Ruto remarks anger Mount Kenya leaders
Deputy President (DP) William Ruto yesterday boasted that President Uhuru Kenyatta had no powers to fire him from his position.
Ruto, who has defied the President’s call for him to quit government if he was dissatisfied said the only the Kenyan electorate can kick him out as the country’s second-in-command.
Speaking to journalists at Alba Hotel in Meru County on the second day of his tour of Mt Kenya East, the Deputy President claimed Uhuru should instead welcome his continued criticism of the government, saying it was part of oversight.
“I will never resign and nobody can sack me because he is not the one who gave me this work but Kenyans, and these are the only people who can send me home or else I can resign at my own pleasure,” said Ruto.
Maintaining he is in the government to stay, the DP claimed his continued criticism of the government on failure to deliver on the Big Four agenda had thrust him into trouble with the President.
Tirade of insults
“Same people who elected Uhuru are the same people who elected me, because they had a lot of trust in us, but this strong foundation and relationship was killed in the second term of power when confusion was brought in by ODM leader Raila Odinga. I will not leave office at anybody’s pleasure,” he added.
Ruto’s attacks on the President and Mt Kenya leaders for the past few days however yesterday faced a backlash from politicians from the region.
The leaders said the DP had turned his tour of the region into a tirade of insults and disrespect of local leaders. They warned locals not to entertain the remarks as they are demeaning to the populace too.
“The attacks have laid bare the DP’s contempt for our region, our leaders and our people,” said the Mt Kenya MPs caucus.
They chided the DP for describing President Uhuru as a tapeli (con), humiliating Muranga Senator Irungu Kangata for contributing “too little” in a harambee, belittling Kiambu Governor James Nyoro and aiming “text book” insults against Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi.
They also accuse him of side-lining Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri.
“The DP has decided that anybody from Mt Kenya who does not support him politically, does not deserve respect and should be insulted in the most callous manner,” a statement by the Mt Kenya Jubilee party caucus.
Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia described Ruto’s remarks as “unprofessional.” He warned that the utterances were likely to provoke acts of violence.
The Meru Young Professionals also raised their reservations about the remarks asking the DP to apologise for insulting Kiraitu and Munya during his tour of Meru.
“We can reimburse the Sh2 million you gave so that you respect our community… Have you ever heard of any Meru elder or leader abusing a Kalenjin elder in front of women and children?” they posed in a statement signed by association chairman Francis Gitobu.
The President, while at Uthiru in Kiambu County recently, dared his deputy to resign accusing him of playing double-speak.
“If you are praising it then stay in it, if you are not then get out,” said Uhuru.
“The honourable thing is that if you are not happy, you step aside and allow those who want to move on, to move on. This is what happens in any normal democracy. You can’t have your cake and eat it,” Uhuru said then.
However, Ruto said the best way to support a system is to criticise it and not to praise it when it goes astray.
“When you criticise a system that does not mean you don’t support it, because as a leader you should accept correction because nobody is an angel. I am also criticised everyday and I don’t complain,” added Ruto.
But speaking on his frosty relationship with his boss, Ruto noted that though he cannot go public on everything that has been going on between them, he maintained that the President has remained his friend.
While saying he does not regret working with the President, he says he started feeling like an outsider in the government in the second term of their tenure, when other people “were introduced to run the government”.
He, at the same time, regretted that for the last four years of the second term they have failed to deliver on many promises they made to Kenyans stating that if he forms the next government he will focus on fully implementing the pledges they made to Kenyans when they took over power.
Ruto claimed that many government projects were realised through his initiative but accused Raila of disrupting the Big Four agenda through his Handshake with Uhuru.
“We had big dreams with Uhuru for this country one of them being construction of the railway, roads, improving agriculture and job creation but some of these projects have not yet been completed, because of these untrustworthy people who came between us and sabotaged everything, just because of their thirst for power and politics of self- interest ,” he added.