Ruto allies reveal why he won’t step down as Deputy President

William Ruto and Ferdinard Waititu

Deputy President William Ruto chats with former Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu during a Kenya Kwanza campaign rally in Murang'a County on March 20, 2022. 

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media

What you need to know:

  • President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga have urged the DP to resign from post.
  • Sources say the DP fears losing access to intelligence reports and state perks. 


Deputy President William Ruto won’t be stepping down anytime soon, despite numerous calls to do so from President Kenyatta and Azimio la Umoja flagbearer Raila Odinga.

Sources at his presidential campaign secretariat say the DP fears losing access to intelligence reports and state perks that keep him as the second-in-command even though he remains a stranger in his own government.

The DP claims resignation is an act of cowardice and betrayal to the millions of Kenyans who voted for him. 

“His is a constitutional office whose term expires when a new holder is elected,” said Dr Ruto’s director of communication Emmanuel Talam. The DP gets access to information on the ratings of his opponents, their plans and their campaign schedules. He also sits in the nine-member National Security Council.

The constitution mandates the council to “exercise supervisory control over national security organs”. It has the mandate to oversee and appraise the objectives, commitments and risks to Kenya regarding actual and potential national security capabilities. These are the privileges that Dr Ruto’s allies are saying they cannot let go of.

“The DP gets intelligence reports, which is good for him. Security is very important; we will, therefore, continue being in that office. We will milk all the benefits up to the last minute,” said Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa.

“We were invited by Kenyans to that office and we will sit there until the final hour,” he added. The DP’s office remains active, but with significantly reduced activity at Harambee House Annex. Focus has shifted to his official residence in Karen, where he often receives political delegations.

When President Kenyatta banned political rallies to stop the spread of Covid-19, Dr Ruto retreated to his residence, nicknamed “Hustlers’ Mansion”, from where he hosted hundreds of delegations.

Nominated MP Gideon Keter said Jaramogi Oginga Odinga’s decision to resign as vice President just after independence was an act of cowardice.

“That’s being courageous and wise, knowing that if I stay here, I will represent the aspirations of other people. When I am here, I am able to be a good watchman. He is there for us. The DP is using what he has in hand to fight the battle which lies before him,” he said.

The DP is protected by the Presidential Escort Unit. The unit protects the President, the deputy, the first family, visiting heads of state and any other VIPs as directed by the Inspector-General of Police.

The DP has also access to the G-Company of the General Service Unit, which guards all his residences and the elite Recce Squad which, alongside the Presidential Escort, forms his personal security. Jubilee director of elections Kanini Kega, who’s the Kieni MP, said Dr Ruto has refused to walk out because he stills wants to use state resources.

“The DP is still in office to enjoy the perks. He has 300 security officers. All the vehicles he has are fuelled by the government. The government paid for the tour of the US and the UK. There is no way he can resign because he is enjoying privileges knowing well that he is not working, but campaigning,” he said.

“Intelligence reports have shown him that he won’t win. He wants to stay in office to have access to such information,” he added. Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu said the political capacity of the DP is built around his office. Were he to leave office, his ability to run a presidential campaign would take a major hit, he argued.

“His meetings are in his official residence. His logistics are covered by his official budget. His operational capacity is supported by his office infrastructure,” said Mr Wambugu. But Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata said although the DP enjoys the privileges of his office, they do not render any sufficient incentives.

“One resigns if he is unhappy. The DP is not unhappy. He understands the journey to the presidency was never meant to be simple and easy. Even the Bible says the road to destruction is smooth and wide. So whatever was happening to him was expected and he prepared himself adequately,” he said.

Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono added: “Why should he resign? His term ends when a new holder comes in, he must serve the people who gave him the mandate.”

Speaking at Chatham House in London last Wednesday, Mr Odinga said it was hypocritical for the DP to criticise the government, but at the same time use its resources.

“When the DP came here, he spent over Sh100 million. He is travelling with government security. I had to pay my fare to come and meet my people here. None [of my entourage] has been paid by the government like him. He travels with government officials. He cannot be [both in] opposition [and] government,” he said.