I am here to stay, DP Ruto tells critics as resignation calls rage

Uhuru and Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto (left) and President Uhuru Kenyatta. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Deputy President William Ruto said Saturday he would not resign amid a chorus of calls to quit the government for his apparent rebellion against President Uhuru Kenyatta.

He said he would continue working with the President to ensure the realisation of their shared agenda and vision for Kenyans.

Dr Ruto, whom President Kenyatta on Friday told to resign if he was unhappy in government, reiterated his respect for the President and his decisions.

Speaking at a fundraiser in aid of several churches in Ngaremara in Isiolo County, the deputy president said although he had been relieved of some duties, which are now being performed by “other people,” he would diligently discharge any assignments allocated by his boss.

“I am a respectful person and there is no contest between me and President Uhuru Kenyatta. When we went to look for votes, we had a common agenda, vision, manifesto and plan for Kenya and that is what we want to achieve,” he said.

“I will continue respecting decisions of the President because he is the one in charge. I will not undermine his decisions.”

Isiolo leaders among them Governor Mohamed Kuti, Senator Fatuma Dullo, MPs Hassan Odha and Abdi Koropu of Isiolo North and South and Nominated Senator Abshiro Halake gave the event a wide berth.

Only the area MCA Ekwam Teru attended the event.

Deputy President William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto addresses Isiolo County's residents at Kiwanja in Ngaremara on February 13, 2021.

Photo credit: Waweru Wairimu | Nation Media Group

Raila Odinga

The DP accused ODM leader Raila Odinga of bringing confusion in the ruling party and told him to tell Kenyans whether he was in government or the opposition.

“These people who have joined us in Jubilee should tell us if they are in government or opposition. They should choose to either stay with us and remain silent or quit because you cannot have your cake and eat it,” he said.

“You can’t say you are with us and then ask about laptops and stadiums and claim that Jubilee has done nothing. The Jubilee administration’s records are clear. We have constructed the railway, we have done 7,000km of roads, five million Kenyans connected to electricity and more than 140 technical training colleges. If you can’t see what the Jubilee administration has done and you’re using your partnership with us to undermine our government, it’s time to exit.”

Dr Ruto reiterated the need for unity among Kenyans, saying he is ready to work with people from all walks of life.

Tangatanga leaders who accompanied the DP asked him to remain silent and do his job.

Ruto in Isiolo

Deputy President William Ruto joins Turkana men and women in a dance at Kiwanja in Ngaremara during his tour of Isiolo County on February 13, 2021.

Photo credit: Waweru Wairimu | Nation Media Group

Political temperatures

Turkana North MP Christopher Nakuleo said President Kenyatta’s call for his deputy to resign was likely to divide the country and raise political temperatures.

“We the hustler nation are supporting Dr Ruto despite the insults but we should remain silent,” said Mr Nakuleo.

Garissa Women Rep Anab Gure and MPs John Paul Mwirigi (Igembe South), Josphat Kabeabea (Tigania East) and Mugambi Rindikiri of Buuri said the President should honour the 10:10 promise he made during campaign time.

Mr Mwirigi said Kenyans should not allow anyone to give them political direction in 2022 but pick the leaders of their choice.

“No leader has more than one vote and let us not wait for political direction but decide for ourselves come 2022,” he said.

DP Ruto booed in Isiolo by youths chanting pro-BBI slogans

Big Four agenda

Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa asked President Kenyatta to concentrate on the Big Four agenda and let MPs and MCAs commission water projects and issue bursaries.

The legislator asked Mr Kenyatta and his Handshake brother Raila Odinga to allow Kenyans to make their decisions on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

“They have said the BBI is for the benefit of Kenyans and therefore no need to popularise it. They should allow Kenyans make their decisions and not coerce them,” she said.

In a record four times, at the very start and then at different stages of his speech, the DP reminded the crowd how he and Mr Kenyatta toured the entire country in a vote-hunting mission that culminated in the formation of their current administration.

Ruto in Isiolo

Deputy President William Ruto is installed as a Turkana elder at Kiwanja in Ngaremara during a tour of Isiolo County on February 13, 2021.

Photo credit: Waweru Wairimu | Nation Media Group

Tactical retreat

Dr Ruto’s sentiments gave credence to reports that he had instructed his Tangatanga troops to beat a tactical retreat in the height of souring relations with President Kenyatta.

The Nation has established that in a meeting with his allies at his Karen home on Monday he instructed them not to lose focus on his 2022 State House bid.

Isolated in government and staring at what would be an anti-establishment race in 2022, Dr Ruto alluded that there are plans by certain forces to bar the party from running.

Saturday, Jubilee Deputy Secretary-General Caleb Kositany — who is the DP’s de-facto spokesman — asked his Tangatanga colleagues to desist from responding to what the Head of State said on Friday, arguing that the ‘turbulence’ will be short-lived.

“My advice to team Tangatanga is that the unfortunate remarks made by the President do not require any reply at all. Let’s restrain ourselves as we have always done. The turbulence is strong when you are about to land, and landing we shall,” said the Soy MP.

Mr Kositany has been on record saying that they have decided that in any war, there are casualties hence there is no need of countering moves initiated by those allied to the Head of State.

“The power they are using was given to them by God and people but it is coming to an end…those being intimidated and harassed, we have decided that we have to sacrifice, in any battle, there are always casualties but the majority will survive,” he said.

“We are not cowed by threats and intimidation… we will continue watching them from afar.”

Stop character assassination

The second-in-command requested his troops to desist from character assassination but focus on their empowerment programmes and his presidential quest.

“Why should we insult the President and he is retiring hence he’s not our competitor? Even Raila, who is our competitor… there is no need of insulting him because he will be looking for votes just like us,” said Turkana North MP Christopher Nakileau.

South Mugirango MP Sylvanus Osoro told the Nation: “Our directions are that we maintain the focus and ignore temptations of attacking Uhuru and Raila. We have a bigger role in helping hustlers than attacking personalities.”

Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono also confirmed to the Nation that Dr Ruto said the battle over the control of the ruling Jubilee Party is no longer tenable hence the focus should be on alternative parties.

“DP asked us to work together all the time and continue to preach the gospel of the ‘hustler nation’ and let people understand what it means. He also asked us not to attack anyone,” he said.

Power plan

Already, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), associated with the DP’s camp, has crafted its power plan, including grassroots elections in April and defections from Jubilee three months to next year’s elections.

The lawmakers want to stage a mass exodus in May 2022, when the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) cannot call a by-election in case of expulsion from the party.

Besides UDA, the DP’s camp has also lined up six other political parties, with the view that they continue to exist independently, as opposed to the 2016 grand Jubilee plan that saw the merger of 12 political parties to form the monolith that rode President Kenyatta to his second and final term.

The other parties are former Agriculture Cabinet secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri-led The Service Party, New Democrats associated with former Marakwet West David Sudi, People’s Empowerment Party linked to Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria as well as United Green Party and Grand Dream Development Party, which have all been fully registered.

Additional reporting by Onyango k’Onyango