Ruto strives to undo Raila gains in Nyeri
Deputy President William Ruto yesterday wound up his three-day tour of Nyeri county to reverse inroads made by ODM leader Raila Odinga in recent days.
From the DP’s itinerary, it was clear he was out to undo gains the former premier could have made when he toured the county two weeks ago to popularise his Azimio la Umoja.
“We had formed Jubilee Party to unite this country only for an intruder to destroy our plan. Now this intruder is coming here to ask for your votes. I am asking you to reject him and his bid,” the DP said in an apparent reference to Raila who is viewed as his main challenger for the top seat in next year’s presidential election.
The former PM began his visit at Kabiruini Showground where he graced a cultural exchange programme between Luo and Kikuyu Council of Elders, then addressed youth at Kahawa Ridge Estate in Nyeri town before proceeding to a dinner with Nyeri Business community at the Nyeri Golf Club.
On the second day, Odinga started his functions by addressing a rally at the historic Ruring’u Stadium, then moved to Nyeri and Othaya towns for rallies, the latter viewed as a deliberate move to pay homage to his co-principal in the coalition Government, retired president Kibaki.
Ruto, on the other hand, began his tour in Mathira before proceeding to Mukurwe-ini, Othaya and Nyeri towns on Saturday.
On the second day, Ruto attended a church service in Nyeri town before proceeding to address rallies in Tetu and Kieni East sub-counties.
Come yesterday, the DP concluded his trip by returning to Nyeri town for a meeting with church leaders then proceeding to Kieni East before heading to Laikipia county. Throughout his trip, the DP portrayed Raila as a highly polarising figure who hates peace and whose time to participate in active politics has lapsed.
“You saw me on my visit to Nyanza where I was stoned because those competing with us had organised for the same. Are these the same persons that are coming ask for your votes? Do you think they qualify?” he posed.
Accompanied by political bigwigs in the region including Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and a host of MPs, the DP camped in Nyeri popularising his bottom up economic model to a region that is known for its entreprenural spirit.
During his visit, he met grassroots leader and religious leaders, women and youth groups and at each stop, dished out money to support various economic activities.
Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wah, while addressing a gathering at Kiawara trading centre in Kieni constituency asked residents whether it was true that they have shifted their allegiance to Raila.
“Your MP Kanini Kega has been telling us that you all belong to Odinga’s camp. How true is this? Do you think he can be a better deal than the DP who has been with us since 2013?”Ichung’wah asked.
The DP asked his competitors to stop using the criminal justice system to advance their political agenda. Ruto told them to come up with an agenda and sell to Kenyans who have the final say on issues of elections.
He wondered why his competitors were using the criminal justice system to intimidate and blackmail his supporters. “I want to encourage our competitors to stop using the criminal justice system to intimidate our supporters. Look for a plan and sell it to the people who have final say on elections.”
Politicising criminal system
He assured Kenyans that if he takes over the leadership of the country, the criminal justice system will not be politicised.
“Under our administration, the criminal justice system will be used to fight crime and corruption but not to fight political opponents,” said Dr Ruto.
Ichung’wah called on the Judiciary not to allow politicians to use them to manage the country’s politics. “We do not want the judiciary to be enlisted to campaign for failed politicians.”
At the same time, Ruto asked Kenyans to reject leaders advocating for tribal political parties. He said such tribal groupings were a threat to the country’s unity as they promote division and hatred among Kenyans.
The DP said the country was better off united with its leaders working together to address challenges facing ordinary citizens.