NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 11 – Deputy President William Ruto has fired back at President Uhuru Kenyatta, dismissing talk on locking out two tribes which have led the country from the top since independence in an apparent reference to Ruto’s quest for the top job.
Kenyatta was answering critics who have been speaking about perceived dynasties in the country in reference to his family, that of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga whose father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga was Vice President and Senator Gideon Moi-the son of former President the late Daniel arap Moi.
President Kenyatta Saturday posed a rhetoric question saying “they have been talking about being tired of families what if I also said that two tribes (Kikuyus and Kalenjins) have held the presidency hence the need to allow others the chance.”
He spoke at the burial of the mother of Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi also attended by several leaders including Odinga.
But in quick rejoinder, Ruto said the conversation that should be sustained is about empowerment for jobless people and not which tribe should lead or has led.
“When we supported President Uhuru Kenyatta, it was not because of his tribe but agenda and programmes that promised to transform this nation,” Ruto said Sunday at a church service in Kayole, “and those who spoke yesterday some of them are the ones who were asking me telling me not to support Uhuru Kenyatta because he is a Kikuyu and I told them I am not supporting him because of his tribe but our transformational agenda.”
He said those opposed to his candidature had in 2013 told him not to support Mr Kenyatta because he was a Kikuyu.
Ruto is angling himself to seek the presidency next year when Kenyatta’s second and final term ends amid a bitter fall-out he blames on the president’s dalliance with Odinga whose handshake gave birth to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), a unity pact aimed at changing the constitution through a referendum in June to alter the governance structure.
The initiative largely opposed by Ruto and his allies seeks to introduce a new governance structure complete with the Prime Minister’s post and Leader of Official Opposition.
Ruto and his allies feels the initiative and recent political realignments in the country are aimed at isolating him and his quest for the top job.
Ruto said the BBI discussions should not only revolve around leaders and how they will share positions but empowerment and job creation for ordinary Kenyans.
Ruto said the Government was committed to finishing all the projects initiated in Nairobi County, noting the delays witnessed in some areas were occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is time we had a national conversation about everyone’s hustle, that is where the big challenge is for this country because there are millions of people out there who are struggling in life daily without jobs,” he said.
Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot said the country was in trying period as leaders retreat to their tribal cacoons.
“We should never return to that path of discrimination in terms of tribe and religion,” said Cheruiyot.
South Mugirango MP Silvanus Osoro said the language used by politicians risked taking the country in a dangerous path.
“We need to be careful on how we communicate; we are losing it,” said Osoro.
On his part, Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro critisised former Primier Raila Odinga over his constant attacks on hustler nation.
“We cannot be useful when paying taxes, when voting for you and other rich individuals, then we become useless when we request a space in decision making of this country,” he argued.
Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria said the hustler nation was not against any tribe or family as it seeks support of Kenyans in forming the next Government.
Kuria said the opponents of hustler nation had embarked on negative campaign to discredit Deputy President as witnesed in Vihiga over the weekend.
Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa warned leaders against divisive politics which was setting a bad precedent to the young generation and their ambitions.
His sentiments were echoed by Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua, Embakasi West MP George Theuri, Nyeri County MP Rahab Mukami and Embakasi North James Gakuya who said the country and its leadership need to change the political narrative of of the country.
Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura said Mt Kenya region will remain steadfast in the promise made to Deputy President.
Other leaders present were Nixon Korir (Lang’ata), Benjamin Gathiru (Embakasi Central), Stephen Ngare (Ndia), Millicent Omanga (Nominated Senator) and Nelson Koech (Belgut).
Bishop Margaret Wanjiru who has been Nominated by UDA to vie for Nairobi Gubernatorial seat by-election said it was the responsibility of leaders to address the bitting unemployment among youths.
She urged Kenyans to ignore tribal politics being advanced by those against to hustler movement.
Meanwhile, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said the President has an uphill task in uniting the country.