William Ruto brigade rejoices at Uhuru Kenyatta ‘move to avoid’ poll campaigns

William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto and his running mate Rigathi Gachagua acknowledge greetings from wananchi at Karatina town during a Kenya Kwanza campaign rally on May 21, 2022. 

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

The Kenya Kwanza Alliance yesterday thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for choosing to keep off Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance campaigns in Mt Kenya, saying they would have been forced to take him head-on. However, Jubilee MPs have said the President will still visit the region in June and July.

Kenya Kwanza Alliance lieutenants were speaking in Murang'a County, where their presidential flag-bearer William Ruto presided over an economic forum to receive recommendations from area residents on how to reinvigorate the region's economy.

"We will teach them a lesson that will once and for all rest their pride, spite and high-headedness," Dr Ruto said.

 He said he stands for real economic emancipation of the Mt Kenya region "to bring back your pride of rewarding industry".

He said his government would provide an enabling environment through “people-driven kitties, subsidies, eased taxation regimes, extension services and sound governance structures”.

Dr Ruto's running mate, Rigathi Gachagua, said they appreciate the decision to keep off campaigning for Azimio's presidential aspirant Raila Odinga as he would have left them with no option but to campaign in a manner that would expose the head of state to disrespect.

“The presence of the President in the campaigns was giving Dr Ruto campaigns strategists a hard time trying to balance between respecting him and countering his presence," he said.

“We can now breathe a sigh of relief even when Mr Odinga chose one of our daughters, Ms Martha Karua, to be his shield.

“Even for her, we will devise a way to tackle Mr Odinga without fouling her... we will get a way that will not harm her as we target our common opponent.

“And that is why we will do all possible to remain respectful to both of them but never letting their eyes off Mr Odinga.”

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and his Kiharu counterpart Ndindi Nyoro said there was no way Ms Karua can help Mr Odinga conquer Mt Kenya. “It is not by accident that in all times that Mr Odinga contested the presidency (1997, 2007, 2013 and 2017), Mt Kenya never voted for him. We have not been opposed to him because of Uhuru Kenyatta...The reasons are based on his brand of politics. Those reasons have not changed and on August 9, we will wake up to go and vote against him," Mr Kuria said.

 Mr Nyoro said, “They are resorting to rhetoric of threatening to steal the vote...but we dare them to try...Hustlers are not your ordinary buddies to play foul with."

 Other leaders who accompanied Dr Ruto are National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Amani National Congress party leader Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Maendeleo Chap Chap's Dr Alfred Mutua and local aspirants.

Agribusiness, Jua Kali enterprise and industries remained the cited key to unlocking Murang'a County's 600,000 votes to the two main competitors for the August 9 General Election—Dr Ruto and Mr Odinga. Residents proposed review of coffee, tea, dairy and livestock sectors with a view to increase net returns. Mr Odinga had received similar recommendations on January 29 when he toured the region.

The region has articulated its case to the two formations that for its residents to enjoy improved quality of life, income-generating ventures must be promoted. Dr Ruto yesterday promised to assign the county its share of the Youth Enterprise Fund, as well as small and medium enterprises revolving fund within 100 days in office. Mr Odinga received a memorandum also demanded industries to help in value addition, employment and increase in returns.

He promised to partner with area private sector to actualise the request. Dr Ruto endeared himself, saying he is the only one with the commitment and desire to actualise economy growth.

But in her ongoing tours of Mt Kenya, Ms Karua, who toured Murang'a on Friday, said the promises Dr Ruto is airing were contained in the Big Four agenda—universal health coverage, industrialisation, affordable housing and food security—programmes that Mr Kenyatta launched.

"We are for continuity of the programmes in various stages of implementation. Those promising you the same things they stopped helping the government to implement and instead launched greedy power grab campaigns are being insincere," Murang'a Woman Rep Sabina Chege, accompanying Ms Karua, said.

But yesterday, Dr Ruto hit back, saying, "We were doing fine until we received some visitors of doom into our party who are reputed to distabilise governments and parties...they diverted us into irrelevant and defeatist agendas like Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) to a point we lost our service delivery agenda."

According to Gatanga MP Nduati Ngugi, the challenges facing Murang'a cannot be reduced to political competition since they are salient and uniform. “We should keep politics off what ought to be done for our people. We stand united that we need a reinvigorated agricultural economy, arming our non-skilled youths with artisan courses, spur self-employment ventures and help them hit a profit trajectory.

"The thrust of our submission was that in Mr Odinga's government, we must be represented by a shareholding commensurate with our numbers and other attached dynamics.

“We were very clear that in his government we desire to see some of us in Murang'a occupy prominent positions."