After two weeks 'indoors', Ruto ventures out of State House


President William Ruto and Energy CS Davis Chirchir during the commissioning of Kimuka Electrical Sub Station, Kajiado West, Kajiado County. [PCS]

For the first time in nearly a fortnight President William Ruto yesterday stepped away from the confines of State House and beyond the borders of the capital, Nairobi.

Reeling from the aftermath of the anti-Finance Bill protests, the President had – uncharacteristically - for the better part of the last two weeks been grounded to the House on the Hill, putting out domestic fires that have come in the form of an agitated youth and calls for his resignation.

Ordinarily, Ruto would be notching up air miles with the intent of advancing his diplomatic agenda and leaving the stewardship of the country to his deputy, Rigathi Gachagua.

But with political upheaval incessant and pushback from the public apparent, the Head of State had been relegated to State House where he had seemingly sought refuge to craft a decisive strategy on how to quell mounting pressure on his administration and win back the hearts of disgruntled Kenyans.

His time in solitude led to him making several pronouncements such as a six-day multi-sectoral dialogue, a 20-member task force to audit Health resources and a presidential task force to conduct forensic audit of the country’s public debt. All these measures are aimed at reversing the vote- of no-confidence verdict delivered on his administration by the public.

And yesterday, Ruto set out to Kajiado County for the commissioning of the Kimuka Power Sub Station as part of his last mile connectivity project that seeks to connect more than 300,000 households to electricity country wide.

He was flanked by local leaders including Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku, MPs George Sunkuiya (Kajiado West), Onesmus Ngogoyo (Kajiado North), Seki Lenku (Senator Kajiado) and a host of MCAs.

Other leaders including National Assembly Majority leader Kimani Ichungwa, and Marsabit Senator Mohamed Chute were also present.

“Out of the 300,000 people that we seek to connect to the national grid, 20,000 are from Kajiado County. Contractors are already on the ground to ensure these households have power within year,” said Ruto.

Adding; “Our aim is to make sure that it is not only the rich who have connectivity to power but every citizen. Members of Parliament have been allocated funds to ensure that their constituencies are lit.”

The President further reached into his bag of “goodies” pledging to set up 11 new markets in Kajiado County with Sh700 million reportedly already set aside for the first phase of the undertaking. But his promises didn’t stop there, he pledged to ensure that all Junior Secondary School teachers were up-scaled to permanent and pensionable terms by the end of this year.

His heavy security detail was however telling of a man not ready to take chances with a riled up public; armed and uniformed officers kept the crowd at bay as his private security detail kept their eyes peeled.

The President’s utterances further betrayed the burden of ceaseless protests from the youth that he has had to deal with for the last month, emanating from the now impugned Finance Bill.

 “Let us not accept to destroy our country through violence and acts that will disrupt peace. We are a democratic country where the people wield the power and they get to exercise that power through elections,”stated the President.

At some point, he hinted at unnamed persons, both locally and abroad, being behind the protests in an attempted power grab.

“…there is no need of disrupting peace in the country, instigating violence or using other means (to ascend to power). Kenyans are the ones to decide on how the country will move forward… I want to tell those abroad trying to plan things to play out in this country that Kenya is a democratic nation,” he remarked.

“Come 2027, Kenyans will get the opportunity to decide on which leader has worked and who hasn’t we will see who has been working for Kenyans and who has not,” added Ruto.

And when the other leaders spoke, they buttressed the president's message.

Ichungwa who doubles up as Kikuyu MP, blamed the recently witnessed protests in the country on “political scavengers.

“There are people who imagine they can scavenge for power. They wanted to divide our country first along ethnic lines and class lines. We want to tell them to wait for the general elections in 2027. Let them come sell their agenda to the people of Kenya who will then look at their track record based on the promises they made during the campaigns,” he remarked.  

Sunkuiya said, “As leaders from Kajiado, we are in support of President William Ruto and his development agenda. We will not be threatened to bandon him. This government did not come easy, we fought and we prayed for it.”

Ole Lenku, on his part, pledged support for the William Ruto administration noting that the Maa community and the constituents of Kajiado were firmly behind his leadership.

Notably, in the last two-week window period, the President only left State House once on Tuesday when he proceeded to KICC for the signing of the IEBC (amendment) Bill 2024 into law.

In a historic event, Ruto assented to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Amendment Bill, 2024 at KICC in Nairobi. The event was the first time a bill was signed into law outside the State House. He was flanked by leaders from the opposition.