NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 10 – Deputy President William Ruto toured Kisii region on Friday, despite violent protests that rocked the town ahead of his visit.
Police were forced to use teargas or fire into the air to disperse a group of youth who clashed in the early hours of Friday, as a section of local leaders led by Deputy Governor Joash Maangi prepared for his Ruto’s visit.
Several of the youths were injured, and others arrested when police dispersed the group that had lit bonfires in the town to block the road to Nyamarambe where the DP was scheduled to hold a meeting.
One of the faction was supporting Ruto’s visit, while others were opposed to the political meeting, leading to a violent clash that paralysed operations in the town for the better part of the morning before Ruto arrived.
“Those misusing security apparatus of the country must stop. Police officers and provincial administrators must be respected and let free to serve Kenyans,” Ruto said, accusing Inspector-General of Police Hilary Mutyambai of leaning into politics.
Addressing roadside rallies on his way to Kitutu Chache South and South Mugirango for boda boda, women and youth groups empowerment programmes, the Deputy President said it was regrettable that the police were being abused to “meet certain political goals”.
“Those public servants thinking that they can use the police to intimidate and coerce Kenyans must know that their days are numbered,” he said.
If they would like to join politics, Ruto added, they must stop hiding behind the police and quit the public service job.
“Let them come over and face me in the political arena. I am ready for them,” he declared.
Leaders who accompanied him were the Kisii County Deputy Governor, MPs Sylvanus Osoro (South Mugirango), Vincent Kemosi (West Mugirango), Alpha Miruka (Bomachoge Chache), John Kiarie (Dagoretti South), among others.
At the same time, Ruto asked leaders to shun what he described as “petty politics of engaging youths in creating disharmony in society.”
“Instead of paying them (youths) to cause chaos and confusion to the leaders you differ with, engage them in gainful activities that would make their lives better,” the Deputy President explained.
He said he was committed to competing with other leaders but on issues, development track record and ideologies that would transform Kenya.
Ruto said he was ripe to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022 because “I know the main problems facing Kenya: poverty and youth unemployment”.
“I have the capacity to deliver on this. That is why I am committed to supporting small businesses to help them recover from the COVID-19 crisis and stimulate their growth.”
Maangi, who led a group of MCAs to Ruto’s Karen residence last week, asked leaders not to engage in divisive and ethnic-based politics that risked tearing apart the country’s social fabric.
“Let us endeavour to be progressive in our politics,” he said.
On his part, Osoro castigated the Opposition for being deeply involved in the medical supplies scandal that has rocked the country.
“If they can steal this much in less than a year since the Handshake, what would happen to our country when they take power?” Posed the South Mugirango legislator.