Ruto protests directive on political gatherings
Irene Githinji and Peter Mwangangi
Deputy President William Ruto has cried foul over cancellation of a series of his public meetings.
Ruto was yesterday forced to cut short his planned visit to Kakamega after receiving a police notification barring him from attending a church function in the county.
He instead made an impromptu visit to Machakos Inland Church, where he “on behalf of the government” sought forgiveness over the recent chaos in Murang’a, Kakamega and Nyamira counties.
“I’m sorry I have come here unannounced and I know the Clergy would have wanted a notice.
I had planned to worship in Kakamega but we received a police notice saying it cannot happen and because I would not have wanted to go there and cause problems, I decided to plan for another day and instead came here,” Ruto told the congregation in Machakos.
He apologised to the Church for the chaos in Murang’a last Sunday that led to the loss of two lives after youths clashed over his visit, saying such incidences should not happen in a country that is God-fearing.
“As a Christian, I want to ask for forgiveness on behalf of the Government because of what happened in Muranga, Nyamira, Kakamega, to stop us from worshipping. Those disrespecting the word of God should stop,” he said.
Ruto also supported President Uhuru Kenyatta’s sentiment that Kenyans should forgive one another because to “err is human.”
He said Kenyans want a country that people can work in peacefully without ethnic divisions.
“Let us walk the path of forgiveness and that is why I take this opportunity to say; for all those I have wronged I ask for your forgiveness, to those I have said annoying things I also ask for forgiveness so that we can soar,” he said.
Last Thursday, Ruto was forced to cancel a planned visit to Nyamira County after hours of confrontation between police and his supporters at Kebirigo Primary School.
Ruto has been the main casualty of new government regulations released last week geared at taming hate mongers.
Under the new tough rules, the government will regulate political gatherings and punish anyone involved in violence or spreading hate speech
The government unveiled a raft of measures to guide public meetings following growing political tension that culminated in the Murang’a deaths.
The directives followed a meeting of the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC), which resolved that henceforth, all conveners of public meetings will have to notify the local police commander at least three days before the proposed date of a gathering.
Section 5 of the Public Order Act allows the local station commander to decline to issue permission if he or she feels it is not possible to hold the proposed meeting.
Section 5(6) of the same Act states: “Where the regulating officer notifies the organiser of a public meeting or public procession in accordance with subsection (3) that it is not possible to hold the proposed meeting or procession, such public meeting or procession shall not be held on the date, at the time and venue proposed.
The relevant security organs are directed to enforce these directives without fear or favour to the offenders, regardless of their economic standing, ethnicity, religion and political association and status,” said Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua.
Yesterday, the DP vowed to continue empowering low income earners despite his ‘hustler movement’ attracting condemnation.
“This time round we are starting with hustlers, we will not start at the top but from the bottom where the ordinary Kenyan is. Why are people not happy when we say we will empower the poor,?” asked Ruto.
The DP was accompanied by Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, MPs Victor Munyaka (Machakos), Vincent Musyoka (Mwala), Nimrod Mbai (Kitui East), Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu), George Theuri (Embakasi West) and Nixon Korir (Lang’ata).
Kibwana urged the DP to stand firm in pursuing the “Hustler Nation” dream.
“Let us stop lying to ourselves that the hustler narrative will go anywhere because it is here to stay,” said Kibwana
Kibwana, who has declared his intention to vie for State House, urged Kenyans to resist any efforts by a section of politicians to undermine the Constitution.