William Ruto at Eldoret Rally

Deputy President William Ruto addresses the rally at Eldoret Sports Club in Uasin Gishu County on Saturday January 8.

| Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

William Ruto gets elders’ nod amid probe

Deputy President William Ruto yesterday stamped UDA’s authority in his political stronghold as he received blessings from elders to vie for the presidency in a day of high-drama and controversial speeches that attracted the attention of police and investigators.

Leaders allied to him also turned the pressure on rebels in the Rift Valley, urging voters to kick them out and elect those loyal to the DP in statements that attracted the ire of the Director of Public Prosecutions, who accused Meru Senator Mithika Linturi of hate speech.

The area was the epicentre of the post-election violence that killed hundreds in 2007.

“Nyinyi watu wa Uasin Gishu msicheze na sisi, msicheze na Kenya na kile nawaomba ni yale madoadoa mlio nayo hapa, muweze muondoe. Hatuwezi kuwa tunasimama na William tukiwa kule Mt Kenya na Meru halafu mko na wengine hapa hawaskii hawaungani na yeye. Mko tayari kuwaondolea? (You people of Uasin Gishu don’t play mind games with Kenyans and what I am asking you is to remove for us ‘rebel leaders’. We cannot be backing William while we are in Mt Kenya and in Meru when others here are against him”).

The word madoadoa is an emotive phrase and was used as a code to profile communities targeted for violent evictions from Rift Valley during post-election violence in 2007, reports by the Kriegler and Waki Commissions that investigated the violence revealed.

MPs Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), Silas Tiren (Moiben), Swarup Mishra (Kesses), Joshua Kutuny (Cherangany) and Uasin Gishu Senator Margaret Kamar are some of the perceived DP’s rebels in the North Rift and did not attend the Eldoret rally.

Mr Haji in a letter addressed to the Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai said the utterances could whip emotions leading to violence.

“My attention has been drawn to a video clip circulating on social media portraying Mithika Linturi allegedly addressing a crowd and stating that ‘…. watu wa Uasin Gishu musicheze na Kenya, kile nawaombeni kwamba madoa doa yale mulionayo hapa muweze kuondoa,’ which utterances could incite feelings of contempt, hatred, hostility, violence or discrimination,” he said.

Mr Haji wants the matter be probed and results of the investigations submitted next week Friday.

“Pursuant to Article 157 (4) of the constitution, I hereby direct that you (IG) immediately institute comprehensive investigations into the said allegations and submit the resultant investigation file on or before January 14, 2021,” Mr Haji said.

Senator Linturi’s utterance received criticism from Nakuru governor Lee Kinyanjui and Kiambu county chief James Nyoro who took to social media to reprimand him.

Gatndu MP Moses Kuria also said; “I am a close friend of the Deputy President. However, I am far. If you are in Eldoret and near hear tell him to rebuke this talk. It doesn’t matter whether it is said by a Linturi or an Oscar Sudi. It matters that it is being said in Eldoret Sports Club, few kilometres from KAG Church Kiambaa in ‘Burnt’ Forest’. Jameni Madoadoa tena.”

However, Senator Linturi on Twitter said his message has been taken out of context, adding that he was referring to leaders who are opposing the DP in Rift Valley.

“My message was very clear, I don’t owe anybody any explanation. Whoever does not support William Ruto in the region should not be elected,” said the Meru Senator.

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichungwah also came to the defence of the senator saying that their opponents have resorted to propaganda in regard to what was said.

During the meeting, leaders and elders “released” the DP to go and campaign in a show of might event attended by one chief administrative secretary (CAS), six governors and over 100 lawmakers allied to the DP.

Buoyed by a big crowd and the presence of almost all the Tangatanga lawmakers, the country’s second-in-command expressed optimism that he would ascend to power come August 9.

Holding the mega rally at Eldoret Sports Club, Uasin Gishu County, appeared to have been done to quell a disquiet, which has been sweeping across the region, with claims that the DP decided to ignore his home turf.

In addition to the county being his region of birth, it is also the area where he served as the Eldoret North MP for years.

Elders from both the Kalenjin and Kikuyu in traditional regalia blessed the DP saying that his path should be free from evil deeds. Chairman of Kikuyu Council of Elders Uasin Gishu chapter George Kamau said: "Since Afraha, we have been one thing and currently, Mt Kenya people are with Ruto. As elders, we love speaking the truth."

His Myoot counterpart Benjamin Kitur said: "We are here as elders to bless Ruto to go out to hunt for votes. We have blessed him. We thank God for choosing Ruto to vie for presidency.”

When he started addressing a cheerful crowd which had persevered a scorching sun, he thanked the residents for trusting them with leadership both in 2013 and 2017 before embarking to outline his agenda in the forthcoming General Election.

Dr Ruto also used the opportunity to accuse ODM boss Raila Odinga for turning Jubilee government’s Big Four Agenda upside down through the handshake, which brought the thwarted Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). He promised that he would fulfil the Big Four Agenda if elected president. He also castigated Mr Odinga for criticising his contributions in harambees accusing the former PM of investing abroad instead of dishing cash to Kenyans.

“He is very rich but chooses to invest in posh-houses and outside Kenya. He cannot come to now audit my contributions,” the Deputy President said.

Elucidating his agenda for the country in case he is elected president, the DP said his focus will be on job creations, empowering micro and small medium enterprises (MSMEs), offering cheap credit, agriculture revival, social welfare as well as universal healthcare.

“We cannot accept to continue with economic model that benefits a few people. In our first budget, we will put aside Sh100 billion to leverage our economy which focusses on housing, manufacturing, agro-processing unlike our competitors who are claiming that our youths deserve handouts,” DP Ruto said.

Drumming up support for his United Democratic Alliance (UDA) as a national party, the DP said those who had dared them to show his parliamentary strength were dumbfounded during the special sittings of the contentious Political Parties (Amendment) Bill, 2021 which forced his boss and the former prime minister to look for the support of other parties.

“There are some people who think that this country belongs to them and some of us, we are visitors, squatters. I want to say, we are going to change this nation. This country, this time around in the coming elections, we will weed out pride, spite of few and we will create a country for all. They think they will decide for us who will lead us,” said DP Ruto.

Ruto allies rallied residents to vote out MPs who are not supporting the Deputy President in Rift Valley.

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua accused rebel MPs in the Rift for teaming up with DP Ruto political nemesis and the "deep state" to finish him politically. He also accused the Interior ministry of inciting administrators against them.

“Some of the rebels have been the ones taking minutes in meetings where evil is being planned against the DP. Such people should not be elected because they have proved to be saboteurs of the DP political aspirations,” said the MP.

Garissa Township MP Aden Duale, an ardent defender of the DP, asked the president not to try and influence his succession and leave Kenyans to decide who will lead them come August 9.

He also told Mr Odinga that he is set to be a victim of political deceit citing the 2002 incident where the ODM boss declared ‘Kibaki Tosha’.

Nominated MP David Sankok led other lawmakers in vowing to go to court to stop the Political Parties Bill from being enacted and ask judges to halt Mr Odinga’s presidential bid.

“By swearing himself in, Mr Odinga committed treason and he should be locked out of the 2022 election,” said the Nominated MP.

Dr Ruto heaped praise on lawmakers allied to him saying that they have been blackmailed, intimidated, threatened but all those are short-lived.

“You can arrest as many as you want, you threaten as many as you, you can intimidate as many of us as you want but this year, in this election, we are going to stop threats, blackmails, intimidations and have a free Kenya where every citizen has the power to decide their destiny,” he said.

The DP also urged the youths to shun leaders who engage them in violence and not to vote using tribe and religion inclinations.