President hypes support for Raila, censures deputy
The 2022 presidential race gathered momentum yesterday after President Uhuru Kenyatta tacitly endorsed opposition chief Raila Odinga for State House.
Uhuru at the same time took a swipe at his estranged deputy, William Ruto’s early campaigns.
Speaking in Nakuru county, a place historically considered as the melting pot of Kenya’s politics, Uhuru, who was accompanied by Raila and other top government officials, said Ruto’s perceived early lead in the 2022 presidential race would be extinguished.
“I want to caution our leaders. Let’s not take politics with (reckless) speed. Leadership will come, bide your time,” he said in apparent reference to Ruto’s early campaigns.
“Speed is dangerous. Pole pole ndio mwendo (taking it slow is the way to go). It is better you go slowly and get where you’re going,” he said.
“If somebody comes and says this person or that person is old, tell them leadership is in the head,” he added.
In the clearest sign yet that he supports Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader, Uhuru said: “Uongozi uko hapa (loosely translated: the leadership is here), adding: “Leadership is not a sprint, it is a marathon.”
Noting that the presidential campaign was a lengthy process, Uhuru poured cold water on Ruto’s spirited campaigns, comparing him to a runner who fails to plan his race well and ends up suffering from burn-out.
“You might run fast but the old man will come slowly and overtake you while you’re struggling for breath… mambo bado (the game hasn’t started),” he said.
“Mtu anachagua ubongo bwana, uongozi sio mpira wa kucheza kwa uwanja (leadership is about the brain not a football match),” the President said.
He was speaking when he conferred Nakuru municipality a city status.
Aiming another jab at his deputy, the Head of State said the presidency was not about how old one was but one’s intellectual capacity to lead the nation.
Ruto and some of his allies have often dismissed Raila as being too old to lead the country.
Speaking in Maragua, Murang’a county last weekend, Ruto exuded confidence that he would defeat Raila hands down in the 2022 General Election.
Ruto termed Raila as a perennial loser who has vied for the presidency many times but has never made it.
The DP said he is confident of winning the seat to become the fifth president.
Ruto reminded the Opposition that he and President Kenyatta had defeated Raila in the 2013 and 2017 elections, adding that it will be no different this time round.
“Over eight million people joined hands and delivered us victory in 2013 and 2017, and come next year, it shall be no different,” he said.
Ruto said the ODM boss is not fit to lead the country, claiming he does not have the interests of Kenyans at heart.
He said Raila is known to create chaos, blaming him for the woes in the Jubilee government.
A recent opinion poll showed that the DP is ahead of Raila in the 2022 presidential race even though the latter has gained significantly since June.
The poll, released by TIFA, showed Ruto’s popularity dropping marginally by one percentage point while Raila gained 15 per cent between June and November.
The poll showed, Ruto is leading with 38 per cent followed by Raila whose rating is at 23 per cent.
Almost a quarter of the 1,519 respondents were undecided on who to vote for in the upcoming election.
The poll places ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi a distant third with two per cent followed by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka at one per cent.
But speaking yesterday, Uhuru cautioned the youth not to fall prey to the ‘Hustler Nation’ narrative, which is Ruto’s political slogan.
The Head of State signed and handed over the Instruments of City Conferment to Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui at the rehabilitated Nyayo Gardens.
Ahead of the conferment exercise, the President inaugurated the new Nakuru Disaster Management Centre as well as the rehabilitated Nyayo Gardens.
Nakuru is now the country’s fourth city after Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu. It is the first municipality to be conferred city status under the 2010 Constitution.
On his part, Raila said that reggae (referring to the Building Bridges Initiative constitutional referendum bill) was on “half time” and would resume.
He said that Nakuru represented the face of Kenya owing to its cosmopolitan nature, adding it was for that reason that he had launched his Azimio La Umoja unity campaign in Nakuru.
“I welcome you all for the Azimio La Umoja national convention in Nairobi on December 10,” the opposition leader said.
Yesterday’s event was attended by high profile leaders including Attorney General Kihara Kariuki, Cabinet Secretary James Macharia and five governors led by Council of Governors chairman Martin Wambora (Embu).
Others were Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu), Ann Kananu (Nairobi), Francis Kimemia (Nyandarua) and Kivutha Kibwana of Makueni. The leaders heaped praise on Governor Kinyanjui for his transformative leadership.