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Stop fuelling ethnic tensions, Ruto tells Uhuru on presidency remark

Deputy President William Ruto yesterday criticised President Kenyatta, accusing him of stoking chaos with his remarks that the presidency had become the property of just two tribes.

The DP said the statements by Mr Kenyatta and other leaders who spoke in Vihiga County on Saturday risked taking the country back to the chaos witnessed after the 2007 elections.

The 2007 turmoil, which landed Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, claimed about 1,300 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands.

While he did not mention Mr Kenyatta by name, this was one of the many occasions the DP has told off his boss in their political exchanges since they started pulling in opposite directions.

Mr Ruto said that his decision to support President Kenyatta in the last three elections was not based on tribe, but rather his agenda for the country, and that no Kenyan should be barred from running for office based on tribe, social status or background.

“Many of the people who were speaking yesterday [Saturday] are the same people who told me that you cannot support another Kikuyu. And I told them that I’m not supporting Uhuru Kenyatta because of his tribe, I’m supporting [him] because we have a plan to transform this country,” the DP said.

Common man

President Kenyatta, while speaking during the burial of Mama Hannah Atsianzale, the mother of ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi, said the time had come for Kikuyu and Kalenjin communities let other tribes rule Kenya.

But the DP, accompanied by leaders allied to his Tangatanga wing of the ruling Jubilee Party, said the conversation should be about issues affecting the common man.

While it was not a must for him to ascend to the presidency, he said, every Kenyan must be invited to the negotiating table, in spite of their background or income.

“Don’t tell us about tribes; we want to have a conversation about every hustle. Don’t tell us that we want to discuss power, yes we discuss power to be shared by the big boys and us the leaders we must also have a conversation about empowerment, about ordinary people to chase their dreams as well,” the DP said.

“It’s not negotiable. If anybody is uncomfortable with that conversation or it’s difficult for whatever reason, unfortunately, we must have it,” he added

Other leaders present in the church service accused Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala and Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli of misleading the President, by advising him to rein in those opposed to the BBI in his Mt Kenya backyard.

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wah, Rigathi Gachagua of Mathira and Ndindi Nyoro of Kiharu said the Mt Kenya region had suffered enough neglect under the leadership of President Kenyatta, and that those perceived as rebels were already experiencing the hardships and punishments from the government.

Paying taxes

“We can’t be useful when paying taxes and during the elections voting for you, and become useless when we request for an opportunity at the table with everyone else,” Mr Nyoro said.

“We don’t want any favours. As the Hustler Nation, we’re ready and organised. Let the competition between the hustlers and the dynasties begin,” Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria said.

The DP in his address said that, for the first time, everyone will be included in the conversation about the leadership of the country.  He added that the table was big enough for everybody.

“Don’t drive us to the narrative of exclusion, of tribes and tribal chiefs. All cards will be on the table. You can’t tell us that we’re going to have a conversation about positions only, about the prime minister, President and the rest.

“We must have a conversation — a serious conversation about millions of people who don’t have jobs and when they are going to have jobs. And that is what the Hustler Nation is saying,” Mr Ruto said.