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Ruto allies open up on what their boss is going through under Uhuru

By Jacob Ngetich | September 4th 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Elegeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen. He recently claimed that President Uhuru Kenyatta has been disrespecting his deputy William Ruto. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

At 12:50 pm of November 28, 2017, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto posed for a photo after being sworn in for their second and last term in office as a "dynamic duo".

Their faces were beaming with joy. For a few seconds, the pair in matching suits wallowed in glee as they shared an ecstatic moment with nearly 50,000 supporters.

The road had begun for Uhuru and Ruto to complete the presidency's second and final term.

Three years later, however, Ruto's allies now say they never saw it coming until it hit them; the slow puncturing of this relationship and the subsequent divorce from the Jubilee Party.

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In a TV interview on Wednesday, Ruto's confidant and Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said after being sworn in for the second term, the president started exhibiting disdain for his deputy, including sending emissaries to abuse him.

Murkomen, alongside the rest of the "DP's men" are yet to come to terms with how fast, messy and noisy the divorce is turning out to be. They also cannot place a finger on that single thing that triggered the president's wrath.

"We cannot recognise the Uhuru we voted for. He kept making unprovoked promises about serving for 10 years before his deputy does another 10. Today, he has employed the kicking-away-the-ladder concept, where he is using every way to push Ruto out," said the legislator.

He said Jubilee Vice Chair David Murathe was a messenger who was doing his master's bidding sending the message that Ruto was going nowhere.

"They are using the messenger to communicate to Ruto that they no longer have any support for him. Had Ruto not joined Uhuru, President Kenyatta would not have won the election," Murkomen said.

The pair was brought together by the menacing shackles of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which was threatening to lock them up over international crimes relating to the 2007 post-election violence.

Indicted by the international system, they stuck together like Siamese twins, hitting the campaign road together, and pulling all stops to assemble impressive campaign machinery, which attracted system support.

"Without Ruto, Uhuru would not even have been an opposition leader, forget the presidency, he would not have won, he would be the one being mistreated now, out of government," said Murkomen.

The million-dollar question therefore is; what exactly happened?

The relationship between the two started in 1999 when Ruto was among the friends that approached nominated MP Mark Too to step down for Uhuru to get a slot in the seventh Parliament.

In 2002 Ruto was among the only two people who stood with Uhuru when he conceded defeat to President-elect Mwai Kibaki. The other person was former minister, the late Mutula Kilonzo.

And for over 21 years, their friendly political relationship has had less strain.

While addressing a rally in Karatina early last year, President Kenyatta said his choice of successor would shock them. That was in itself shocking to the residents of Nyeri County who thought the deal with Ruto was done.

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua in an earlier interview said there would be no shock because they would be expecting the president to keep his word as promised publicly.

"If he does not keep his word then the people in Mount Kenya will," said Gachagua.

In another meeting in Githioro centre in Kinangop Constituency, Nyandarua County on January 31 this year, the president, in an apparent reference to Ruto, said he would inspect government projects himself after being “betrayed” by those he had hoped would help him deliver on his mandate.

Again the president had dropped another hint that the marriage was over and the fight had become bare-knuckle.

The message was clear to Ruto when he told the Nyandarua crowd that he did not have a preferred successor, albeit contradicting what he had said in Karatina.

Murkomen in the interview warned President Kenyatta that his legacy was not going to be about brick and mortar, but about the initial concept of Jubilee that was to bring the country together and end the politics of deceit.

Murkomen said the president will be remembered by how he treated Kenyans and no matter what he does, his public covenant with Ruto and how he has "mistreated" him will form a huge chunk of that legacy.

"We are still wondering what is this one sin that washes away all the good things Ruto has done for the president. For four elections he stood with Uhuru, is he really worth that?" he said.

Asked if those were Ruto's sentiments as well, Deputy President's Director of Communications Emanuel Tallam said Murkomen speaks for himself.

"The DP speaks for himself. We need to outgrow the culture of always thinking some people speak for some people unless they say so," said Tallam.


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