No show as DP Ruto skips Uhuru Covid-19 function

Deputy President William Ruto arrives for media briefing after visiting Jubilee Party Headquarters in Nairobi on September 23, 2020. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto on Monday skipped the National Covid-19 Conference led by President Uhuru Kenyatta and addressed by Opposition leaders Raila Odinga and Musalia Mudavadi and other top leaders.

 Ruto’s absence at the state function addressed by his boss at Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Nairobi has further raised speculation that the Number Two could be an isolated man.

According to State House sources, the DP was invited to the function and was to speak after Raila but opted not to attend.

Speaking to Standard Digital on phone State House spokesperson Kanze Dena confirmed that Ruto was invited to the conference and doesn’t know why he didn’t attend the function.

“Yes he was invited but didn’t attend and I cannot know why, maybe you can find out from him or his communication team the reason behind his no-show,” she said.

It is the ODM leader who acted as Uhuru’s DP after the head of state spoke after the former Prime Minister.

Chief justice David Maraga, Council of Governors chairman Wycliffe Oparanya are among the leaders who addressed the function.

President Uhuru and Ruto frosty relationship started immediately the March 9, 2018 Handshake between Uhuru and Raila.

Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot, a DP ally, however, said there was no need for the DP to honour the invite because he has never been invited in other government Covid-19 response meetings before.

“Let's stop the hypocrisy. Ruto’s contribution counted, how comes he has never been invited to any government Covid-19 response meeting?” posed Cheruiyot.

The senator said attending the function would mean Ruto was part of the cartels out to sanitise the Covid-19 millionaires.

“Now you want him to join the Covid-19 millionaires in sharing their looting success,” he wondered.

 Ruto and his allies have faulted the handshake as a tool being used by the two leaders to frustrate his 2022 ambitions.

Speaking at the at function, President Uhuru while extending the curfew for another 60 days said it will now start from 11pm to 4am, starting  Tuesday, September 29.

He also lifter the prohibition against selling alcohol in bars and restaurants with effect from September 29 and they will be allowed to operate until 10pm.

President Uhuru also allowed places of worships to host a third of their normal sitting capacity but with strict adherence to Health ministry protocols.

Two-hundred people will now attend weddings and funerals, Uhuru said when he further eased the restrictions to keep Covid-19 infections at bay.

Uhuru was however hesitant on school reopening saying it will only happen once the government is sure it is safe to do so.

"Don't focus on when the schools will re-open, focus on when the health and safety of our children will be guaranteed."

President Uhuru warned that should the infection cases continue to rise, the restrictions will be implemented again.