Ruto, Raila trade blame for Jubilee ‘flopped agenda’
Eric Wainaina and Irene Githinji
Careful not to drag his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta into a political quagmire, Deputy President William Ruto acknowledged Jubilee Party’s manifesto was hard to realise because the ‘Handshake’ has stood in the way of development.
And he blamed Opposition leader Raila Odinga for the underdevelopment. And equally careful not to upset his ally and Handshake partner, Odinga, in attacking Jubilee’s track record, stopped short of calling out Uhuru.
And as the duo tried to sell their 2022 political agenda, none could successfully pitch without trying hard not to upset Uhuru.
The war of words between Ruto and Raila over the ‘Handshake’ and 2022 politics escalated with the DP asking the Orange Democratic Movement leader to quit his association with President Uhuru, claiming it was frustrating the Jubilee agenda.
The two who have been on each other’s throats, while speaking in Nairobi and Kericho, respectively, yesterday, accused each other of disrespecting the President who has lately been reading from a different script with his deputy.
While Raila and his allies accused Ruto of allegedly presiding over massive graft in government and being unfit to hold any public office, the DP accused Raila of being “mannerless” and coming up with alternative priorities that have put on hold everything the Jubilee wanted to do under the Big Four agenda through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
“BBI will improve our economy. Corruption in government has led to our economy getting worse. SGR was a project of former President (Mwai) Kibaki and Raila.
But when they came, they inflated the cost by Sh160 billion. That money was stolen and it is being used to fly with helicopters and running fundraisers.
Those people should be in Kamiti not loitering around,” Odinga said during a church service at Saint Joachim and Anne Catholic Church in Nairobi’s Kayole.
But while speaking at African Inland Church in Londiani, Kericho — his North Rift backyard — Ruto accused ODM leader of causing confusion and shifting priorities to changing the Constitution.
Ruto, who was responding to a challenge by Raila to demonstrate his development record, turned the heat on the ODM leader by also asking him to tell the country what he had done for it in previous appointments as Prime Minister and Cabinet minister.
Ruto accused Raila of being ungrateful to the Jubilee government that accommodated him and asked the Orange party leader to go back to the Opposition.
“You cannot come and lecture us about why things have not happened - why we have not created the 2 million jobs we promised when you are the one who has brought confusion.
You have even told us that the Big 4 is not a priority, that changing the constitution is the priority.”
“We want you to understand that the Jubilee administration decided on clear priorities.
Unfortunately, we have been occupied with changing the Constitution to create a few jobs and positions for the big boys at the expense of creating jobs for millions of ordinary Kenyans because of the change in priorities occasioned and confusion brought about by the people who came from the other side,” said Ruto.
The DP added: “If it has been difficult for you, you can as well leave but do so quietly, there is no need for so much noise.
We know what you are planning, you want to leave but you first want to cause confusion before leaving.”
But, Raila said neither him nor Uhuru would abandon the constitutional reform project, stating: “We took an oath and therefore Uhuru will not change, Raila will also not change handshake and BBI.”
He criticised the DP for allegedly selling propaganda about the BBI and trying to incite Kenyans, adding that the Deputy President was trying to run away from the lies he gave to Kenyans during campaigns.
“There are people who lied. In six months, we will give laptops, create one million jobs, building 47 state of the art stadiums and thousands of kilometers of roads.
Now they have forgotten that, where are the jobs, the laptops, or the stadiums? They are selling propaganda over BBI as they give out wheelbarrows.
There is no one who wants to be a wheelbarrow pusher. They do it because of a lack of options. Giving out wheelbarrows is an insult,” Raila said.
ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna who had accompanied Raila said the party was not about to quit the handshake and that they would not be swayed by claims by Ruto’s allies that Raila was being hoodwinked by President Uhuru.
“As ODM we will not abandon Uhuru. Wherever he will go, we will be there. There are people who are claiming that Raila is being lied to, can’t Raila also hoodwink people?” Sifuna asked.
At the same time, Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka sustained his onslaught against the DP, who he accused of interfering with the Ukambani politics through his United Democratic Alliance party.
“As a community, we are under attack. We are in a spiritual warfare also and we must rise up and pray for this country.
The time has come to separate the sheep and the wolves, “ said Kalonzo while addressing congregants of Africa Inland Church (AIC) Kasina in Mlolongo.
Nominated MP Maina Kamanda, who accompanied Raila in Kayole, told off those fighting the handshake, saying were it not for the unity between the top leaders, many people would have died.
“Nairobians know that were it not for the handshake, many people would be dead. Handshake brought peace and unity.
I am a member of Jubilee but where Uhuru and Raila are, you will see me. Young people do not accept to be manipulated by thieves.
The new dawn is BBI, through Uhuru and Raila, Kenya is one,” Kamanda said.
Ruto has heightened his opposition to the BBI project, which has proposed an expanded executive and Parliament. Kenyans are expected to go to a referendum this year to anchor the reforms in the Constitution.
National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohammed said it was laughable Ruto has been crying foul that the Jubilee administration had failed but claims he is the best alternative.
“Ruto is coming here to say that Jubilee has been unable and claims that he will solve the problem. How can you solve a problem that you are part of?” he asked.
Mathare MP Antony Oluoch said that Raila was in the No campaign in 2005 and in the Yes team in 2010, both of which he won.
“Raila has never lost referendum politics in the history of this country. And this will not be the first time Raila will lose,” Oluoch said.