William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto during a media briefing at his Karen residence on August 21, 2021.

| Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Ruto under siege: Uhuru ministers now train guns on DP

What you need to know:

  • Without mentioning names, Dr Matiang’i likened Dr Ruto’s ‘Hustler Nation’ politics to that of warmonger and genocidaire Adolf Hitler of Germany.
  • Ruto allies say this is part of Uhuru’s scheme to show that his deputy does not have his blessings or support.

Deputy President William Ruto is a man under siege from both his juniors in the government and allies of his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta, even as he vows to stay put in the Jubilee administration.

In what seems to be a coordinated attack, Cabinet secretaries, some of whom had shied away from directly confronting the second-in-command have recently come out guns blazing, criticising the DP and his politics. 

Interior CS Fred Matiang’i, Peter Munya (Agriculture), Joe Mucheru (ICT), Keriako Tobiko (Environment), Eugene Wamalwa (Devolution), Mutahi Kagwe (Health) and Raphael Tuju (CS without portfolio) have all come out to attack the DP.

The recent one is this week’s uncharacteristic jibe aimed at the DP by Mr Mucheru, before Dr Matiang’i on Wednesday went even further, both during a National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) youth conference in Limuru.

Without mentioning names, Dr Matiang’i likened Dr Ruto’s ‘Hustler Nation’ politics to that of warmonger and genocidaire Adolf Hitler of Germany.

“Hitler during the campaign in Germany, told Germans to give him five years and he will give them a different Germany. And he actually gave them a seriously different Germany because he slaughtered the Jews, gas chambers and so on. Hitler moved around sweeping the country, taking advantage of poverty and weaponising the poverty of the people and then now using it as a platform. Let's not fall trap to things that are not true and are not realistic,” Dr Matiang’i said. 

This came after a similar attack from Mr Mucheru, who said Dr Ruto was targeting the vulnerable in the society with his ‘Hustler’ narrative and bottom-up economic model.

Incessant humiliations

He said: "The main problem, as I see it, is that these churches have been silenced by massive donations from politicians, who have then been gifted with the pulpit to preach the gospel of division and to nudge citizens towards a class war. These Bible-waving politicians have especially targeted the youth because they think – wrongly – that youth are gullible and easy to manipulate." 

And according to the DP’s allies, the Cabinet secretaries coming out in public to attack the DP was part of a scheme by President Kenyatta to manage his succession by showing that his deputy does not have his blessings or support.

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said ultimately, the target is to push the DP to resign or take on his boss head on.

“From the beginning of the second term, there seems to have been a change of mind on the part of the President. He wanted to manage succession in the manner in which he wanted to manage it. This is why you see CSs like Mucheru, Munya, Karanja Kibicho and Matiang’i insulting the DP so as to frustrate him to either announce in public that he would resign or take the president head-on, but it is not working,” said Mr Murkomen, who was sacked as senate majority leader for associating with Dr Ruto.

The DP’s troops have been on record saying that the incessant humiliations meted out on Dr Ruto by those they have described as junior officials can only be dealt with if the Head of State gives a direction but his continued silence means that he has sanctioned such ‘mistreatments’.

Yesterday, Soy MP Caleb Kositany, who is considered the DP’s de-facto spokesperson, said the continued attacks on the DP by his juniors is part of the broader scheme by President Kenyatta to portray his deputy in a negative way so as not to be voted in come next year’s polls.

Political ambitions

“All their schemes have failed. They started by calling for lifestyle audits, called us Tangatanga, weaponised war on graft, hence calling us thieves. They also said Ruto would not be on the ballot in 2022 and came up with the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI); all these have failed. Now, they have resorted to insults, it will fail also,” said Mr Kositany.

The Soy MP claimed the government officials who have been insulting the DP in public are individuals with political ambitions out to gratify President Kenyatta.

“Some of these CSs will be going for elective seats in 2022, we welcome them to the political arena and that is when we’ll know who actually has the power. They are enjoying power at the courtesy of the people who voted for Uhuruto. Let them stop competing in pleasing their master on who can insult Ruto more than the other. They do not bother us at all,” said Mr Kositany. 

However, allies of the President have defended the Cabinet secretaries, saying the DP has betrayed his colleagues in the Cabinet warranting the attacks.

“His Cabinet colleagues are basically calling him out as unprincipled, untrustworthy and two-faced. He is supposed to be one of them, working in tandem to deliver for this government and support it. Its leader, the President, is shielding it under the principle of collective accountability. However, he (Ruto) is the one out there leading the attack on the government -- that he sits in -- while still continuing to enjoy the benefits and perks that come with his position,” said Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu.

He went ahead: “It is really very cowardly of him, actually. But anyway, what do we expect from someone who thinks they can have their cake, and eat it too. I think the Cabinet has given up on the DP.”

Disrespecting Ruto

Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono, another Ruto ally, accused the Cabinet secretaries of trying to clip the DP’s State House bid.

“The likes of Matiang’i, Mucheru, Munya and others have been sent. They are on a mission to vilify the DP and try to trim his political influence,” said Mr Rono.

Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata, another Ruto ally, warned the Cabinet secretaries against disrespecting DP Ruto, saying they do not know what the future holds.

“As Hustler Nation, we respect freedom of expression for every Kenyan, Cabinet secretaries included. That freedom includes the right to criticise our side. However, it's not strategic or advisable for a CS to take such an approach, for no one knows the possible outcome of 2022,” he said.

The Head of State, through Executive Order Number 1 of 2019 appointed Dr Matiang’i the chairperson of the National Development Implementation and Communication Cabinet Committee (NDICCC), pushing the DP to the periphery. 

“They (CSs and other senior officials) need to heed Otto Bismarck’s counsel when he said a statesman’s task is to lie low awaiting hearing God's footsteps marching through history, and to try and catch on to his coattails as he marches past,” Senator Kang’ata added.

To remain politically afloat and push his 2022 presidential quest, DP Ruto has turned to inspection of projects at constituency level initiated by his allies to popularise his development record and what he intends to achieve if elected president.