Demos won’t work this time, William Ruto tells Raila Odinga
President William Ruto has dared the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya coalition leader Raila Odinga to lead demonstrations over the outcome of the August 9 General Election, terming it as a move financed by cartels opposed to reforms in the coffee, tea and milk sectors.
Dr Ruto claimed Mr Odinga was determined to sabotage his administration’s efforts to revive the economy.
Speaking during inter-denominational thanksgiving service at Kerugoya Stadium in Kirinyaga County on Sunday, Dr Ruto said the opposition will not hold the country hostage to advance their selfish political interests.
“The middlemen in the tea, coffee and milk sectors have financed the protests because we have vowed to eradicate cartels. They can finance whatever they want to finance but our farmers will no longer be slaves of brokers and cartels,” Dr Ruto said.
“They cannot hold this country, hostage, again. Over the years, he (Mr Odinga) has held protests and benefited. You want to plan protests for me? Go ahead, but I will not dwell on settling issues of one person,” he added.
The President said the Azimio coalition failed to disrupt the last elections using ‘deep state’ and they have now resorted to orchestrating protests to disrupt his administration’s development agenda.
He warned the Azimio leader and his brigade against disrupting the country’s peace through blackmail and threats.
“Kenyans should not be worried. I will not allow a few people to go to a corner to plan on how to threaten us through protests to make us deviate from addressing the needs of Kenyans. They want us to cater for their interests but we are used to them. We are telling them that the end has come. Be satisfied with what you previously earned from threats before and allow us to serve Kenyans,” Dr Ruto said.
“This country will no longer be held hostage by blackmail and threats of a few people pursuing personal selfish interests at the expense of millions of people in the republic of Kenya. We will put them to shame,” he added.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua told Mr Odinga to let the President deliver on the Kenya Kwanza manifesto.
“The President is busy and Mr Odinga should stop interfering with his duties of transforming the country,” Mr Gachagua said. He accused Mr Odinga of creating false allegations that the polls were rigged in favour of Dr Ruto.
“Mr Odinga is saying he has a whistleblower who is a white man. This whistleblower is his worker and he is using him to peddle lies about the polls which we fairly won,” he said.
The DP described Mr Odinga as a man who has never been satisfied with election results.
“Mr Odinga has been rejecting the results of the polls since 1997 and he can't be trusted at all, he should be ignored,” he stated.
He claimed Mr Odinga was pushing for a handshake with Dr Ruto so that he can join the government.
“Mr Odinga coerced former President Uhuru Kenyatta and he was allowed into the government, he messed up the Jubilee government leading to the collapse of the economy. Due to Odinga's interference with Kenyatta's administration, maize flour is now selling at Sh230 up from Sh90 while the national debts shot up Sh10 trillion up from Sh2 trillion,” added Mr Gachagua.
Mr Gachagua said he will not allow Mr Odinga to destroy Dr Ruto's administration.
“As the Deputy President I have a duty to protect the President's leadership, no one will touch our President,” he said.
The tough-talking DP told the Head of State to allow them to deal with the ODM party leader whom he described as a troublemaker who has been engaged in retrogressive politics for decades.
“Don't be bothered, leave Mr Odinga to us, we will know how to handle him,” he told his boss.
Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro warned Mr Odinga against holding demonstrations to destroy businesses belonging to Kenyans.
“Hold your demonstrations, but dare not disrupt businesses,” Mr Nyoro, who is also the chairperson of the National Assembly committee on Budget, said.
“These people had the ‘system’ and ‘deep state’ but Dr Ruto defeated them in the polls. Even now they will not be able to push him around,” he said.
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru told Dr Ruto not to be worried about the planned Azimio protests.
“If they did not succeed to rig you out in the last polls, they will not do anything to you now,” Ms Waiguru said.
Tharaka-Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki and his Embu counterpart Cecily Mbarire echoed the President’s sentiments.
“I know the cartels are funding the protests, they met in Mombasa and I can reveal their names,” Ms Mbarire said.
Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza said her county is now peaceful after the DP brokered a truce between her and the local MCAs.
She revealed that she will be holding thanksgiving prayers in two months which will be graced by the Head of State.
Ugenya MP David Ochieng' told the Opposition not to participate in protests, arguing that such plans would derail the country’s economy.
“Losing an election comes with a lot of bitterness and Azimio leaders are encountering that. They should not allow their bitterness to disrupt what our President has planned for this country. We need unity and development across the country. Why did they wait for Chebukati to exit to bring these hullabaloos?” said Mr Ochieng'.
Mr Gachagua requested Dr Ruto to protect him from ‘powerful cartels’ that have infiltrated the three agricultural sub-sectors.
“The President and I have no interest in those key sectors and that is why we will manage to dismantle the cartels from the value chain. But these people are dangerous and we need protection from you Mr President. Please, Mr President, protect me because these cartels are ruthless,” Mr Gachagua said.
The Head of State reassured Mr Gachagua of his full support as he spearheaded reforms in the agricultural sector.
Dr Ruto assured Kenyans that his deputy is competent to elbow out brokers in the three agricultural sub-sectors and pledged to support him.
“Mr Deputy President, you have my very clear instructions on what you need to do. This job would have been done by my Cabinet secretaries. But you know these brokers and cartels are crooks and that is why I settled on my deputy who has the biggest rod to crack the whip on them. Deal with them firmly, you have my support,” Dr Ruto said.
The President announced that the government will remove taxation from the tea sector in the forthcoming budget and invest heavily in value addition to spur growth in the sector.
“In our next budget, we will remove taxation on tea production to start the journey of adding value to our tea. It is not logical that only five per cent of our tea is value-added 60 years after independence,” he said.
Mt Kenya leaders, led by Senate committee on Agriculture chairperson Kamau Murango, lauded Dr Ruto for tasking Mr Gachagua to spearhead critical reforms in the agricultural sector which has over the years been dominated by powerful cartels.
The Kirinyaga senator said the move by the President will ensure that farmers benefit from their farming, which they depend on to eke a living.