Azimio leaders fault Ruto over plan to probe Uhuru as Kenya Kwanza fights claim

William Ruto

 Deputy President William Ruto addressing a rally at Kithimu trading centre in Embu County on July 1, 2022.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

Deputy President William Ruto yesterday said he will allow President Uhuru Kenyatta to enjoy retirement in peace as plans by Kenyan Kwanza to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate state capture if the DP wins power in August elicited sharp reactions yesterday.

Addressing a rally in Chuka town, DP Ruto said he was not against his boss, adding that he was not competing against him.

“We have no problem with Uhuru Kenyatta, we respect him and nobody will interfere with his retirement. But I’m asking the President, with due respect, to allow me to face Mr Odinga because I am not competing with him. Uhuru Kenyatta, please, give me space I compete with Mr Odinga.”

In the Kenya Kwanza manifesto that was launched on Thursday, Mr Ruto says if he wins the next month polls, they will initiate an inquiry into state capture within 30 days and a tribunal on enforced disappearances and violation human rights. Both could potentially mean going after the President and how he ran the government.

His running mate, Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua, said they did not have such intentions. “We will not investigate Uhuru for anything. We will let him retire peacefully; we respect the Kenyatta family,” he said.

However, the UDA leaders did not state whether they will still go ahead with the commission if they win and the terms of investigations of such a team.

And yesterday, President Uhuru Kenyatta accused DP Ruto of a plan to take the country back to the old days following his proposal that he would allow an inquiry into the conduct and policies of the Jubilee administration.

Mr Kenyatta, in a veiled attack on Dr Ruto, said the suggestions were retrogressive, accusing him of constantly attacking a government that he is part of, but one whose mandate he failed to deliver on. Speaking during the celebrations to mark the 100th International Cooperative Day at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Nairobi, Mr Kenyatta said those campaigning against his government were hypocrites. 

“And that is why I get worried when I hear people just talking randomly. They had been given a job, but instead, they have decided to move around politicking. They keep promising things, yet they had the opportunity to perform. Why did they not perform then?” he said. “To build a nation, you must take it forward. And because you were given a responsibility to go forward, you must always move forward. Your job is not to constantly look at the rear view mirror and yet you have no plans on where you are headed.”

The DP has also vowed to create eight tribunals, taskforces and review panels to reverse Mr Kenyatta’s policies if he is elected.

But Mr Kenyatta dismissed the suggestions, arguing those promising Kenyans goodies were the same people who had failed to deliver on the mandate they were given. He accused the DP of making “empty promises, after he abdicated his duty”.  

“Instead of promising everyone that you would solve their problems, why did you not solve those issues earlier on?” Mr Kenyatta said.

Azimio leaders, led by Narc-K’s Martha Karua, also castigated DP Ruto for threatening to investigate Mr Kenyatta. Speaking at Ol Kalou Arboretum in Nyandarua, they vowed to protect the President, adding that the DP is the one who needs to be investigated over many issues he is accused of. The debate was triggered by Nyandarua governor Francis Kimemia, who demanded that the DP apologises, adding that the statement was in bad taste, and intended to spoil the reputation of the Head of State.

“We have had elections and presidential successions in this country but have never witnessed disrespect shown to the President by the DP; he is the one we are going to investigate when Azimio takes over,” said Mr Kimemia.

He said Kenya Kwanza is scared of a Karua-Raila Odinga presidency, hence directing its frustration to the President. Ms Karua said the utterance by the DP was unfortunate. “He was given a job to assist the President but instead started traversing the country preaching hatred against his boss. He has been very negative about a government he is part of. He must respect the President if he feels he deserves to be respected.”

In Siaya, ODM lawmakers, led by Junet Mohamed, said the plan by Dr Ruto is a recipe for chaos. Nominated legislator Maina Kamanda said Mr Ruto amounted to insult to President Kenyatta and the people from Mount Kenya region.

Reporting by Silas Apollo, Daniel Ogetta,Gitonga Marete,Alex Njeru, Simon Ciuri, Waikwa Maina and Kassim Adinasi. 

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