Take a stand to fight for your issues, Ruto tells Church on polls

William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto during the Nyamira Economic Forum at Nyamaiya Stadium in Nyamira County on May 5, 2022.

Photo credit: Ondari Ogega | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Deputy President urges the clergy to support his bid because he has their interests at heart.
  • The DP argued that taking a firm political stand will be the right thing to do for the Church.

Deputy President William Ruto has asked the Church to take a stand on the August 9 presidential race pitting him against Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party candidate Raila Odinga.

The Kenya Kwanza Alliance leader told the clerics that politics is about interests and the Church, an institution he said had its own interests as well, cannot afford to remain neutral.

The DP argued that taking a firm political stand will be the right thing to do for the Church in order to protect its interests.

“I know there is a lot of threats and blackmails but I believe you will not be neutral but take a stand. Politics is about interests and the church has its own interests just like everyone else. You vote for your interests,” said Dr Ruto yesterday during a prayer breakfast meeting with the clergy at his Karen home in Nairobi.

The United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party leader accused the current government, led by President Uhuru Kenyatta and supporting his opponent, of harbouring a disdain for the church.

Seeking to sway the clerics, he impressed upon them to resolve to work with his camp, which, he said, has been vocal and public about fighting for the Church to occupy its rightful place in the country.

He assured them that he will not advocate for the closure of smaller churches, as his competitors have said publicly, but instead introduce a special tax regime for religious institutions .

“When the Church steps forward and says we want to entrust our interests to the next government, it is the right thing to do. I don’t have to scrutinise the interest of the Church because they are my interest. For the first time, we will have the interest of the Church on the table,” he said.

The UDA boss assured the Church and his supporters that they should not fret over talks of “deep state” and “the system” stealing their victory, saying, the Kiambaa by-election showed that the shadowy institutions cannot overturn “what God has ordained”.

He pointed out that John Njunguna Wanjiku was able to capture the seat even though Jubilee Party had a formidable candidate in Kariri Njama as well as “the system and deep state and everything you need to win an election” on their side.

“Our candidate was a late entrant and had only 10 percent of the votes but God used the elections to answer the fears of the deep state and system. So have no fear, the system and the deep state will not steal our victory,” said Dr Ruto.

“We already have evidence that they don’t have the capacity to do it. They would have done it in Kiambaa. We may have formidable opponents but we believe that by God, we will win this election,” he added.

Taking the cue from the DP, Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua said the Church cannot afford to be a spectator anymore but must be part and parcel of determining the destiny of the country as they are also stakeholders.

“You cannot stare at danger and do nothing. As much as we pray, we must also do something. On top of praying, guide your flock appropriately. Everyone knows in whose hands between the two presidential competitors the church is safe,” said Mr Rigathi.

The lawmaker criticised Mama Ida Odinga over her remarks that mushrooming small churches should be regulated because they were a risk to the society. He said the Church should make its decision with her statement in mind.

“The wife of our competitor said that small churches will be shut down if her husband takes over. We cannot just sit seeing somebody sharpening a sword and wait,” he said.

Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi asked the Church to ensure a vote for Dr Ruto on August 9 “so that Kenya can move forward as a peaceful and united nation”.

“We want a decisive win for Dr Ruto so that you save money for that guy who likes going to court,” said Mr Mudavadi.

Drumming up support for Dr Ruto, Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula argued that the challenges the country has gone through in the last three years require a pious man to give the country a new direction and set it on the path to renewal and regeneration.

“Pray for a peaceful elections and also for President Kenyatta to free his mind from the biases he has been exhibiting and fear of the unknown that he appears to harbour,” said the Bungoma senator.