DP Ruto ‘protests’ over allies removal from house teams
Deputy President William Ruto has for the first time come out to protest the ongoing purge on his allies, saying they were being victimised because of their support for him.
In an uncharacteristic outburst delivered from his Sugoi home in Uasin Gishu County on Saturday, Ruto protested that his allies were being threatened with all manner of punitive action because of their steadfast support for him.
“Initially, we were only talking about ethnic division in Kenya. Today, a new form of rift has emerged - political division.
In the recent past, we have seen several elected and nominated leaders being ousted from positions in Parliament, and are also being fought on several fronts simply because they are affiliated to DP William Ruto,” the DP told a meeting.
“In the Kenya today, several politicians are being threatened they would be taken to court for alleged corruption-related offences, face tax evasion litigation, or they’ll be investigated by the EACC, and consequently arraigned.
Others are warned that they will lose their positions in parliamentary committees and other postings.
They are subjected to all that simply because they are affiliated to the Deputy President, and not because they are involved in any wrongdoing.
I am also an innocent Kenyan, who shouldn’t be subjected to such aggressive fighting.”
Politicians and observers have interpreted his remarks as the first public acknowledgment that all was not well between him and his boss, a show of frustrations and morale boost to his troops who were the subject of Uhuru’s ruthless purge that has seen Ruto’s acolytes lose key positions in Parliament and in the ruling Jubilee Party.
The DP, who was addressing the clergy, is said to have been encouraged to speak up on the increasing toxic relationship with the President by key advisers, including elders from his Kalenjin community and some church leaders.
In the ongoing purge on his supporters, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and Garissa Town lawmaker Aden Duale lost Majority Leader positions while Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki was kicked out as Deputy Speaker, Nakuru’s Susan Kihika was sacked as Senate Whip while Mumias East Benjamin Washiali was ousted as National Assembly Whip.
Several lawmakers allied to Ruto, among them Senator Samson Cherargei (Nandi), John Kinyua (Laikipa), Christopher Langat (Bomet); MPs Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu), Gladys Shollei (Uasin Gishu MP) and William Cheptumo (Baringo North) were also removed from key House committees.
Yesterday, Kiminini MP Didmus Barasa, an ally of the DP, said Ruto made it known that he is aware his key supporters were being targeted unfairly, adding that the talk will boost the morale of the Tanga Tanga squad who are fighting his political battles.
“That was an encouragement to us. It has re-energised his troops. Now we have been re-energised, we will not be cowed and we will soldier on with the redemption song,” Barasa told the People Daily, alluding to Bob Marley and the Wailers’ much-acclaimed freedom song, Redemption.
According to Barasa, the Jubilee leadership was keen to cut the DP down to size by ensuring his friends are not in positions of influence, adding that their removal was a political witch-hunt.
“It has been clearly stated that the ‘sanitisation’ that is happening in the Senate and National Assembly and much-touted Cabinet reshuffle will be targeting those people who are allied to Tanga Tanga and, therefore, it means that if you are a member of Tanga Tanga, then you suffer the consequences,” Barasa said.
Murkomen viewed Ruto’s remarks as words of encouragement.
“The Deputy President has spoken for all of us. We shall all be patient. We shall overcome the evil spirit of hatred and division.
The one thing we shall pursue to the end is the unity of the people of this nation. So help us God,” Murkomen said.
Aldai MP Cornely Serem, who was de-whipped as vice chairman in the Trade committee, said the DP had advised them to keep calm and to continue respecting the President and his agenda, an indication that Ruto’s camp was not keen on taking on Uhuru.
“The DP has told us that we should respect the President just like the way we would want him to be respected when he becomes president. We will respect his manifesto, Big Four agenda, if BBI (Building Bridges Initiative) comes we should support,” Serem said.
Political analyst Denis Moturi said by declaring that he knows his generals are being fought because of their association with him and asking them not to worry much is an assurance to them that though they might be down, they are not out and, therefore, should proceed with the war.
“It was a statement of reassurance and the troops will reorganise themselves after hearing from their commander saying ‘yes, I am aware that you have been sacrificed but we will reemerge and reorganise ourselves for the next political dispensation’,” Moturi said
However, the analyst said the DP could also have made a first acknowledgement that his bromance with the President had come to an end.