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You should have resigned if you did not want to help, Uhuru tells Ruto

President Uhuru Kenyatta greets Deputy President William Ruto during the public viewing of the body of former President Mwai Kibaki at Parliament buildings. [Standard]

The war of words between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto escalated yesterday with the Head of State telling his Number Two that he should have resigned from the government.

During Labour Day celebrations, a visibly angry president accused Ruto of abdicating his duty and instead of spending time inciting people against him and pointing at failures in the government he is part of.

Badala ya kunisaidia kuona wananchi watasaidiki vipi, yuko kule sokoni na matusi na unajiita kiongozi, si uondoke nitafute mwingine! (Instead of helping me solve problems afflicting the people, you are in the marketplace spreading propaganda and inciting people against me and you call yourself a leader, you can leave so that I get someone to help me),” he said at Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi.

Almost immediately after Uhuru’s speech, Dr Ruto, who skipped the event, responded through a tweet, telling the president that it was the people he had assigned his roles of DP who had let him down.

“Sorry, my boss. I feel your pain. Those you assigned my responsibilities and ‘project’ mzee have let you down miserably. They bungled our BIG4, killed our party & wasted your second term. Wao ni bure kabisa. Boss, am available. Just a PHONE call away. Sadly the last Cabinet was 2yrs ago. Yule No.2,” tweeted the DP.

President Kenyatta accused Ruto of inciting the people over the rising prices of fuel and problems caused by Covid-19. He blamed the challenges facing Kenyans now, especially high fuel prices, on the war in Ukraine.

He said some leaders had taken advantage of the effects of Covid-19 on the economy to besmirch his leadership.

“Let’s not lie to each other, you know this problem is not because of anyone’s making but a global issue. Where were you when I needed you? That is why I thank mzee (Raila Odinga), even if he had his issues, he came to help me,” said the president.

The sour relationship between the president and his deputy that began in 2018 was evident during former President Mwai Kibaki’s funeral.

During the public viewing of the body at Parliament Buildings, the State funeral service at Nyayo National Stadium and the burial at Kibaki’s Othaya home, the president and his deputy did not shake hands and their body language did not betray the bad blood between them.

At Nyayo stadium, Dr Ruto said Kibaki was Kenya’s best president, in what could have been seen as an indictment of his boss.

Yesterday’s attack by the president was not taken kindly by some of Dr Ruto’s lieutenants. Garissa Township MP, who hitherto was a strong defender of the Uhuru-Ruto government, told President Kenyatta that they were sorry for his “pain, but we can do little as we have moved on”.

“Mr President and my friend, between 2013-2017 we were a team, trusted and loyal to you until 2018 when you started a scheme to alienate leaders purported from your Deputy and House leadership to destroy our careers, our Government and our Jubilee party. You hounded us out of our parliamentary offices unceremoniously, humiliated us in public, discharged your Deputy of his constitutional function through an Executive order, used the criminal justice system to parade our colleagues in court. Mr President, you replaced us with our historical adversaries,” said Duale.

President Kenyatta has about three months to the end of his term and he has thrown his weight behind Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga. He promised to hit the ground running to campaign for him.

The promise

Initially the president had promised that he would back Ruto to succeed him in the August 9 General Election but this changed after their relationship soured. 

Speaking during the Labour Day celebrations, Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli said President Kenyatta was still young and would therefore be consulted often even in his retirement.

“You are not going anywhere, you are still young, we will consult you often,” said Mr Atwoli. 

Dr Ruto indicated on social media that he was meeting with aspirants from Bomet County.  

“We salute the leadership of Bomet for its unity and commitment to deliver victory for UDA in the August polls. Our line-up in the county is now complete,” he tweeted.

The Kenya Kwanza leadership, together with speakers of both Houses of Parliament, were conspicuously absent at Nyayo Stadium.

By virtue of the offices they hold, speakers Ken Lusaka (Senate) and Justin Muturi (National Assembly) have been constantly present at all national fetes.

However, yesterday, Dr Lusaka chose to join Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula for a meeting with party delegates from Bungoma County. Dr Lusaka has declared interest in the Bungoma governor’s seat. 

Mr Muturi, on the other hand, joined ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi at the homecoming ceremony of Nandi Governor Stephen Sang.