President Ruto: Everything wasn't working in Uhuru's last five years

President William Ruto making an address at the Green Stadium in Kericho County during an interdenominational church service on Sunday, October 16, 2022. [Brian Okoth, Standard]

President William Ruto has asked for patience to implement his manifesto, saying he has inherited a country that was in economic and social ruin.

His remarks come just over 30 days since he took the oath of office as Kenya’s fifth president.

“When I was taking the oath of office, Kenya’s economy was on its knees; we had heavy debts. The agricultural sector was in ruins; the unga prices had shot up beyond reach for many Kenyans. The security situation in the country was worrying; bodies of people were being retrieved from River Yala [in Siaya County] almost every other day,” said Ruto, who addressed congregants on Sunday, October 16 at the Green Stadium in Kericho County during an interdenominational church service.

The Head of State asked the opposition not to point an accusing finger at his administration over the country’s shortfalls.

“Let these people (opposition) give us room to change the country. We want to overhaul Kenya, and do away with the foundation of intimidation that they had set up. I want to tell our people not to be confused by what happened in the past. They (President Kenyatta’s administration) had five years to rule, but they used the period to ruin Kenya. The police officers were being used to maim people instead of protecting them.”

Ruto said it was his decision to have the DCI’s Special Service Unit disbanded, claiming that the department was being used for extrajudicial killings.

“Recently, a few days ago, I directed that the DCI’s Special Service Unit be disbanded because it had lost meaning,” said the president.

Ruto was accompanied to Kericho by his deputy, Rigathi Gachagua, who said “it’s impossible for the Kenya Kwanza government to correct five-year mistakes in just 30 days”.

“I’m asking those in the opposition to go slow on us. Let them perform oversight functions after we are done correcting the wrongs of the previous administration,” said Gachagua.

Shortly before former President Uhuru Kenyatta left office, in his scorecard address on September 12, he said he was proud of his administration’s achievements.

“On my part as the Head of State, I hand over leadership of a nation that has undergone consequential transformation over the last decade in every aspect of our national life,” said Kenyatta in his address at State House, Nairobi ahead of Ruto’s swearing-in as fifth president the following day, September 13.

“With the mandate you bestowed upon my administration, we have fostered and integrated devolution as a way of life; reinforced our educational and technical excellence; and successfully led the nation through the worst global health crisis in a century. We also turned a number of challenges we inherited and those that emerged during our tenure into areas of opportunity for a better Kenya.

“The baton we received from the late President Mwai Kibaki was not dropped. We built on his legacy and those of the previous two administrations in every area of public life.

“In an unbroken chain, we built on President Daniel Arap Moi’s love for education that was further built upon as free primary education by President Mwai Kibaki. And with the mandate you gave us, we institutionalised free secondary education, heralding 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary education.

“Aware that insecurity can break the chain of our national development and deter the realisation of the National Anthem’s promise of plenty within our borders; we built on the work done by previous administrations and created a much improved security environment.

“We have also built on the aspiration of the independence generation to foster inclusivity and gender parity.”