Deputy President William Ruto has responded to a push by the clergy to reconcile him with President Kenyatta, saying he’s ready to do so “without any conditions”.
Speaking a day after Catholic bishops reiterated their calls for a truce between the two leaders, saying, their public fights were not good for the country, the DP said he welcomes a ceasefire.
“I’m very ready now that the bishops have said that they want to reconcile us with my boss... because we were elected together by Kenyans and they gave us the responsibility of running this government for a particular period of time,” the DP said yesterday.
He was addressing grassroots leaders from Kandara Constituency in Murang’a County at his official Karen residence in Nairobi. Mr Ruto reiterated that his broken relationship with the President was because of the latter’s March 2018 “Handshake” deal with opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Not seeing eye to eye
President Kenyatta and his deputy have not been seeing eye to eye of late, with the Head of State last month upping the stakes when he asked his estranged deputy to quit the government instead of criticising it from within.
The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) said on Wednesday that the disharmony between the country’s most powerful leaders bodes ill for the nation’s peace and prosperity.
“We are deeply concerned that, if this open disagreement between the President and his deputy is taken up by their supporters, the trickle-down effect it could generate across the country will be too dire to even contemplate,” the Bishops said
“We are offering ourselves once again. We have done it before. We will continue to do it and we are not tired. In the past, we have done it quietly and privately,” they said in their statement.
Premature presidential campaigns
The DP, whom the Head of State has accused of engaging in premature presidential campaigns, has blamed Mr Odinga and his opposition counterparts Wiper Democratic Movement’s Kalonzo Musyoka, Amani National Congress’ Musalia Mudavadi, and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula, for his tribulations in the Jubilee administration. He stuck to the same narrative Thursday.
“I respect the President because he is my boss. There are some people who came between us with a lot of malice until I was side-lined. Those who came with a lot of propaganda should wait until the next General Election. You cannot feel entitled to a government you did not help form,” he said.
While the DP embraced the peace talks, Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki, one of his close allies, cast doubts on the suggested truce.
“Now they want to trap the deputy President into a fake and self-serving reconciliation project after subjecting him to four long years of humiliation by his juniors in government,” Prof Kindiki posted on social media.
The push for an “UhuRuto” handshake comes barely a month after the President said the DP was insincere about his criticism of his administration, describing it as a case of “wanting to have your cake and eat it too”.
“If you’re not happy, step aside and allow those who want to move on to do so, then take your agenda to the people.
“That is what happens in a democracy. You can’t ride on what we’ve done and talk a different language on the side,” the President said in an interview.
Mr Odinga has often told the DP to quit instead of occupying the office without helping his boss to accomplish their campaign pledges. It was unprincipled of him to be using State resources to push his personal agenda.
“If you’re a person with principles, just say that things are not okay and you are not going to tolerate it,” he said in interviews with radio and television stations in Mt Kenya recently.
Mr Ruto, an outsider in his own government, has increasingly become aggressive in his tackles as he pushes back the State siege after years of playing it safe as he focuses on succeeding his boss.
When pushed to resign, the DP said that, despite the humiliation he has faced at the hands of State operatives and Mr Kenyatta’s allies, he would not retreat since he is a “man on a mission” to change governance.
“I’ve decided that I’m not going backwards, and I don’t have the luxury to surrender. We must change this country. Those that don’t have jobs must get something before we think about adding seats for the politicians,” the DP said in Taita Taveta last month.
“From the problems I’ve undergone and being despised among other things, I won’t allow my deputy to be mistreated, belittled and all that I’ve gone through; it’s not right or fair,” he said recently in an interview with Inooro FM.