President Uhuru Kenyatta’s key ally-turned-foe National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi Wednesday demanded that the Head of State tells Kenyans the reasons he fell out with his deputy William Ruto.
Mr Muturi, known to have been a close friend of President Kenyatta since even before they both joined Parliament, said President Kenyatta should not brush the matter aside as it was a weighty one.
He revealed that he had repeatedly sought answers from President Kenyatta on the same matter, in previous interactions, to no avail.
This, he said, included attempts to involve retired John Cardinal Njue to reconcile the duo.
“In January 2020, I took the trouble to look for former John Cardinal Njue to form a small team of senior clergymen to go and ask President Kenyatta the reasons for the fallout and seek to reconcile them. But they did not succeed,” said Mr Muturi.
Mr Muturi was speaking at Kitoben village in Kericho county when he represented Dr Ruto during the funeral service for the late Jane Tirop, mother of Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) party leader Isaac Ruto.
The UhuRuto frosty relations, Mr Muturi said, had seen the President lose key political allies at the tail end of his second and last term in office.
“Kenyans deserve to be told what went wrong between President Kenyatta and his Deputy (Dr Ruto). The president should come out and clear the air before he exits the stage at the end of his term. That explanation can not come from any other person other than the President,” said Mr Muturi.
He said the President should not lie to Kenyans that he disagreed with his Deputy after he (Dr Ruto) kicked off his Presidential campaigns earlier than expected,” said Mr Muturi.
“President Mwai Kibaki did not hit the roof when we started way early before the campaign window was opened, to root for a Mr Kenyatta Presidency…What is it that has changed now?” wondered Mr Muturi.
Mr Muturi, who was regarded as a key member of President Kenyatta's inner circle of personal friends and advisors, said the fallout had hurt him personally and so did a lot of other leaders and aides to the President.
After the March 29, 2018 handshake with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, he said, President Kenyatta repeatedly “lied to Kenyans.”
“He told us that the engagement had nothing to do with the 2022 general election. It is a matter that he repeated at Bomas during the unveiling of BBI,” said Mr Muturi.
“The President should tell us what happened in between as he is now the Azimio party chairman whose Presidential candidate is Mr Odinga,” Mr Muturi added.
He called on voters across the country to back Dr Ruto for the Presidency saying he was the safest bet among the candidates to fix the economy and unite the country after the poll.
The relationship between President Kenyatta and Dr Ruto has hit an all-time low with they repeatedly snubbing each other in public in total contrast to the camaraderie they enjoyed ahead of the 2012 and 2017 general election.
Dr Ruto has also been locked out of cabinet meetings, bypassed in state functions, his office has been denied funding, security officers withdrawn and he has had to watch from the sidelines as cabinet ministers who ideally work under him, represent President Kenyatta in various forums.
Leaders from Rift Valley region – Governors – Mr Josephat Nanok (Turkana), Professor Hillary Barchok (Bomet), Mr Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu) , former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto– Senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), Dr Christopher Langat (Bomet) and Mr Aron Cheruiyot (Kericho) rallied voters in the region turn out in large numbers during the election and vote for Dr Ruto.
“It is not enough for us as a people to have the numbers in the election, yet a small percentage turns up to cast their votes. This is a political fight like no other and we will ensure the voter turn-out is high,” said Mr Nanok.
Mr Ruto and Mr Mandago said the campaigns should be devoid of violence and intimidation so that the people can exercise their democratic right to vote for leaders of their choice in the August,9 poll.
They called on the residents of Rift Valley to be on the forefront in backing Dr Ruto for the Presidency, so that he can utilize the remaining one and a half months to seek votes in other regions.
Dr Ruto who is flying the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket in the Presidential race is locked in a neck-to-neck contest with Mr Odinga who is the Azimio coalition candidate.