You don’t have your own ideas, DP tells opponents
Noah Cheploen and Christine Musa
Deputy President William Ruto has defended his “Hustler Nation” slogan, saying his rivals were feeling the pinch because they are not used to having a national campaign revolving around the ordinary mwananchi.
Addressing lresidents of Emali in Makueni county yesterday during a stop-over, Ruto urged Kenyans to shun leaders pushing for constitutional changes - to create for themselves plum positions -at the expense of revival of the economy.
Noting that his opponents were feeling the heat because of his “Bottom-Up Economic Model,” Ruto said he was determined to ensure issues affecting citizens become the centre of political conversation.
Consequently, he said his rivals had ganged up against him, arguing that they were uncomfortable with his people-centred approach.
“I am from Amboseli where we had deliberations with your leaders on specific economic strategy for this area,” he said.
“There are some people who are obsessed with changing the Constitution to create big positions like Prime Minister for themselves.”
His remarks were an apparent dig at Opposition chief Raila Odinga, who has been pushing for constitutional amendments that would have seen creation of the position of Prime Minister with two deputies under the Building Bridges Initiative.
“They are obsessed with discussions on power sharing but we are telling them that this time around, before we change the Constitution, we must change the economy first,” the Deputy President said amid cheers.
Deputy President said he will not be intimidated by the ganging-up currently being witnessed, emphasising that he is going to push his “Hustler Nation” campaign to the end. “Are you ready for a hustler government next year?” he asked locals.
“They have ganged-up against me but I have also prepared well to face them,” he added.
The DP has for the past three days been aggressively rallying the Maasai and Kamba vote by holding closed-door meeting with leaders from the two communities in Kajiado.
Speaking in Kajiado South, the DP, while addressing a political rally accused Raila of hijacking the Jubilee agenda.
“Jubilee party has been hijacked by David Murathe and Raphael Tuju, who have in turn sold the party to Raila.
I am happy that God stopped the BBI process that was aimed at oppressing Kenyans,” said Ruto.
At an earlier meeting, his allies from Ukambani maintained that the provision of water is key for their survival in the Bottom-Up Economic Approach.
Delegates attending a two-day South Eastern Region Economic Forum with Ruto in Oloitoktok said scarcity of water had affected the area’s economic potential.
“Region has excellent soils and warm weather suitable for a wide range of agricultural production. It is noted that scarcity of water is the single most critical constraint,” they said.
Without the provision of water, the delegation told the DP, the Bottom-Up Economic Model would suffer.
But Ruto said the model was pro-poor and considered not only empowering ordinary citizens through finances but also provision of social services like water, health and education.
“We understand and appreciate the challenge of water provision in the country and more so in regions badly affected by drought. This is part of our plan to uplift the common man,” Ruto said
He noted that there were several ongoing large-scale water investments such as Thwake and Umaa dams and others that once completed will irrigate up to 300,000 acres of land.
“However, this is just over five per cent of the region’s 5.5 million acres of arable land.
Unlocking the potential of this land requires that we map all potential sources for both irrigation and domestic use,” said Jonathan Mueke, the former Nairobi County Deputy Governor.
He said consultations will be intensified with all stakeholders to ensure available resources are harnessed with a view to identifying the interventions that will bring the region’s perennial water problem to an end.