent interview with Citizen TV.

Today’s event whose theme is a “Hopeful Future” brings together leaders from all the arms of the Government and across the political divide when the country is in the middle of a pandemic.

The prayer meeting is being attended both virtually and physically.

The event that takes place on the last Thursday of May each year, is hosted by Speakers of the bicameral parliament Justin Muturi and Kenneth Lusaka and Chaired by Senate Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio, co-chaired by Maanzo.

Chief Justice Martha Koome, ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka are also in attendance.

The NPB was first held in 2003 after former President Mwai Kibaki took office with its primary purpose being to meet, engage, interact and pray for the nation in the company of fellow leaders from all sectors of society.

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