William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto gestures during a UDA party campaign rally at Caltex Kangundo Road roundabout in Embakasi West Constituency on January 12, 2022.

| Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Ruto loyalists dismiss State House meeting as inconsequential

What you need to know:

  • MPs Ndindi Nyoro and Kimani Ichung’wa were unanimous that the State House meeting should be treated as a normal political event.
  • Laikipia Woman Rep Cate Waruguru blames the President for surrendering his political authority to a group of technocrats.

Deputy President William Ruto’s loyalists in Mt Kenya have downplayed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s meeting with elected Handshake backers from the region at State House in Nairobi today.

They described the meeting as divisive, saying it will not heal the wide political rifts in Mt Kenya and that it will not change their feelings about “Hustler Nation”.

“The President is rightfully within his powers to meet those he deems fit to. But this being an electioneering season, his meetings are bound to stir political waters,” said Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata. 

“When he is seen to favour some wing in Mt Kenya and overlooks the other, politically, that is inculcating divisions.”

He said he misses the good old days when Mt Kenya used to be rallied behind one cause by President Kenyatta “to a point that we braved the challenges of voting him in three times in his two-term presidency”.

Mr Kang’ata said “we voted for him when he was shackled by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2013, voted for him under fierce pressure by Mr Raila Odinga in 2017 and even when the courts nullified his win, we came out again more determined to have him win”.

The President remains the region’s statesman even with his looming retirement, said Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri, and he should be left to conclude his term in whatever way that makes him happy.

Uhuru's political game

“The President has decided to desert his longtime friends in politics. That is very normal and should not be construed to mean there is a political tragedy looming over our heads,” he said. 

“We have all along learnt to live with his designs. We are all in the political kitchen cooking what to be shared after the 2022 polls. The President has his pot and (those of us) he has secluded have our pot. We will eventually lay the food on the table and our voters will smell the sweetest, which necessarily need not be the President’s.” 

Mr Ngunjiri said that what is important as the President “divides” the region “is for all of us to realise we have a future to hold on to and aspirations to pursue — decisions that are individual and need not be necessarily dictated by the president”.

Naivasha MP Jane Kihara said “we are now content with the way our President is playing his political game and we should give him his peace to try his luck”.

Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro and his Kikuyu counterpart Kimani Ichung’wa were unanimous that the State House meeting should be treated as a normal political event.

“It is not the first time the President is overlooking the majority in the Mt Kenya region…We have now become immune and we are looking forward to the real meeting (at the ballot) come August 9,” Mr Ichung’wa said. 

“That is where Mt Kenya will speak. All these other meetings you see in hotels and State House are personal ceremonies.”

The President, said Laikipia Woman Rep Cate Waruguru, surrendered his political authority to a group of technocrats who have been misleading and shaming him in the eyes of the public.

UDA ideologies

“They have been telling the President that all is well on the ground. Even when the President has been moving from one by-election defeat into the other in his backyard, the advisers have been telling him that (Dr Ruto is to blame,” she said.

“Instead of wanting to know how this Dr Ruto has managed to run away with a majority of the voters, he is still being pushed to work against the grain.”

“We have no problem with Uhuru’s meeting with Azimio MPs because he had decided to work with ODM and we have no objection. We have no business with that meeting and even if we had ours, we could not invite him. Let them prepare and strategise as we do the same. It would be prudent if he had kept off from trying to influence his succession,” said Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi

Aldai MP Cornelius Serem said: “The meeting has confirmed that Jubilee has been swallowed by ODM. Secondly, the President should respect the law. He cannot advance interests of other parties while we are the legitimate members of Jubilee. He is busy advancing the interest of other parties against the law.” 

“In the same manner we do not interfere with him when embracing ODM, he should have no problem with us propagating ideologies of UDA. Secondly, the majority of those MPs are ODM and Wiper. There could be only about 26 Jubilee MPs. In short it's ODM Parliamentary Group (PG),” said Turkana North MP Christopher Nakuleu.  

Garissa Township MP Aden Duale said: “I can’t sit in the same table for lunch with the same people who have oppressed us in the last three years.”

The remaining time before the elections, Mr Kang’ata said, cannot afford those in Dr Ruto’s camp the comfort of lamenting that they have been left out of the meetings at State House.