Deputy President William Ruto Thursday launched a scathing attack on President Uhuru Kenyatta, accusing his boss of planning to disrupt the General Election set for next Tuesday.
The Kenya Kwanza Alliance presidential candidate claimed the president was behind alleged night meetings he said were called to plot conflict ahead of the elections.
“Recently, the President met people in Nakuru and the outcome of that meeting is not good for the country apart from threats to members of my team who are leaders. What is emerging from those meetings is eventually the leaflets and pamphlets distributed warning communities in some parts of the country, the same old stuff that has taken Kenya through a lot of pain,” Dr Ruto said.
The DP did not provide any evidence for his allegations, and contacted by the Nation, Interior and Coordination of National Government Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i flatly accused the DP of lying.
“These people are inoculated against speaking the truth” Dr Matiang’i said of Dr Ruto and his running mate Rigathi Gachagua.
He added that as DP, Dr Ruto knows very well that government does not operate like a secret society as every meeting has an agenda and minutes are kept, accusing him of habitually spreading lies and falsehoods to gain sympathy ahead of the elections.
On the circulation of hate leaflets in the Rift Valley, he noted that suspects have already been arrested, wondering how the government could sponsor such activities and then arrest the perpetrators.
The nine, students of Moi University, appeared in court yesterday in connection with the distribution of hate leaflets through their WhatsApp group.
The leaflets, the court was told, warned some communities to leave Uasin Gishu County ahead of next week’s General Election if they do not vote for Kenya Kwanza candidates.
Attacks on Uhuru
Dr Ruto’s campaign has recently ramped up attacks on President Kenyatta who has abandoned him to campaign for Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
The attacks have been mainly at political rallies or through social media posts, but for the first time he called an international press conference at his Karen residence in Nairobi, underlining the gravity of the situation.
Flanked by his running mate Gachagua, Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, head of his presidential secretariat Josphat Nanok, chief election agent Gladys Shollei and former Foreign Affairs CAS Ababu Namwamba, Dr Ruto said the State machinery, with full knowledge of President Kenyatta, was behind secret schemes aimed at suppressing the voter turnout in his strongholds.
“These leaflets are not innocent. There are people known by the State behind these leaflets and the intention is to cause panic and create a situation that will ferment citizens fearing to go and vote,” the DP said.
He claimed his competitors in the Azimio coalition have sensed defeat and are bent on disrupting the election through violence, threats and intimidation.
“As Kenya Kwanza we want Director-General of the National Intelligence Service Maj Gen (Rtd) Joseph Kameru to tell the country what is going on.
“We cannot sit pretty and see the same things that happened in Kenya happen again. We committed ourselves after 2007 that we will never ever again go back to the politics of ethnicity, division and violence but there are people having realised they cannot win this election, they want to disrupt it and cause conflict.
“That is why we are calling on every state agency and our friends in the international community to speak to this matter because it is a matter of concern.”
Dr Ruto singled out Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Maalim Mohamed, County Commissioners Samson Ojwang’ (Trans Nzoia), Stephen Kihara (Uasin Gishu) and Erastus Mbui (Nakuru) as part of the negative schemes to disrupt elections in the region.
“They are the people holding night meetings to orchestrate and to plan conflict among Kenyans and unfortunately the President of Kenya is aware. We are asking His Excellency the President in his constitutional duty as the President of Kenya to ensure that the country is safe and to stop these people from planning the evil that they are planning,” said the DP.
Dr Ruto also alleged that public officials including chiefs, county commissioners and assistant county commissioners are being forced to become Azimio operatives with threats of sacking.
Dr Ruto said President Kenyatta must take immediate action against senior government officials engaging in the illegalities.
The DP singled out Dr Matiang’i and his Permanent Secretary Karanja Kibicho, accusing them of using the national government officials to engage in illegal activities.
In response, Dr Matiang’i said the government administrative and security organs work in a structured manner, from the National Security Committee and the National Security Advisory Committee down regional and county committees all the way to sub-locational level.
He said every meeting have an agenda and minutes.
He noted that in any county it would be foolish to call a secret meeting of hundreds of regional and county commissioners, chiefs, assistant chiefs and other administrators without expecting that the details would leak through phone audio and video.
Make evidence public
He challenged Dr Ruto — who he noted sits on the National Security Committee and has boasted that he receives Intelligence briefs even before the president — to make public any such evidence in his possession.
Dr Ruto had told the media conference the alleged scheme was being propagated through media houses he said were running narratives around violence and conflicts.
The DP also accused Dr Odinga’s Azimio camp of advancing the hate, accusing the coalition council members — Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and Azimio Secretary-General Junet Mohamed — of doctoring his recent speech in Eldoret to incite the public against each other.
“They openly and brazenly doctored my speech in Eldoret and posted it on their official timelines inciting the people in Rift Valley and in Kenya to violence. NCIC has never made a statement, the DCI has never taken any action and these are not simple statements that’s why we call on every Kenyan and the international community to look at the issues in their proper perspective.”
On Thursday, Mr Joho and Mr Mohamed did not comment on the DP’s claims when reached by Nation.
“We want to ask His Excellency the President to instruct the people who are forcing public officials — chiefs and their assistants — to carry out illegal activities.
“Matiang'i and Kibicho say they meet chiefs because they work with them and they are their colleagues. These two gentlemen must know there is a shortage of fools in Kenya,” the DP charged.
Meets chiefs all the time
In response, Dr Matiang’i said he meets chiefs all the time in the course of his work, noting that just this week he and Dr Kibicho had met government administrators and security teams in Kisii and Nyamira counties to receive situational updates. No politics were discussed, he insisted.
He added that soon after the 2018 elections, President Kenyatta had instructed relevant government organs to start early preparations to ensure security for the 2022 polls, on grounds that transitional elections were usually trickier than others.
On that basis, teams had been established right from the national level down to sub-locational level comprising early warning systems, security analysis, surveillance and peace committees.
On Thursday, the DP also warned the Kenya Power CEO Geoffrey Muli and the Director-General of the Communication Authority of Kenya Ezra Chiloba against being used to sabotage the elections.
“They must not participate in any sabotage of the election by switching off power and they should stand firm against any such abuse. If they do, they’ll bear the consequences individually,’ Dr Ruto said.
[email protected] Additional reporting by Macharia Gaitho