Quit government now, DP told as allies dig in

Deputy President William Ruto during an interview at his residence in Karen on June 24, 2021. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto’s past reflection of issues, including his strained relationship with his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta, has elicited mixed reactions from a section of leaders.

Although cagey about his dealings with the president, a straight-shooting DP painted a lonely picture of a second-in-command, but not in charge. He, however, still insisted he has not failed to deliver on any assignment.

Raila’s ally and National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohammed said Ruto is clearly operating on a different lane from his boss, and wondered why the government should be run with the two espousing different ideologies.

“This will be an interesting moment to see how Ruto operates, especially as deputy, having indicated that he is on the expressway while the president was on a normal lane,” said Junet.

The Suna East MP said he wondered why Ruto was not ready to resign when he had openly said that he was no longer in Jubilee and had moved to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

Former National Assembly Majority Leader Adan Duale said the ‘chief hustler’ ably articulated on behalf of his supporters the bottom-up economic model that has since gone international, with the United States of America (USA) adopting it.

Ruto was speaking at an event in Langalanga, Nakuru town yesterday, where he reiterated his opposition to the BBI process.

He was attending a consecration ceremony for incoming Presiding Bishop for the Full Gospel Churches of Kenya, Bishop David Macharia, where he said Kenyans’ problems do not lie in the Constitution.

“Kenyans are not fools. Those pushing for a referendum should keep off our supreme laws and come up with policies centred on the low and middle-class population,” said Ruto. 

Deputy President William Ruto. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

He further reiterated his opposition to the Jubilee-ODM merger, saying, “They shall not take us back to ODM as we watch. We shall walk with Kazi ni Kazi (United Democratic Alliance) and not vitendawili (ODM),” said Ruto. 

The DP was in the company of governors Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru), Stephen Sang (Nandi); and a host of MPs among them Kimani Ngunjiri, Silvanus Osoro, Alice Wahome, Susan Kihika, Liza Chelule, Aisha Jumwa and Joseph Tanui. 

The DP’s tour to the county comes days after he received Nakuru MPs David Gikaria and Samuel Gachobe back to his camp in a move aimed at capturing the vote-rich county. 

His allies who are opposed to the referendum called on their rivals to respect the rule of law and ensure there is a smooth transition after the elections slated for August next year. 

But ODM chairman and National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi openly challenged Ruto to prepare to lead the opposition next year.

“We are warming up to the government and he is on his way out. No problem. Let him also go and test opposition politics. We have called it quits to opposition,” Mbadi said, stating that the opposition was not a preserve of certain communities.

MPs Tom Odege (Nyatike), Jared Okello (Nyando) and Sam Atandi (Alego Usonga) said they were not cowed by Ruto’s political moves.

“Let Ruto also prepare to take over active opposition politics come 2022 General Election,” said Odege.

“But he shouldn’t speak as if he must be president,” said Okello.

The MPs vowed to market the handshake candidate once he is unveiled by the team tasked to craft the alliance fusing Jubilee and ODM, led by JP SG Raphael Tuju, vice-chairman David Murathe and ODM Director of elections Junet Mohammed, Mbadi, Senator Janet Ongera, and ODM SG Edwin Sifuna.