President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday at State House Nairobi told elders of the vote-rich Mt Kenya region what triggered his fallout with Deputy President William Ruto.
The meeting, one of its kind in recent years, was attended by 3,000-odd elders from Kiama Kia Ma, Kikuyu Council of Elders and elected leaders from Mt Kenya region, with key outcome being rollout of a civic awareness campaign on why Ruto is bad for them.
Uhuru explained that he parted ways with his deputy after learning that he was scheming to topple him ahead of his time.
Elders who attended the meeting told The Sunday Standard that the president said the conduct of Jubilee party primaries in 2017 opened his eyes to a wider plot.
He claimed Ruto bungled the Jubilee primaries to ensure his (Uhuru’s) loyalists were out, and replaced by Ruto’s lackeys.
Some of the political bigwigs who were dethroned by leaders thought to be political greenhorns included William Kabogo (Kiambu), Kembi Gitura (Murang’a), Dennis Waweru (Dagoretti South), Jamleck Kamau (Murang’a) Kabando wa Kabando (Nyeri), Daniel Karaba (Kirinyaga) and Priscila Nyokabi (Nyeri).
He said he was tricked into taking charge of government as Ruto handled the party. And when he formed the government, Ruto, riding the crest of his freshly minted loyalists, attempted to strike a power deal with Opposition leader Raila Odinga.
“The president informed us that Ruto was going behind his back, planning how he could close ranks with Raila to impeach him at an appropriate time,” Mathioya MP Peter Kimari told The Sunday Standard on phone.
He said the president told them that his deputy was encouraging the Opposition protests while at the same time inciting him to clamp down hard on them.
He claimed Ruto wanted Raila arrested and prosecuted after he was sworn as “peoples president” in January 2018.
We could not independently verify the statements from official State House sources, but Antony Chege, an elder who is also a Maragua parliamentary candidate attended the State House meeting and confirmed Kimari’s statements.
He said the president cited intelligence reports of an impending Ruto, Raila rapprochement which led him to move fast and bring Raila to his side.
Uhuru also painted to them a picture of a power-hungry deputy, who was willing to pull all the stops to attain power.
He gave them the analogy of a man who is sent by his boss to deliver goodies to the boss’s family but incites the family against their own father claiming he had neglected them and that it is him the deputy who has brought them the food.
“He informed us that Raila had a raft of demands which included power-sharing which he turned down and after a series of meetings over why they should unite for the sake of the country, Raila gave in and assured him of his support,” said Chege.
The president was particularly irked by the broadsides Ruto’s brigade has been hurling towards him over the years.
He cited the attacks on his mother, Mama Ngina, saying such has never been witnessed even during the electioneering period.
“He asked us to face our youth and women and tell them to truth and remind them about our morals on respecting parents. He also asked us whether we have ever heard leaders from Rift Valley insulting Ruto and this was an eye opener,” Chege added.
The president urged the elders to use their small groups identified as miaki to reach out to women and youth who seem radicalised by Ruto and talk to them on the importance of the Agikuyu community coming together.
Wachira Kiago, the Kiama Kia Ma National chair said the president was keen on seeing a united and peaceful region which will be fully informed before casting their presidential vote.
“We have been tasked with convincing the region on why the president settled on Raila and also on the importance of peace and unity.
“We shall give counsel to the electorate to reject the leaders who spew hatred. We will also share with our people the need to work with other communities,” Kiago said.
He said no other community insults their king.
Muranga chair for Kikuyu Council of Elders Kiarii Rugami said they will start vigorous grassroots campaigns to protect the community from being exposed after the General Election.
“We shall start with our families and the extended ones before rolling out sensitisation meetings in all the counties where we are represented,” Rugami said.
Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu said the president was categorical that politics is driven by interests and stressed the need for the region to approach the August polls while wary of people who don’t care about their interests.
“No matter how many times they claim they love us and visit this region, no matter the amount of money they give our people as handouts, they rejected efforts to have equitable resource distribution and equality in representation,” Wambugu quoted the president as saying in his address to the elders.
Ngunjiri said the elders were encouraged to take their role as leaders of their respective local communities and tell their families the truth “one home at a time.”
His Gatanga counterpart Nduati Ngugi said President Kenyatta promised to hit the ground and also to face his people in rallies telling them how things went south between him and Ruto.
“He told us that he too will hit the ground but wanted us and the elders to prepare the way for him.
“He stressed the need of having one vehicle which will ensure that no matter who takes over government, the region will still have a say after the elections,” Ngugi said.
After yesterday’s meeting, the resident will meet the league of women leaders identified as Nyakinyua alongside the elected female leaders before meeting Nchuri Ncheke councils accompanied by elected male leaders from Tharaka Nithi, Meru and Embu counties.
He will also meet women leaders from the three counties at State House.