Rift Valley safe for everybody, Ruto assures residents
Bernard Gitau @benagitau
“Rift Valley will be safe for everybody. Nobody should carry his or her activities in fear...There will be no chaos whether I win the presidency or not.”
This is the message Deputy President William Ruto took to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s home county, Kiambu, a day after the Head of State told members of the Gikuyu community living in the Rift Valley not to succumb to threats of violence if they don’t vote for a particular individual.
“As a leader from the Rift Valley, I can assure you that we will not return to violence that has affected in the past. We will not return to darkness... Rift Valley will be safe for everybody.
Nobody should carry his or her activities in fear. Rift Valley is Kenya...” said the DP at a funeral in Lari yesterday.
Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri, an ally of the DP, has been pushing the narrative that the Mt Kenya diaspora in the Rift Valley will be vulnerable if they do not reciprocate the support for Ruto who backed Uhuru to win the presidency in the past two elections.
Yesterday, Ruto said the Building Bridges Initiative, (BBI) initiated by the President and Opposition chief Raila Odinga, will ensure national unity and peace.
“There will be no conflict. Nobody will gain out of political conflicts. We want the BBI to unite Kenyans. Ordinary Kenyans should be given opportunity to give their views,” he added.
The People Daily yesterday exclusively reported that a furious Uhuru on Monday summoned his deputy to State House, Nairobi, for a dressing-down for allegedly sabotaging the BBI.
But some Jubilee leaders accompanying the DP vowed not to support the BBI if it is geared to create executive positions and extra layers of governance.
They also insisted that they will go on with the planned BBI meeting in Nakuru on February 8 despite the President’s warning against parallel rallies.
The DP allies said Kenyans were already burdened and any expansion of political seats would defeat the country’s development plans.
“If it would be about the creation of more seats for politicians and governors whose two terms are coming to an end, we would oppose it,” said Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua.
He added: “The resolutions we made over the weekend in Naivasha is our position; we want to rid this country of poverty, empower Kenyans economically and generate jobs for our youths.”
Gachagua was making reference to the Sunday meeting of Jubilee MPs who resolved to back the BBI but organise separate rallies to counter those spearheaded by Raila with the apparent backing of State machinery.
Ngunjiri, who was the subject of the President’s ire on Tuesday over his recent attacks on the Head of State, said the Nakuru rally would go on as planned.
“We will be in Nakuru for BBI on February 8 even with the barriers that Governor Lee Kinyanjui has erected,” he said.
Other leaders present were governors Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu), Francis Kimemia (Nyandarua), former Cabinet secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri and MPs Caleb Kositany (Soy), Moses Kuria (Gatundu South) and Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu).
Kiunjuri, who was recently sacked from Cabinet, used the occasion to drum up support for Ruto’s presidential campaign.
The leaders were attending the funeral of Ruth Wanjiku Iraya, 87, the mother of Joseph Wainaina, a prominent businessman in Eldoret.
Ruto assured his supporters that all was well between him and Uhuru.
“The foundation is firm despite the noises you are hearing. We overcame the colonialists, The Hague and therefore what you are hearing is nothing,” he said in response to claims that his relationship with the President had deteriorated.
Mandago told MPs not to point an accusing finger at governors proposing the creation of federal governments and instead deal with the same in Parliament.
Kimemia told Ruto to remain steadfast behind Uhuru, noting that only God knew who would be President in 2022.
“It was very hot in 2013 because both the international community and the Opposition in Kenya and some who were still in government were opposed to the Uhuruto candidature,” said the governor who was the Head of Public Service during the Mwai Kibaki presidency.
Centre of power
Kiunjuri, who has been lobbying to be Ruto’s running mate, said Kenyans would not vote for a document, which would create two centres of power.
Ichung’wa, Kuria and Gachagwa said they were being intimidated for speaking their mind and being in Ruto’s camp but would stand by him.
Kositany said the country was in support of BBI but warned of a plot to create another version.
“One BBI faction is led by ODM and is for the creation and expansion of executive seats. The other one is Jubilee and is for poverty alleviation, wealth creation and jobs generation for the youths,” he said.
Kuria asked Kenyans not to forget where the country had come from in terms of political hostility, disintegration and division along tribal lines.
“We are all after forging unity in this country through the BBI. This is a journey we started in 2008. We have more solid experience than those lecturing us,” he said.
Ichung’wa said the country needed to be together to move forward. “But BBI should not be used to intimidate other leaders.
It is a fact we (Mt Kenya leaders) are being threatened but we will not be cowed. We will stand for the truth,” he said.