Deputy President William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto addresses residents of Kathonzweni township in Makueni county.

| Courtesy | DPPS

Leaders count losses over Ruto’s rallies cash pledges

Politicians allied to Deputy President William Ruto, especially in Mt Kenya, have found themselves at loggerheads with their supporters as roadside cash promises for young people, women and traders remain unfulfilled.

They include elected leaders roped in the DP’s campaign teams or hopefuls invited to the rallies to boost their chances of emerging victorious in the August election.

On November,13 last year, Thika Town MP Patrick Wainaina “Wa Jungle”, and who wants to be Kiambu governor, invited Dr Ruto to his constituency.

The DP was accompanied by several leaders including MPs Kimani Ichungwah (Kikuyu), Aden Duale (Garissa Township), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu) and former Kiambu Governor Ferdinard Waititu.

They held roadside rallies in Ngoliba, Gatuanyaga, Makongeni Posta, Thika stadium roundabout, Gatukuyu, Kairi and Kamwangi.

During the meetings, Dr Ruto promised young people and the business community cash and other goodies.

In Thika, the most populous and cosmopolitan town in Kiambu county, the DP promised to give boda bodas Sh3 million.

He later proceeded to Gatundu North and pledged Sh2 million for local traders.

The Sh5 million, he said, would be channelled through Mr Wainaina.

The event that was supposed to welcome the MP into the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), now threatens to destroy his political dreams.

Boda bodas and traders camped at his office the following morning demanding money. His pleas fell on deaf ears.

To avoid a confrontation with his would-be supporters, Mr Wainaina had to dig into his pockets.

Later, he removed the UDA campaign posters form his vehicles and has opted to run as an independent in August.

“I don’t want to talk about that. It is very annoying,” he told the Sunday Nation.

Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura took a group of Githurai 45 traders and youth to Dr Ruto’s Karen residence last month.

The DP promised the group Sh2 million that was to be split equally among the two groups.

Mr Mwaura admits that he never received the money.

“We will ensure whatever was pledged is fulfilled. Brokers now want to hijack the process,” he said yesterday.

One of the people who went to Karen said she and the others are angry at being used for political gain “by people claiming to fight for our interests”.

“Those who went to Karen were about 1,500. Senator Mwaura coordinated the whole thing. He brought 73 wheelbarrows last week. The senator and the DP must keep their word,” Pamoja Githurai Traders chairperson Peris Wambui said.

In November last year, Dr Ruto joined the worshippers at Sabasaba PCEA where he was hosted by area MP Mary Wamaua Waithira.

He promised Sh1 million for the youth that would be channelled through her. She later gave the youth her money.

Ms Wamaua has shifted to ODM leader Raila Odinga’s camp in protest. She was one of the leaders at Mr Odinga’s campaign in Thika on Sunday.

Such cases have also been reported in Western Kenya.

After the DP left Kuria East constituency two weeks ago, area MP Marwa Kitayama locked himself in his house for hours as youth and boda bodas demanded cash they claimed Dr Ruto promised them.

He diffused the situation by giving them money.

The young people also demanded Sh500 to Sh1,000 as refund for fuel used to accompany the DP to his rallies.

A lawmaker in Kilifi had to stay away from his constituency for a month following accusations of squandering money left by the DP.

Dr Ruto is said to have announced that he was giving out Sh2 million for youth and women groups but left far less than the amount.

However, Dr Ruto’s allies dismiss the reports.

Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa says the DP usually fulfils whatever he promises.

“Those are lies perpetrated by our competitors. Let them know that UDA will form the next government,” he said yesterday.

His Keiyo South colleague Daniel Rono said Dr Ruto has never failed to keep his word, terming the reports as propaganda.

“Those are baseless claims. They can never be proved,” Mr Rono said.

Belgut MP Nelson Koech said the DP usually gives cash and fulfills his pledges.

Like the Kimilili MP, Mr Koech said the claims “are being perpetrated by our political adversaries who are envious of the DP’s programmes”.

“They want to soil his name. Why are they not talking of his economic empowerment agenda?” the Belgut MP asked.

The DP has been on record asking his rivals to desist from whining about his “generosity”.

“Some people complain when I give out Sh2 million. That is a small amount. They have billions of shillings, which they have invested in London, Dubai and South Africa,” he said in Sigor, West Pokot county, on Friday.

“We will set aside Sh50 billion to elevate those at the bottom of the social strata this year.”

Additional reporting by Onyango K’O Onyango


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