NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 14 – Youth leaders from Mt.Kenya region have condemned Deputy President William Ruto and a section of leaders allied to him for rallying Kenyans to boycott Capital FM’s Breaking News service.
The Mt. Kenya Youth Caucus, Kiambu Chapter particularly took issue with DP Ruto who on Saturday profiled the station by posting a message showing that he had unsubscribed from the premium service, with his allies taking the cue and making unsubstantiated accusations of bias against the station. The station denies the claim.
“Last night, Deputy President William Ruto embarked on a sustained attack on one of the media houses, urging his supporters to unsubscribe from their news alert services – the crime being that the said media house reported of an incident that happened in Isiolo where he was booed,” the group said in a statement, terming it a “Trump playbook.”
It all started when Ruto tweeted a message after unsubscribing from the channel.
The tweet was followed shortly after by Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi who rallied the hustler nation supporters to boycott the channel.
Belgut MP Nelson Koech too tweeted a message he received after unsubscribing from Nation Media Group’s Breaking News Channel.
But the worst attack came from Aaron Cheruiyot, the Kericho Senator, who retweeted Ruto’s message with a warning to Citizen TV that broadcast the heckling in Isiolo.
The action followed reporting on Ruto’s Isiolo visit, where he was heckled in one of the areas he visited, a story carried by all the stations above.
Following the tweets by the leaders, Kenyans posted mixed reactions, with others recalling the boycot campaign started by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga on select products when he lost the elections to President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017.
As people posted messages showing they had unsubscribed, others posted messages showing they had subscribed to the premium service.
The Media Council of Kenya has condemned the action, and was set to issue a formal statement.
During the Isiolo tour, the DP declared he will not resign, a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta said it is tie he considered quitting instead of criticising the government from within.
“I will continue working as the Deputy President of Kenya, because that is my position under the Constitution,” Ruto declared at a rally in Isiolo for his hustler nation empowerment program.
He also sought to clarify that “There is absolutely no contest between my boss and I. I respect the decision of the His Excellency The President, and the President calls the shots, he is in charge and he takes all decisions and i have not countermanded any decision.
Ruto spoke a day after President Kenyatta criticised him for employing doublespeak on the Jubilee government’s development record.
“You can’t be speaking of the failures of a government where you serve while at the same time outlining what you refer to as we have achieved as a government. You better resign,” Kenyatta said when he addressed residents of Uthiru after commissioning a health centre put up by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services.
But Ruto has defended himself saying that he has always been respectful to the President even when he felt he was being undermined in the performance of his duty under the Constitution.
“I have never said anything against the President out of respect, even if the work I am mandated to be doing as a Deputy President is being done by others, I have also respected that decision, because I want unity in our nation of Kenya.”
When the president spoke in Uthiru on Friday, he accused Ruto of double speak for highlighting failures and successes of the government at the same time yet he serves in it.
“That is double speak, you can’t be speaking of the failures of a government where you serve while at the same time outlining what you refer to as we have achieved as a government. You better resign,” Kenyatta said when he addressed residents of Uthiru after commissioning a health centre put up by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).