Ruto regime on mission to punish Uhuru, say ex-president's allies

(I have heard people talk about tax defaulters. The government has its way of doing things and on matters tax, it is imperative that each citizen pays. This is not something to talk about in the media because if one does not pay, they are taken to court. There is no need to badmouth others to be seen to be working. Take the defaulters to court. And if it is me, take my property to offset the taxes if I skipped," she said.

Revenge mission

This comes after former President, Uhuru Kenyatta's allies claimed President William Ruto's administration has embarked on a revenge mission to punish the former head of State.

This follows the government's move to scale down the former president's security detail, which sparked an uproar among his allies and supporters. The leaders including his allies within Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition believe the government's decision is driven by malice and vengeance.

Although the government has already defended the decision to reduce the number of police officers guarding the retired Head of State, the ex-president's allies have termed the move ill-thought.

They claim the developments show that President Wiliam Ruto's regime has opted to take on a path of personal vendetta against the former president and claim the development could hurt efforts to unite the country.

Led by Jubilee Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni, the leaders claimed Ruto's administration has shifted its goals from serving the people and has instead opted for vengeance.

"The UDA's agenda was to make Kenyans' life easier and not to punish former President Uhuru Kenyatta. Any leadership that seeks to punish or victimise others ends up being weak and delivers very little to the people," said Kioni.

According to Kioni, the decision by the government to take on Uhuru shows the government has misplaced priorities and is not committed to uniting the country.

The development comes at a time when Ruto's administration has also reversed some of the appointments that were made by the former president during his reign, including those to some plum government parastatals. Uhuru's allies believe the move is part of a wider effort by the government to frustrate the former president and revenge on the fallout he had with Ruto in the build-up to the August 9 polls.

Yesterday, several leaders from the Azimio coalition said the current turn of events targeting Uhuru is not a coincidence but a well-thought-out revenge mission against the former Head of State.

Nominated MP Sabina Chege said it was unfortunate that the government is targeting the country's only surviving Head of State. "Uhuru is constitutionally mandated to be guarded and by claiming they want to lower the security of the former presidents, they are targeting Uhuru since he is the only surviving former Head of State," said Chege.

She urged the government to instead focus on addressing the problems that Kenyans are struggling with. "Let this government stop being petty. We have bigger problems in Kenya than punishing Uhuru and those who have served in the previous government. Let them concentrate on lowering the high cost of living, reconsidering their policy of increasing water and electricity bills than spreading malice and being vindictive," she said.

According to Jubilee MP and Nyamira Woman Representative Jerusha Momanyi, the attacks targeting the former president amounts to disrespect to a leader who steered the country for ten years. "The way it was done amounts to disrespect to the former president. Why did the government do that when they have not even given him his retirement perks?" posed Momanyi.

Momanyi claimed that the new administration did not work in good faith and is seeking to continue the tiff between president Ruto and Uhuru in the build-up to last year's elections. A number of ODM MPs and Raila's foot soldiers also criticised the government's move on the retired Head of State's security.

They argued the former president should be treated with respect and allowed to enjoy his retirement without being dragged into controversies driven by vengeance.

Suna West MP Peter Masara said Dr Ruto's administration should do things the right way and at the right time. "With the current issues in the country, it is not the right time," the legislator said.

Security matters

Nyatike MP Tom Odege echoed Masara's sentiments saying the government was free to handle security matters but the timing was wrong and raises suspicion. "It is hard for them to convince anyone that whatever has been done was being done in good faith," Odege said.

According to the legislator, this is a witch-hunt. Odege said the new administration should have waited for political temperatures to cool down before making any changes. "Trying to witch-hunt everybody including a retired president will not work," the legislator said.

According to Odege, the president also ought to have consulted with Uhuru on their plans, instead of surprising him with such changes. "You can't just surprise somebody with such changes, then say it is a normal routine," the legislator said.

MPs now want the government to account for the changes in the former president's security detail. Kasipul MP Ong'ondo Were accused the Kenya Kwanza regime of exposing Mr Kenyatta's security arrangements. He said the reduction of Mr Kenyatta's security detail can predispose the retired president to threats.

The MP argued that the manner in which the number of security officers was reduced raised eyebrows.

Rangwe MP Lilian Gogo also faulted the government, urging Ruto not to be vengeful.

On Friday, Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome confirmed he had recalled senior rank officers in the former Head of State's security detail but described the move as normal re-organisation.

[Reporting by Anne Atieno, Stanley Ongwae, Harold Odhiambo and Ndungu Gachane]