Why DP Ruto wants Raila to apologise over graduates remarks

William Ruto and Raila Odinga.

Deputy President and Kenya Kwanza Presidential aspirant William Ruto (left) and Azimio Coalition flagbearer Raila Odinga.

Deputy President William Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza Alliance brigade have demanded an apology from Azimio la Umoja flagbearer Raila Odinga for what the DP said was "belittling graduate hustlers and their start-ups."

Dr Ruto while campaigning in Murang'a County together with his running mate Rigathi Gachagua accused Mr Odinga of having contempt for start-ups.

“Raila has shown his lack of understanding on how hard work and enterprise are related and he holds it that one should start from the top right from day one of entering the income bracket," Dr Ruto said.

Dr Ruto posed: "If he can show such contempt to graduates who are out to earn an honest living as they explore other opportunities, how will his administration be to the lowly?"

While addressing a campaign rally in Narok on Sunday, Mr Odinga had narrated how he recently ate fish in a Nairobi joint run by a graduate.

"I will ensure that when I form the next government I will make sure graduates get befitting jobs. I will ensure I make them gain meaningful engagements," Mr Odinga said.

However, speaking separately in his constituency, Gatanga MP Nduati Ngugi said Mr Odinga's words were taken out of context and were being manipulated to demean him.

"His words were a lamentation about joblessness that leads our graduates to take up jobs that would have been reserved for the lowly placed. Mr Odinga certainly was expressing a very genuine concern that drives graduates to work in fields that voluntarily and under normal circumstances would not be their choice," Mr Ngugi explained.

Mr Ngugi said Kenya Kwanza consists of convoluted minds that for the greed of votes, can manipulate any situation to mislead Kenyans.

"We are used to them...they are the very same people who have been going around the country misleading people that the Jubilee government and President Uhuru Kenyatta have not delivered development in the country.”

Motivate graduates

He said that he was of the opinion that instead of demanding an apology from Mr Odinga, the Deputy President should use the remaining months of his term to help the government come up with an employment policy that will motivate graduates that there is hope beyond the graduation ceremony.

Dr Ruto asked Mr Odinga to abandon the quest for the presidency "and instead surrender so that we can onboard him on our wheelbarrow and ferry him to take rest in his Bondo home village."

Dr Ruto said the country needs a president who is sensitive to the hardships majority of Kenyans undergo before they break even or meet their turning points.

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung'wa said he is a living testimony that a graduate can make more money in menial jobs than in fields of skill.

"I graduated and the available work for me was casual engagement in companies. I later sold meat in Kikuyu town and that is where I made my first million. Mr Odinga should know there is real opportunity in all opportunities and not all of us have godfathers to push us into the creamy ways of life," he said.

Maragua MP Mary wa Maua said Mr Odinga had made many parents feel sad.

"The many parents that we have who are struggling to encourage their graduates in casual jobs to remain hopeful and optimistic," she said.

"We want a president who has tasted real poverty; who has struggled to be who he is today. Someone who will not spite a livelihood on account of its smallness. Smallness can be big," she said.

Mr Gachagua said, "Mr Odinga words were very unfortunate and they are cause for mourning especially in Mt Kenya where we are known to do all jobs that can help us feed ourselves and our families."

Threaten their profitability

He said the Kenya Kwanza Alliance government will support all legally founded ventures and liberate them from the threats that threaten their profitability.

In Kiambu, the DP promised to ensure that persons with disabilities are the first to receive a government stipend, even before salaried government employees are paid.

Speaking during a Kiambu County economic forum at the Jumuia Conference Centre in Limuru, the DP said there should be a priority on how those who are disabled receive their share.

There have been delays in paying the monthly stipends to the elderly and vulnerable people through a government-backed stimulus programme where the latter receive between Sh2,500 to Sh4,500 to supplement their income.

“Under my government, people with disabilities will be the first to be paid their stipend before anyone else because they are more deserving,” Dr Ruto said.

The high cost of living, stringent and limited access to credit by the emerging entrepreneurs dominated the forum where locals complained that high interest rates were weighing them down in their quest to start and expand their businesses.

The high cost of agricultural and animal feeds also dominated the forum where locals decried that despite Kiambu being an agricultural county, locals have started diversifying into other income-generating ventures because the input was not equivalent to the output.

Another factor was pending bills where businessmen and women claimed that Kiambu County had not been paying its bills on time and this was hurting the contractors from refinancing their loans from the bank.

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