Ruto allies: Uhuru turned Madaraka Day fete to Azimio campaign rally

Ruto in Kiambu

Deputy President William Ruto during Hustlers Cup football tournament finals at PCEA Thirime Primary School in Kikuyu Constituency on June 1, 2022.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote I Nation

Deputy President William Ruto led Kenya Kwanza Alliance has hit out at President Uhuru Kenyatta for snubbing the DP during yesterday's Madaraka Day celebrations, accusing the President of turning a national event into an Azimio campaign platform.

Speaking during a football tournament in Kikuyu, Kiambu County immediately after the national event, the leaders admonished the President for what they said was abuse of authority and office by reducing a national holiday into a platform to settle scores.

Dr Ruto, in a veiled reference to yesterday's incident, said political battles should not lead to enmity as “we can compete but still remain friends.”

While the DP appeared to skirt around the issue, his allies were pointed in their comments.

Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetang'ula went bare knuckle on President Kenyatta for humiliating his deputy, saying the Head of State's gesture amounted to an abuse of authority and a bloat to Kenya's image to the outside world.

He accused President Kenyatta of going against his pledge of being a pacifist outgoing president who will watch as Kenyans decide who their next president will be.

"Mr President, you said you are on your way home and I believed you meant what you said. But what I witnessed at Uhuru Gardens was abuse of authority, a terrible show and a bloat to the integrity and image of our country. You turned a hallowed national day into Azimio campaign tool," said Mr Wetang’ula.

He reprimanded the President for humiliating his deputy by not recognising him leaving the task to a visiting president.

"A visitor from West Africa knows Kenya has a deputy president yet our president does not know he has a deputy," said the senator.

The Madaraka Day celebrations were attended by Sierra Leone President, Julius Maada Bio.

Mr Wetang’ula, nonetheless, said Kenya Kwanza government will hold the office of the president and all other constitutional offices with respect and dignity.

"We will not embarrass or humiliate anyone or treat leaders without dignity because that is below what we expect of a nation," the Bungoma senator said.

Mr Wetangula went on to hit at the Commander in Chief accusing him of engaging in a monologue of self-aggrandisement while enumerating his legacy.

"Mr President, I also listened to you carefully and I can only conclude that you don't live in Kenya because all the things you said are not what Kenyans know or approve of. Coming Madaraka Days will be public holidays of dignity and telling Kenyans the truth," he said.

Taking the cue, Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro said the President had erred.

"We saw how you mistreated at your deputy at Uhuru Gardens. But this is your last day doing that. He will get his chance come August," he said.

The lawmaker accused the government through Interior Principal Secretary Dr Karanja Kibicho of laying ground for disputing outcome of August 9 polls by resorting to releasing "fake" National Intelligence Service (NIS) polls showing Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga leading.

"We know you are setting the stage for your project to reject results come August through your NIS opinion polls. You are trying to lay grounds for him but we want to tell you that there will be no handshake once we defeat him. We will also not entertain any violence but take him to Bondo on a wheelbarrow," said Mr Nyoro. 

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria asked Mr Odinga to publicly commit to accept results if he loses come August.

"We will not allow any plot to steal elections come August," said nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura.

The tournament was organised by Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichungwa and was also attended by ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruyoit, Dagoretti South MP John Kiarie, William Kabogo, Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi, among other leaders.