What livid Uhuru told Ruto during State House lecture

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020 00:00 | By
President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses residents of Subukia in Nakuru county when he inspected the construction of a 65km road, yesterday. Photo/PSCU

A closely guarded meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto on Monday afternoon came against a backdrop of tense relations between the two Jubilee Party leaders.

The President is said to have summoned his deputy in the morning, but the meeting did not start until after two hours of Ruto’s arrival at State House, Nairobi, where none of the officials present were willing to confirm the talks.

However, it has now emerged that the President used the meeting to express his displeasure with his deputy’s “outright rebellious conduct” and opposition to Uhuru’s desire to unite the country by working with opposition leaders.

The two, who lately appear to be reading from different scripts on a number of national issues, especially since the March 9, 2018 Handshake between the President and Opposition chief Raila Odinga, sat together for close to four hours. 

“The President told Ruto to his face that he has to stop the insubordination as well as frustrating his (Uhuru’s) unity efforts,” a highly placed told People Daily yesterday.

Sounding bullish

 “He (Uhuru) told the DP that if he thought he was going to stop him from working with Raila in the unity bid he was daydreaming,” the source said.

And yesterday, while speaking in Nakuru County where he presided over the launch of a new cement factory, the President continued with the same tone, sounding bullish in defence of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) project and his relationship with Raila.

Addressing Nakuru residents, the President warned that he will not be intimidated  by anybody over the BBI.

“I will not be shaken. That is the position I have taken and I will move forward in that direction. I want to ensure Kenyans enjoy peace during elections every five years,” he said.

Notably, this was his second visit to the county this month, both trips unaccompanied by the DP.

On Monday, a team of pro-Ruto MPs addressed a press conference after a night meeting in Naivasha and vowed to hold their own BBI meetings in defiance of the President’s plea for unity.

The team had allegedly used the meeting to lay down strategies to support the DP’s 2022 presidential campaigns.

Yesterday, sources told People Daily that the President was incensed with the planned parallel BBI rallies and is reported to have told the DP to stop his lieutenants, otherwise known as Tanga Tanga team, from engaging in activities that might be perceived as a rebellion.

Fuelling rebellion

Uhuru, according to sources, expressed concern to the DP that he was the one fuelling the rebellion and that he was aware that he (Ruto) had sanctioned the Naivasha caucus which Jubilee Party secretary general Raphael Tuju said was not a Parliamentary Group meeting. 

On Monday, Ruto is said to have arrived at State House, accompanied by a bodyguard and a driver, a few minutes past 10 am.

After the President’s “lecture”, the DP is said to explained that Raila’s role in government had not been spelt out and questioned why he seemed to wield immense powers .

“He wanted his boss to tell him what role Raila is playing in government, particularly on the issue of senior government officials including Cabinet Secretaries consulting him,” our source said.

Ruto is also said to have accused Raila’s camp of having declared an “all-out war” on him, which he said was clearly calculated to impede his 2022 presidential bid.

Ruto is said to have complained to his boss that the BBI campaign, despite it being a novel project, seems to have been hijacked by Raila and his Orange Democratic Movement.  

The DP is said to have left State House a few minutes to 3pm.

Ruto and his group have been criss-crossing the country attending harambees and church functions which have been used to rally support for his presidential ambitions despite a warning from his boss against early campaigns.

Ruto’s lieutenants have also questioned the motive of the BBI as well as Uhuru anti-corruption crusade, saying it was targeting their man.

The most vocal members of the group include Senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgego Marakwet), Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho), Samson Cherargei (Nandi), Susan Kihika (Nakuru); MPs Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Alice Wahome (Kandara), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu) and Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu).

Impeachment claims

Others are Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira), Nelson Koech (Belgut), Oscar Sudi (Kapseret) and Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati), all who have expressed discomfort with Uhuru’s relationship with Raila and the BBI project.

During the Naivasha meeting, the group said they would be holding parallel meetings starting this Saturday in Nakuru, setting the stage for a duel with the Uhuru-backed Raila group which will be holding theirs in Kitui the same day.

But yesterday, Uhuru allies, led by Minority Leader in the National Assembly John Mbadi and Minority Whip Junet Mohammed, said the meeting claimed the Naivasha meeting had discussed impeachment of the President.

“We are aware that some of the issues they discussed was impeachment of the President. We dare them to bring it on. They must know that they are too few, too small and minute to the system of government in the country,” Junet told a press conference at Parliament Buildings attended by 32 ODM and Jubilee MPs.

A Tanga Tanga group press conference meant to respond to the impeachment claim planned for yesterday evening was cancelled without explanation.

Last week,  during a TV interview, Ruto acknowledged that some of his allies have been making utterances that could be interpreted as disrespectful to the President, but said he was unable to restrain them.

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