Stop beating your chest and listen to Kenyans, Zipporah Kittony tells President Ruto

Former nominated Senator Zipporah Kittony.

Former nominated Senator Zipporah Kittony. In her memoir Sheer Grit, she chronicles her highs and lows from childhood to retirement.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Women's rights advocate and retired politician Zipporah Kittony has warned President William Ruto against his "chest-thumping leadership style while ignoring the cry of Kenyans on the high cost of living".

The Moi-era politician and longtime Maendeleo ya Wanawake chairperson says the country is in a sorry state and there is need for a national dialogue on the future of Kenya.

Ms Kittony, 80, said the government must listen to the voices of Kenyans and act on priorities that will improve the living standards of ordinary citizens.

"I am very sorry for the poor state of our country and the leadership we have now. The leaders have so much ego and they are drunk with power and they are failing in their core mandate to lead and provide solutions that are plaguing our country," Ms Kittony said in an interview with Nation.Africa.

Reflecting on Kenya's politics as she turns 80, the now senior citizen was saddened by the current leadership, which she described as self-centred and highly divisive along tribal lines.

The Moi-era trailblazer said she was worried that Kenya was regressing in terms of democracy and accountable leadership, explaining that some of the recent political events indicated a dangerous trend in the government's response to issues.

"I am blessed to have seen five presidents since Kenya's independence and the struggles we went through to become Africa's admired democracy. But looking at the current trend, I feel sorry for our children and future generations," she told Nation.Africa during the interview at her Trans Nzoia home in Sibanga, Cherangany constituency.

"I want to tell our leaders, both in government and opposition, to be careful what they say to Kenyans on public platforms. Leaders should not be quick to speak without the attention of the public. It's very retrogressive today for Kenyan leaders to divide Kenyans more than Kenyans themselves," she said.

The former nominated Senator called on Dr Ruto to go back to the drawing board and re-order his priorities, especially on the tax plans and the poor state of the country.

"As a word of caution, I want leaders to desist from this self-indulgence and put our country first. I want to tell the President that Kenyans trusted you and heard your promises and gave you the votes but now you have turned around and want to tax even old women like me," an emotional Kittony said in the interview.

She urged President Ruto to reach out even to the opposition to solve the problems facing Kenyans and ensure a stable eco-political country.

She also urged Dr Ruto to respect the fact that Azimio la Umoja- One Kenya Alliance also won many votes in the last General Election and allow space for criticism and dissent.

The women's leader also defended former President Uhuru Kenyatta's actions in the current political landscape - stating that the former head of state has the right to speak his mind on leading the nation.

In her memoir 'Sheer Grit Kittony', the retired politician expresses her desire for principled and accountable leadership.

She called on women leaders to nurture and motivate young women to embrace leadership and shine as alternative voices.

"Women leaders should not be afraid of intimidation. This should be their motivation to bring about change and make society a better place for future generations," she affirmed.