Leadership isn’t about tribe, Ruto answers Uhuru

Monday, January 11th, 2021 00:00 | By
Margaret Wanjiru addresses residents of Kayole at Saba Saba stage yesterday after she was endorsed by Deputy President William Ruto to run for Nairobi governor race. Photo/PD/PHILIP KAMAKYA

Anthony Mwangi and Benard Gitau @PeopleDailyKe

In a clear case of a relationship that has hit rock bottom, Deputy President William Ruto yesterday responded directly to his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta, saying Kenyans were no longer interested in the politics of tribes.

The DP was responding to President Uhuru’s statements at the weekend that presidency should no longer continue revolving around two communities, a clear indication that he could lead a campaign against his deputy’s State House ambitions.

But yesterday, Ruto, who did not mention Uhuru by name, remained unfazed and answered the President with his surrogates in toe.

He painted a picture of a man on a warpath at any cost against the Handshake team led by the President and Opposition chief Raila Odinga. 

The DP did not only rebuff his boss, but also dared the Handshake team for a duel for the Nairobi governorship race. 

Addressing a congregation at the House of Hope Church in Kayole, Ruto said he did not vote for President Uhuru because he belongs to central Kenya.

“Tribal politics are backward. Leaders should focus on ideologies not tribes,” Ruto told the congregation.

On Saturday, President Uhuru hit at politicians spreading the dynasty narrative, which has become a key pillar in Ruto’s campaigns, warning that it was calculated to incite Kenyans against each other.

Speaking during the burial of Hannah Mudavadi in Mululu, Vihiga County, Uhuru said only two tribes have occupied the top seat in Kenya and perhaps time has come for another community to take over.

The President said there are many communities in Kenya and power should not be in the hands of only a few.

“Some of those who said they are tired of dynasties got to where they are because of my vote. They did not get a single vote by themselves,” the President said.

 “Let us respect one another…if that is the rationale, then I can also say that there are only two tribes that have occupied the top seat, perhaps it is time for another community to lead the country,” he added.

In Kayole, Ruto and his allies accused their opponents of using tribal politics to counter the Hustler nation’s narrative.

Many communities

“In 2013, we agreed to work with President Uhuru to end the politics of hate, tribal chiefs and division and unite the country,” said Ruto.

The DP said he supported and continues to support the President to date, not because of his tribe but his ideologies and agenda of transforming and uniting Kenya.

“When I decided to support Uhuru in 2013, those who were in Mululu told me I cannot support him because he was a Kikuyu and a Kikuyu had just left power (Mwai Kibaki) but I overlooked the tribe and supported an individual,” said Ruto.

Ruto also castigated Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, trade unionist Francis Atwoli and Raila, accusing them of misleading the President.

Ruto reiterated his quest to ascend to power remains intact because he has a plan to empower every Kenyan, adding his quest is not propelled by his tribe.

“Hustler nation is about inclusivity while tribal politics is about exclusion and power sharing” added the DP.

He urged his troops not to be cowed but remain focused on the prize.

On Saturday, Uhuru told those politicking over the 2022 election to consider the country first, saying there are 43 tribes whose needs should be addressed.

“There are many communities in Kenya…let us stop dividing Kenyans. We want a strong and united Kenya,” said the President.

Political statements marked the burial ceremony, which lasted more than six hours with speakers accusing Ruto of dividing the country along the haves and have nots.

The President, in his address, also responded to remarks made by Atwoli and Malala that he has failed to streamline his party allowing errant members to “behave badly”.  

However, Uhuru was categorical that he was fully in charge and his silence should not be mistaken for cowardice.

“Msione simba amenyeshewa mkadhani ni paka…There is a season for everything…we believe in democracy,” he observed.

“I do not want anyone to lecture me. I know where I am and I am very clear about where I am going,” he retorted. 

But MPs allied to ODM and Kieleweke faction of the Jubilee coalition hit back at the DP, accusing him of dividing the nation.

Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, a key critic of Ruto, defended the President saying his words were being taken out of context. 

Relay race 

“What the President said is that if you want to make ‘Dynasties verses Hustlers’ your 2022 presidential campaign agenda, those of us who do not  agree with that kind of agenda can as easily respond by making, regional –presidency-Rotation our 2022 campaign agenda,” Wambugu said.

“The Presidency is not a relay race between the Kalenjin and the Kikuyu. It is  time for other Kenyans to lead!” Said Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay Town).

Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo, said, “The President spoke the truth! The presidency cannot be a preserve of two communities for 58 years since independence; In a  multi-ethnic society of over 50 ethnicities! Such is what breeds ethnic contempt and national tension. Let the presidency rotate!”

But their Ndia counterpart George Kariuki faulted the President. “We should not dim dreams of a Kenyan child to be President because of tribe.

The President might have slipped by uttering such statements and it might be due to bad advice from a section of opposition leaders.” 

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