MALINDI, Kenya Feb 6 – Deputy President William Ruto has criticised Opposition leaders banking on Jubilee party endorsement for the 2022 presidential race.
However, he noted that such a scheme would not bear fruits, adding that Kenya was past the politics of endorsements.
“You cannot be in the Opposition and bank on an endorsement from Jubilee. Go out and engage with Kenyans,” he said without naming them even though he was understood to refer to former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi and Senator Gideon Moi of KANU who have lately warmed up to president Uhuru Kenyatta.
Ruto observed that leaders must stop what he described as “political conmanship of wandering around Jubilee.”
Ruto has openly fallen out with President Uhuru Kenyatta after voicing opposition to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) which the Head of State is championing with Odinga after their 2018 handshake.
While Ruto sees the pact as a ploy to lock him out of the race to succeed President Kenyatta whose second and final term ends next year, the two say the BBI process holds the key to ending perennial violence during and after elections and will boost development across the country.
“Organise yourselves politically. We do not want a recurrence of a fake swearing-in ceremony,” he added, in an apparent reference to the 2017 swearing-in of Odinga as the People’s President when he lost the election to Kenyatta in a repeat poll ordered after the cancellation of initial results by the Supreme Court.
The Deputy President explained that leaders are defined by their development credentials, policies and agendas.
He spoke Friday during a series of meetings and empowerment programmes in Kilifi and Mombasa Counties accompanied by some of the local leaders among them Aisha Jumwa.
“We are for the economic empowerment of ordinary Kenyans. Our model is that of uplifting millions of Kenyans who are at the base of the wealth pyramid,” he explained.
He said he was contented that Kenya’s conversation was shifting from politicians, power and positions to basic issues about ordinary people.
He refuted claims that the hustler and wheelbarrow narrative was meant to incite economic classes clash.
“We believe in win-win; if the poor are empowered, it will be helpful at the peak of the wealth pyramid.”
Kilifi North MP Owen Baya said Coast region would rally Dr Ruto because of his drive to change the economic status of the ordinary Kenyans.
“We are past empty rhetorics. Kenyans want a leader with solid history in transforming the lives of the people,” he said.
Jumwa observed that the ongoing intimidations and threats would not change their resolve to rally behind Ruto.
She appealed to the youth to shun leaders who use them to cause instability in the country.
“We can change this country but not through violence,” she argued.
Former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar said the only endorsement leaders can get is from Kenyans.
“There are no low-lying fruits in politics. You must sell yourself and what you stand for to the people,” he said.