Two women who reportedly trekked 346km from Sugoi to Kasarani for President William Ruto’s swearing-in ceremony are still stranded in Nairobi two weeks later.
Everlyne Chepkemei and Eunice Tabuut who are vegetable vendors in Ruto’s backyard arrived in the city on September 12, 2022, after taking the treacherous journey starting on September 9 at 4am.
The two whose economic activities resound with Ruto’s 'bottom-up' economic model had high hopes that they would have a chance to interact with the President and his Deputy Rigathi Gachagua.
“We arrived in Kasarani and witnessed them get sworn in. That was our first goal out of the love we had for them. We then embarked on seeking to meet Ruto,” said Chepkemei.
With their exhaustion, the two walked from Kasarani to Statehouse though they had no official invitation to the luncheon that was attended by top leaders and a select ordinary Kenyans.
“At the State House, we were allowed in the first gate but on getting to the second gate we were asked for the invitation. We didn’t have. We were directed to move back to Ruto’s previous residence in Karen,” said Chepkemei.
The two were greeted by shock on arrival as the residence which was still heavily guarded had very minimal activity with no one to welcome them.
“We stayed at the gates but realised we wouldn’t meet him since he was no longer residing there. It started getting dark and we had to leave for a place where we would sleep,” said Chepkemei.
She insists that they decided to remain in the city hoping that they would only feel fulfilled if they personally delivered a handcart branded in UDA colours to Ruto and pray with him as they had intended.
“We were told to leave the hand cart at the Deputy President’s Karen residence which we did. It is still there and we can no longer access it. We are yet to get an appointment with him,” she said.
Tabuut revealed that the journey started taking a toll on their bodies days later as they waited to meet the President who then flew out of the country for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
“We didn’t know that we were required to have an official appointment. We thought that we would just gift the President and leave. We were too tired and had to leave the cart in Karen,” said Tabuut.
She said that they were not about to give up on their mission adding that they were confident the Kenya Kwanza coalition victory belongs to the humble in society.
“Wherever the President is, we wish to tell him that we are still in Nairobi hoping to meet him. We are not going back to Sugoi. He had promised that the doors to Statehouse were open,” she said.
Sheila Cherotich who has offered them temporary shelter said that she was at work at around 7pm when her colleague alerted her of women from her village seeking a place to sleep.
“My colleague had seen their story online. I approached them and they asked for a cheap place they could sleep. The cheapest room was Sh2,000 and they had Sh200. I took them home,” said Cherotich.
Cherotich who also hails from Sugoi said that the women went through a lot of pain after taking a rest as their feet began to swell.
“They used home remedies to heal but they are now fine. It is my prayer that the President grants them an appointment to just see them for them to move back to the village,” she said.
She explained that it has been heartbreaking to watch them leave her home every morning with the hope of being granted access to Statehouse and Karen without success.
“The security who took their hand cart should hand it back to them. They have a life to go back to but they are still stranded here in the city without clothes and money for upkeep,” she said.