Ruto assures mitumba traders of funds, vows to stop slum evictions

DP William Ruto addressing a section of leaders drawn from Kibra at his Karen residence during a past event. [DPPS]

United Democratic Alliance presidential candidate William Ruto has promised to stop forced evictions of slum residents and to protect mitumba traders.

Addressing a rally yesterday at Mukuru kwa Reuben, Dr Ruto said slum residents have a right to decent housing and should not be forcefully removed from their homes without being provided with alternative places to live.

The Deputy President said the government was cruel to demolish people’s homes, and disconnect utilities such as water and electricity to eject them.

“This year, we are voting in a government that understands the plight of the common person. You cannot demolish someone’s house without giving them a place to live,” said Dr Ruto.

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja said: “This has been a problem here and we will make sure it does not happen again.”

He also defended himself in a petition challenging his academic records, saying he had been a victim of propaganda.

“I have gone to school and have the right credentials. I will be on the ballot on August 9. I am a victim of people who want me out so that they can have their project as governor,” he said.

The DP was accompanied in the rallies in Embakasi South Constituency by ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya), Alfred Mutua (Maendeleo Chap Chap), Speaker Justin Muturi and nominated Senator Millicent Omanga.

He said the millions of educated and unemployed youth should vote for him because he would prioritise their needs. Dr Ruto said he had a plan to turn around the economy, lower the cost of living, and create employment and an enabling environment for small businesses to thrive.

“Why should we be giving priority to politicians getting positions rather than our jobless youth? There is no other solution. We have to spend money and create jobs so that the youth do not live as squatters in their own country,” he said.

Dr Ruto promised that the Kenya Kwanza government would allocate Sh150 billion for jobless youth and small traders. “We have spent Sh100 billion on Kenya Airways. Why can’t we spend the same money on small traders?”

The DP said that he was committed to lowering the cost of food by investing heavily in agriculture, adding that it was a shame the country was still food insecure. He also promised to provide NHIF cover to all Kenyans.

Elsewhere, Dr Ruto promised to introduce legislation that will protect small and medium businesses, including mitumba traders, from exploitation if he ascends to power.

Speaking during a meeting with representatives of mitumba traders, he said the mitumba trade is not a threat to the textile industry, and the two sectors serve different segments of the public.

“My government will establish processes and systems that will see establishment of textile factories here, and also ensure growth and expansion of the mitumba trade,” he said.

The DP said his administration and the Nairobi County Government will build modern markets that will have specific areas for second-hand clothes traders.

His running mate Rigathi Gachagua said that second-hand clothes give dignity to many Kenyans. “Before mitumba, many Kenyans at the bottom of the pyramid used to be in rags and near nakedness.”