Deputy President William Ruto has taken his political war with the handshake duo of President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga a notch higher.
Fresh from a night tweet-storm on Saturday, Ruto’s brigade swept Bungoma yesterday, daring President Kenyatta to bring it on as far as dissolution of Parliament is concerned, and vowing to turn the tables on him and his newfound ally, Raila.
In a flurry of tweets the night before, Ruto revisited the “deep state” debate, decried reliance on ‘godfathers’ and dismissed the duo’s Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). The deputy president also issued tough conditions for his support to the initiative.
And while the dust was settling, Ruto turned up in Bungoma to defend fundamental freedoms, demanding respect for the Judiciary and its leadership, as his allies dared Uhuru to dissolve Parliament for failing to enact the two-thirds gender rule.
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“We must respect each other even when we have different opinions. The respect must cut across to all; the Judiciary is not exempted. No amount of intimidation will prevent us from achieving our goals. We no longer live in an era where decisions regarding the affairs of the country are a preserve of a few,” said Ruto in Bumala, Bungoma County, when he gave donations to several churches yesterday.
During the Saturday night tweet-storm, Ruto hurled 11 choice tweets, tearing into the heart of Raila-Uhuru political game plan. The tweets were seen as response to Raila’s hard tackles of the past few days.
“You also pride in godfathers. But we are the people, the Hustler Nation, and we have God the father. Please, let us have a decent conversation, that’s all we are asking,” Ruto tweeted.
The DP said he was “acutely aware” how powerful his detractors were, because they have the “system”, the “deep state” and “godfathers.” But he said the threats, blackmail, intimidation and insults that he has been treated to for the past two years were the language of tyrants, despots and dictatorships.
“Sorry, but we are a democracy,” he said.
He claimed BBI was all about creating “five lofty positions for the mighty” while important national projects like implementation of the housing programme were relegated.
On Saturday, Raila said the BBI report would be released soon with possibility of a plebiscite early next year. He warned detractors that they would not succeed in stopping reggae.
Raila, in reference to Ruto, said those opposed to BBI were dark forces corrupting citizens through lies against the report of a task force that was formed by him and Uhuru in March 2018 during the famous handshake.
Ruto, who identifies himself as a hustler, a tag he has lately been keen to popularise, said as a minimum, the hustlers want a new conversation about the daily engagements for each one of them.
“The hustlers have refused the tribe configuration and instead they want a conversation on their individual HUSTLES, which are tribeless. Tribe has been hijacked by tribal lords/chiefs to benefit themselves and their families to the detriment of hustlers and their children. And enough is enough,” wrote Ruto.
At the Bungoma event, Ruto continued with his opposition talk, demanding respect for all arms of government, and saying attacks on Chief Justice David Maraga would not help anyone.
He tied the stinging criticism against Maraga over his advisory on the gender rule to his political troubles over the past few months.
“For long they have been issuing a lot of threats to some people. This country is for us all and it is only good that all of us accommodate each other. There are a lot of gains that have been made by the Judiciary and all that will go down the drain if we fail to respect such institutions.’’
Ruto also took on those who have been taking issue with his dalliance with the church, claiming they lacked an agenda of their own.
“I want to tell them that no amount of threats and intimidation will prevent the hustler nation from reaching out to poor people; we shall walk in every part of this nation preaching the same gospel.’’
Hamisi MP Charles Gimose urged Uhuru to hasten dissolution of Parliament, stating that the hustler brigade was well prepared for elections.
“This is a law-abiding country and the law must cut across; the president must not dilly dally, we are in full support of dissolution of Parliament. We are ready to face those opposing your presidential ambition in the ballot,’’ said Gimose.
Mumias East lawmaker Benjamin Washiali stated that leaders opposed to the dissolution of Parliament were afraid of losing their seats since they have no development records to sell to the people.
“Unlike them we seriously need that election. They should not be preaching to us about the cost of an election when everywhere in this country money is lost. We are telling our opponents that their attacks on the CJ are unwarranted and that they should brace themselves for a bruising battle if elections are called.’’
Washiali defended the CJ, adding that attacks on Maraga were ill-informed and done out of malice. “He is only acting on the law, the Constitution allows him to advise the president when some aspects of the law are being abused.’’
Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua warned that they will not allow the new proposed registration of Huduma Namba if the national government does not open up to citizens on what happened to the first registration.
Gachajua alleged that the new move to register Kenyans was but a scheme of interfering with the 2022 General Election. He also claimed that those pushing it were out to make money.
“We shall not be intimidated, we know there are cartels having sleepless nights in Runda who are trying to influence the upcoming elections through the disguise of Huduma Namba. We are watching and will foil their plans,” said Gachagua.
Other leaders who joined Ruto were Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, Webuye West MP Dan Wanyama, Malava MP Malulu Injendi and ward representatives.
During the Saturday night tweet-storm, Ruto gave conditions for supporting BBI:
“Freedom of thought, association and choice will be our minimum for any public policy engagement, including the BBI,” he said.
Suna East MP and Raila ally Junet Mohammed dismissed Ruto’s remarks.
“He’s sprinting in a marathon. He will soon have himself to blame when he runs out of steam and gasps for air. He has no clue!” Junet told The Standard yesterday.