Uhuru now under pressure to act on Ruto over ‘threat’
By Steve Mkawale and Julius Chepkwony | February 6th 2021
President Uhuru Kenyatta is under pressure from a section of politicians to act on his deputy who they accuse of defying him by opposing the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and the Handshake.
On Thursday, former vice-presidents Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi were among leaders who claimed Deputy President William Ruto was radicalising the youth and undermining efforts to unite the country by championing the hustlers verses dynasties narrative.
As such, all eyes are on President Kenyatta as he weighs how to act on Ruto who seems to be threatening his legacy.
Kalonzo and Mudavadi were speaking at the first memorial of the former President Daniel arap Moi at Kabarak in Nakuru County.
They openly challenged Kenyatta to take action against his deputy, saying it was evident that he had gone rogue.
“Mr President, you have been abused by the people calling themselves hustlers, but you have taken it all in and kept quiet, showing some good leadership skills because we need to build our nation,” Kalonzo said.
For the Wiper leader, Ruto is creating a war within the government and is therefore not suitable to hold the position.
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He argued that the DP has succeeded in radicalising masses and his efforts have trickled down to Parliament and county assemblies where members have taken sides.
“The results of DP’s actions were seen on Monday when MPs exchanged blows in public. These wars have been instigated by the DP,” said Kalonzo.
He claimed tribulation facing former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko was as a result of Ruto’s narrative of creating a class war hence the insults he hurled at the president.
The former city governor is facing various criminal offences and is currently in custody.
Mudavadi, the Amani National Congress (ANC) leader, said Ruto has no respect for Kenyatta and that is why he is openly challenging the president’s authority.
Crack the whip
He told Kenyatta to crack the whip on his deputy, noting he had done enough to divide the country.
“We need to score goals, but anyone who is not playing as expected should be put on the bench for us to win. This is the role of a captain of any team,” Mudavadi said.
The remarks by Kalonzo and Mudavadi came slightly two weeks after similar sentiments were aired by Central Organisation of Trade Union secretary general Francis Atwoli and Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala in Vihiga County.
In what they termed as a challenge to the president, the duo said ODM leader Raila Odinga had made sure his allies are intact and supported the Handshake.
“Raila has made sure his allies are intact and in support of the Handshake but on your side president, there are people disturbing you.
“You are supposed now to take charge. You are the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces. Take your club, deal with those disturbing you on your side,” Malala said during the burial of Mudavadi’s mother.
Mudavadi’s party has threatened to impeach Ruto if he does not resign.
ANC deputy leader Ayub Savula recently claimed DP’s ‘attack’ on President Kenyatta warrants calls for his resignation.
But Ruto has been defending the hustlers’ narrative, dismissing those opposed to it as people who are against political change in Kenya.
“What is the problem with the hustler nation? They want to maintain the status quo.
“Even if they say otherwise or oppose me, I will remain steadfast until Kenyans become equal,” said Ruto during one of his tours of the Coast region.
“There are no more fools in Kenya. We will change the structure of sharing resources so that the hustlers can feel included and those who are rich will have to sort out themselves,” he said.
Ruto’s allies too have gone on the defensive about claims that they were out to divide the country and cause a class war in a bid to get to power.
Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen argued that the hustlers’ narrative is about inclusivity and not divisions.
“Those who came up with hustlers verses dynasties are propagandists who want to derail our efforts to push the hustlers to be at the table of our nation’s conversation,” Murkomen said.
Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika agrees with Murkomen saying “hustler is not about being poor or about poverty. What we want is a government or country where even the poorest has a fair shot.”
President Kenyatta appears disturbed by what his deputy has been advocating, saying hustlers’ narrative is divisive and should not be tolerated.
During his meeting at Sagana State Lodge, and later while addressing a gathering at the memorial of President Moi in Kabarak, it was evident that the fallout between him and his deputy was real.
Without mentioning his deputy by name, Kenyatta regretted that a section of leaders were hellbent on starting a class war that might get out of hand if not stopped.
In the past two years, the rift between President Kenyatta and Ruto has been widening. The two leaders have differed on BBI and the Handshake.
Pundits say a post-election pact made between Jubilee and Kanu, opposed by Ruto’s allies, along with Kenyatta’s reconciliation with Raila, worsened the situation.
“All that is happening is about the Kenyatta succession.
“After joining forces with William Ruto to win the 2013 and 2017 elections, President Kenyatta now seems determined to ensure that his deputy does not ascend to the presidency in 2022,” says Gitile Naituli, a professor of management and leadership at Multimedia University.
Prof Naituli further observes that Jubilee is now a divided house with two diametrically opposing camps led by Kenyatta under the Kieleweke camp, and Ruto, who is spearheading Tanga Tanga team.
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