August 9

Ruto takes over reins of power, promises plenty

Wednesday, September 14th, 2022 01:20 | By
Ruto sworn in
William Ruto takes oath of office as Kenya's fifth President at Kasarani stadium on Tuesday, September 13, 2022. PHOTO/State House Kenya/Facebook

President William Ruto yesterday took over the reins of power with a promise to Kenyans to lead the battle against the myriad of challenges facing them including the high cost of living that has remained a persistent headache to most families.

The son of a peasant farmer from Kamagut village in Uasin Gishu became the country’s fifth Head of State after being handed over the instruments of power by predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta and citizens will now look to him from today to provide solutions to challenges weighing them down.

In appreciation of his humble upbringing, which he has not shied away from, the DP said his main target would be to improve the lives of millions of hustlers who milled around his Bottom-Up agenda during the electioneering period.

Other than the choking prices of basic food, millions of degree, diploma and certificate holders, mostly youths, desperately searching for jobs while farmers are counting losses from poor yields despite pumping their fortunes in farming expecting better returns.

The country’s economy is also struggling owing to costly loans that are sucking billions of shillings monthly to service them. 

While addressing thousands of Kenyans who filled the 60-000 capacity Kasarani Stadium—with thousands locked out for lack of space—and millions who followed the ceremony on their TVs, the President began his speech by acknowledging the far he had come from before his elevation to the nation’s top seat on Tuesday.

Foreign dignitaries

In front of over 20 Heads of State and Government and hundreds of other senior foreign officials, the DP said his story should inspire more Kenyans from poor backgrounds to work harder to achieve their dreams saying with determination they would be successful like him.

“The village boy has become the President of Kenya,” he said before going on to elucidate what his administration intends to do in the short, mid and long-term.

“I promise to throw open every door of opportunity and to keep them open until success stories become the norm rather than the exception and urge all other leaders to do the same, so that we can together expand opportunity and chance for many more,” he added.

Although he acknowledged the high cost of living, he avoided giving short-term solutions opting for medium term undertakings he said might help lower the prices of food.

He said his government will begin distribution of cheaper fertilizers starting next week. A bag of 50kg of the DAP fertiliser will go for Sh3,500 down from the current Sh6,500.

“I appeal to county governments in Eastern, Central and Western regions to work with us in making sure that the fertilizer is available to farmers,” he said.

Tea farmers will also get cheaper CAN varieties as they will buy at the same price from Sh6,500 per 50kg.

In an attempt to curb joblessness, the DP said he will immediately create the ‘Hustler Fund’, a kitty he has often promised to allocate Sh50 billion before the end of the year.

“We shall implement the ‘Hustler Fund’, dedicated to the capitalization of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises through chamas, saccos and cooperatives to make credit available on affordable terms that do not require collateral,” he said.

Electoral agency

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) featured prominently in his speech as he lavished praise for how they conducted the last elections. Despite being heavily criticized by Azimio leader Raila Odinga, who has accused the electoral body of mismanaging the polls including on Monday when he rejected invitation to the inauguration, the President did not have anything but positive accolades for the electoral agency which he said ha stood against attempts to subvert the will of the people.

He singled out chairman Wafula Chebukati who he has described as a hero before, saying he stood firm against intimidation and alleged attempts to bribe him to change the election results.

Just before he announced Ruto the President-elect on August 15, Chebukati came under a hail of punches at the National Tallying Centre at Bomas of Kenya from a section of Azimio leaders who were not happy with the final result. Four commissioners led by vice-chairperson Juliana Cherera also disowned the announcement of Ruto as the victor saying the tallying of the final results was opaque.

When the matter was placed before the Supreme Court, the country’s top judges said all the commissioners had been involved in the process and only rebelled at the tail end.  The chairman also later claimed he had been pressured by members of the National Security Advisory Committee (NASC) to alter the presidential results.

Delivery of justice

“Allow me to single out the IEBC for special commendation for the courage to do the right thing under exceptionally challenging circumstances. As an institution, they have set a new standard in public service that is uncompromising, professional and exemplary, raising the bar of integrity of public officials and institutions,” said Ruto yesterday.

A week after the apex court affirmed his victory and oversaw his swearing-in yesterday, Ruto said his government will ensure the judiciary was appropriately funded to ensure speedy delivery of justice. He said his government will also allocate Sh3 billion annually to the judiciary for the next five years.

During the campaign, he warned against the use of police to run political errands and yesterday he said it was a new dawn for them. Ruto said he had already set in motion plans to ensure the financial autonomy of the police service saying remaining under the control of the presidency would provide room for misuse. 

“Financial independence to the police will give impetus to the fight against corruption, and end the political weaponization of the criminal justice system; an undertaking I made to the people of Kenya,” he said.

Additionally, he also revealed that most of the civil servants had been forced into pushing political causes, promising to put a stop to the habit.

“I assure all public officers that my administration will respect their professional service, and no public servant, even chiefs and their assistants, will be required to run political errands for any political party or formation,” said Ruto. Coastal leaders led by newly-elected Senate Speaker Amason Kingi had demanded the reverting of port operations to Mombasa from Naivasha when they joined the President’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance three months ago.

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