Deputy President William Ruto’s images lay on the tartan track at the Nyayo National Stadium on Saturday, admired and trod on as his supporters buzzed around the venue waiting for what was billed as the biggest rally the Kenya Kwanza coalition has ever held.
Despite the shoving and pulling which came in waves, the ecstatic supporters somehow managed to remain intact.
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Ruto has over the years turned his woes into sympathy from the public while the onslaught from State operatives has only seemingly emboldened his resolve to seek the presidency.
And when he arrived at the Nyayo National Stadium yesterday for his last public submission ahead of Tuesday’s elections, this support was evident. His supporters were in their numbers and had turned the stadium into a yellow-coloured sea of humanity.
The very people that Ruto appeals to - the itinerant traders, mama mbogas, hawkers, sausage and smokie vendors, jua kali artisans and even the unemployed youth – were in droves some even hanging from the rafters.
For a venue that has historically been a preserve of opposition leader Raila Odinga given its proximity to his political strongholds, the crowd was receptive to Ruto.
Garlanded by his lieutenants, Ruto walked in to the mfalme wa Aamani anthem by famed gospel artist Solomon Mkubwa and what followed was a decree of peace.
But before he called for peace, Ruto took the stage and told of what had been a tumultuous journey - sparked by his falling out with President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2018 - leading up to the final rally, emphasising that it had taken God’s hand.
“I am here today because of God’s might. They said that I will not make it to the ballot but here we are today. I promise that after we win the elections on Tuesday, I will not let you - the people of Kenya - down,” he said.
He then called for peace after the elections, saying his camp would not allow post-election violence and was ready to accept the outcome of the polls.
“To Raila Odinga, we will sit down and have a cup of tea after the August 9 elections so that we can agree on what role you are going to play as the official leader of opposition,” said Ruto.
The Deputy President went on to fashion the Tuesday elections as a contest between the people of Kenya and the deep state out to avert the will of the people.
“On Tuesday, the deep state and the system will not stop us. The will of the people will be supreme because it is they that have the power to hire and fire governments,” said Ruto.
He further spoke on corruption, a re-stitching of the country’s economic fabric, employment creation and reviving of Kenya’s textile industry by pumping Sh200 billion into the country’s economy yearly should he clinch power.
The DP further relished the opportunity to hit out at his main competitor and his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“The Kemsa scandal was made possible due to a conflict of interest on Uhuru’s part. You, Mr President cannot lecture us on corruption until you have bring the perpetrators of the Kemsa heist to book,” said Ruto.
Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria called out Uhuru for trying to manage his succession. He claimed that Uhuru, unlike his predecessors, had impoverished Kenyans.
Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetangula termed Uhuru vicious and vindictive and called on Kenyans not to vote in his “project” Raila.
“The power of the people is greater than that of the people in power. Let us make sure that this time we are voting to bring down the cost of living, eradicate state capture and reduce the cost of unga,” said Wetangula.
Amanai National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi urged Raila to be ready for another handshake after Tuesday only that this time, it could be one of him conceding defeat.
Ruto’s running mate Gachagua cautioned the electorate against selling their identification cards and along with it their futures.
“Interior Cabinet CS Fred Matiang'i and his PS Karanja Kibicho should stop intimidating civil servants to vote in favour of Raila. Every Kenyan has a right to vote for who they see fit,” he said.
Kenya Kwanza leaders have in the recent past trained their guns on Dr Matiangí and Dr Kibicho over meetings with chiefs and other administration officials across the country, with the two Interior ministry officials denying any attempts by government to sway the vote.