Uhuru snubs DP Ruto again in Madaraka Day protocol change

President Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto. The two have since fallen out with the President openly supporting Ruto's main challenger, Raila Odinga.

Photo credit: File | Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

Deputy President William Ruto failed to address Kenyans during Madaraka Day celebrations on Wednesday, the first time such a snub has happened since President Uhuru Kenyatta took office in 2013.

This has been viewed by Kenyans as a culmination of the bad blood between Dr Ruto and President Kenyatta, who recently, on the national prayer breakfast meeting, avoided sharing a table.

Kenyans, who anticipated to listen to the DP in his last Madaraka day as Deputy President, watched President Kenyatta, after awarding state awards, short circuit the program and invite the President of Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio to speak.

Earlier, President Kenyatta had left out his deputy William Ruto from a brief State House function ahead of his speech to the nation to mark the 59th Madaraka Day at Uhuru Gardens, Nairobi.

Instead, the DP was left waiting kilometres away, at Uhuru Gardens, as President Kenyatta danced away with the State House choir after meeting his entire Cabinet.

In response to his absence, Emmanuel Talam, Ruto’s spokesman said that the DP was not invited to the State House.

“He wasn't invited to the State House event,” Talam said.

In the brief ceremony, the President put a public display of a joyous mood as he danced to the tunes of patriotic songs belted by State House choir ahead of his last Madaraka Day celebrations as Head of State.

Together with First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, the President also hosted his cabinet secretaries for a brief session, as they shared in the dance.

Meanwhile, Dr Ruto had arrived early at the Uhuru Gardens in hand to receive Sierra Leone President Juluis Maada Wonie Bio. President Bio is in the country for a five-day visit.

At State House, President Kenyatta thanked his cabinet for walking the journey with him, saying he is confident they have laid a firm foundation for those who will come after.

“I want to thank you as we have worked well together. It has been a pleasure and honour to have you with us,” said The Commander in Chief.

“I am confident we have laid a firm foundation for those who will come after and continue build a big, brighter and more prosperous Kenya from where we have left off,” he added.

He said he is looking forward to a great Madaraka Day celebrations, being his last, as he cracked jokes with his cabinet.

“Mine is just to say thank you. We look forward for all of us having a great day. It will be my last Madaraka Day,” said the President.

In his address, the President said that he is so far proud of what his administration, which has been in power for two terms has achieved.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank each one of you. We have worked well together. It has been a pleasure and honour to have you with us. And I am confident that we have a firm foundation for those who will come after us to continue to build a bigger, brighter and prosperous Kenya from where we have left off,” Uhuru said.

At the venue of Madaraka Day celebrations were ODM leader Raila Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua, who were accompanied by other politicians.

Also, the speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi and his Senate counterpart Ken Lusaka arrived.

This will be a special event for the president, being his last national holiday address as the president ahead of the August 9 elections.

Uhuru, who is also the patron in the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Alliance has fronted Raila as the best man to succeed him, in what his deputy has termed as betrayal.