NAIROBI, Kenya Sept 26 -Deputy President William Ruto and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga went for each other Sunday, over the slogan used by the DP to woo voters ahead of next year’s General Election.
Odinga dismissed the slogan by the Hustler Nation as “outdated” and one that offers no practical solutions to challenges facing the youth.
Speaking when he addressed a roadside rally in Laikipia County, the opposition leader accused Ruto of failing on his promises to better the lives of youths and resorting to excuses and cheaper solutions to complex youths’ problems.
Odinga said he has a vision for the youth that will ensure they remain competitive in the global scene especially in the area of digital and information economy.
“We can follow in the steps of the Asian giants, where they have been able to move over 2 million youths into the employment bracket. But they must be accorded the necessary skills and opportunities. We don’t want to see a situation where we train our youth and then someone comes and tells them any job is better than no job,” he said.
But Ruto who toured Makutano in Meru County told off the former Prime Minister, describing him as being part of the cabal of leaders who have no solution to problems facing the youth.
He said Raila and and other presidential candidates have not demonstrated what solution they have for Kenya, and were instead attacking him and his strategy.
“Those bosses are plotting a plan against us (hustler nation). I hear seven, eight or nine bosses have formed a gang. Even if they arrange themselves in what style, can a gang of seven politicians really defeat the hustler nation?” Ruto posed.
“We want to tell them that the elections which will be held next year will be a lesson to those who are filled with politics of pride,” he added.
The DP has hinged his 2022 presidential campaigns around the hustler movement, which is meant to appeal to the majority of poor who he considers to be hard-working Kenyans always looking for opportunities.
Odinga who has not declared whether he will be making his fifth attempt for the presidency has been touring various parts of the country where he has promised to position Kenya as an ICT and e-commerce hub as a way to make local youths become competitive globally.
Ruto has set himself on a competing stage with Odinga and other presidential aspirants, many of them former National Super Alliance (NASA) principals.
In June this year, the president declared that he would pick his 2022 successor from among the former National Super Alliance (NASA) principals if they unite and agree on a single candidate.
They include Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi(ANC), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper party) and Moses Wetangula (Ford Kenya).
The last three have lately teamed up with Senator Gideon Moi of KANU to form the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) but they are yet to declare their flag bearer.
Recently, the head of state has had a series of meetings with the former NASA principals with details emerging that one of the top agendas was on the 2022 succession politics.
Odinga, Mudavadi, Kalonzo, Moi and Wetangula have all criticised Ruto for propagating the Hustler Nation narrative hinged on the bottom up economic model which they say can not work.
“Let them dismiss the hustler nation at their own cost,” Ruto said, “the hustler nation is well prepared and it has a plan to form the next government next year.”
Ruto stated that the challenge facing Kenyans is that very few people are paying taxes as most Kenyans are unemployed leading to dependence on foreign debts.
“Don’t tell us things you don’t know about bottom-up economic model. Last time I checked you guys thought it was all about alcoholic consumption competition. Shame on you!” Ruto scoffed, in reference to Mudavadi’s recent remarks.
Mudavadi had dismissed the ‘bottom-up economic model narrative, saying it does not offer practical solutions for the economy. According to the ANC leader Kenyans need an urgent solution to public debt and corruption, not new models.
“How will the bottom-up model lower taxes so that prices of commodities come down and citizens have markets for farm produce?” Mudavadi posed.
Ruto further launched a scathing attack against his boss Kenyatta and Odinga who pushed for the botched plan to change the Constitution through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) that was declared null and void by the court before they filed a challenge that is pending at the Supreme Court.
“As hustler nation we are telling them to shelve their plans when it comes to creating additional positions for certain individuals until we have strengthened the economy,” Ruto stated.
Ruto dismissed claims that the hustler narrative that he has been pushing across the country is divisive saying its agenda is aimed at propelling economic growth among the ordinary Kenyans.
“I hear they are saying I am dividing Kenyans. When I say stop changing the constitution first to create positions for certain individuals and focus on improving the economy, is that creating division between the rich and the poor,? he posed.