Deputy President William Ruto has termed concerns raised by Catholic bishops over the rift between him and President Uhuru Kenyatta ahead of the 2022 polls as a matter of national concern.
Reacting to the story 'Uhuru, Ruto snub Church call for talks" on Sunday Nation, the deputy president said: "Nothing could be further from the truth."
In a Facebook post on his verified page, Dr Ruto copied a letter he had written to the chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde on September 16 indicating his willingness to accept the church to mediate between the two principals.
In the letter, Dr Ruto said: "I want you, the most Reverend Bishop, to know that I'm ready and available to participate without any conditions whatsoever in any forum that you may find necessary to address and resolve these concerns."
However, speaking during the National Day of Prayer at Subukia Shrine on Saturday, the Catholic Bishops said their invitation to the two principals still stands.
"We made a very strong appeal to our leaders so that we may start forging peace from the top. That invitation still stands and we are still pursuing it. We hope that with the prayers we had today, the invitation would soon become a reality," said Archbishop Anthony Muheria.
But the Facebook post by the DP with the front page of the Sunday Nation drew mixed reactions from nearly 3,000 followers in Kenya and across the border barely 20 minutes after he posted it.
"I am a Ugandan and I used to like you, but the day I saw you befriending Dictator M7 …that is the day I gave up on you. I can predict if you win the coming elections, Kenyans will suffer," said Mr Kato Freeman.
Mr Mark Robin Muchangi posted: "Your dictatorial instincts are demonstrated by your actions and utterances. Kenyans are not ready for a dictator as a president."
Mr Walter Ke commented: "Be a man of wisdom. You told Kenyans that you're ready for reconciliation anytime with the president. The next morning you turned against your former friends saying (usidandie serikali yenye hukuunda. Serikali ni ya watu wote. (Don’t enter the government you did not form. The government is for all people). You will rule like a dictator and for this good reason, the Deep State won't allow you near the State House."
A United Democratic Alliance (UDA) supporter by the name Nyeri UDA wrote: "There are some things the President (Uhuru Kenyatta) discussed with Raila (Odinga) during the handshake which we don't know that is why he refused to reconcile with you. But don't worry, he has only one vote and please stop ignoring these small parties if they are supporting you. After nominations those who will not be satisfied will join other parties."
"Why must you be reunited with the President when you always maintain there is no rift between the two of you? Just pick up your phone and call him. Must the church be brought in to make people talk? The two of you are not children bwana (sir)," wrote Mer Edward Ogacho.
Peace loving deputy
Mr Mbuthia Gichuhi posted:" Peace-loving deputy….I promise you my vote and that of my family."
Mr Godwin Kibet wrote: "The 5th president!" while Mutaih Vinneous said:" You don't need to bother, God and Kenyans got you covered".
Mr Samm Mungai Njogu could not hide his support for ODM leader Raila Odinga and posted: "Please support Raila for President Dr Ruto. Mlima tumeamua ni Baba (the Mt region we have resolved to support Raila)."
Some followers took the opportunity to poke holes in DP Ruto's Hustler Nation slogan of bottom-up economics. General Al Wathu wrote: "University graduates do not need wheelbarrows. huwezi tupatia wheelbarrow na mtoi wako ako na chopper (you can’t give us wheelbarrows while your son has a chopper) fake hustler narrative."
Mr Edwin Ng'etich took issue with the DP development agenda in his Rift Valley backyard: "His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta warned you to stop engaging in politics and focus on service delivery to the mwananchi (citizens) See yourself now."
Mr Kiptoo Chepksiopm posted: "The boss was willing but who refused to cooperate? Your guess is as good as mine."
Mr Gret Mathai wrote: “We know they don't want Ruto to succeed but wananchi wamekwama na yeye (the system doesn't want Ruto to succeed but the citizens are behind him).