By Mourice Seretta
Over the weekend while meeting various delegations at Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri, President Uhuru Kenyatta for the first time publicly rebuked his Deputy President Wiliam Ruto’s ‘Hustler Nation Movement’ that seeks to empower the jobless but educated youth in the country with wheelbarrows and handcarts.
Speaking in Chaka, Nyeri County on Sunday before meeting youths at Sagana State Lodge, the Head of State rubbished the narrative by a section of leaders allied to his deputy that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) was meant to favour the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga.
“It has been claimed that BBI is meant to help Raila. What help does Raila want? Someone who is almost 76 years old.You claim this document is for Raila, which ward does he represent in Ruiru? If more money is allocated to Ruiru, will it benefit Raila or the people of Ruiru? That is nonsense,” Uhuru said.
Uhuru further said that he consulted widely and reached out to various stakeholders before kicking off the BBI process, whose intention, he maintained, is to safeguard the rights and liberties of every Kenyan.
“From the wide consultation, it is clear that BBI will unite the country, entrench peace as well as ensure equity, fairness and justice,” President Kenyatta told the delegates who included leaders of business, community, women, youth and other interest groups.
Once again, the Head of State reiterated his commitment to leaving behind a legacy of a peaceful and united country where every Kenyan will enjoy their socio-economic and political rights without the fear of infringement, saying BBI will help achieve that goal.
“I want to leave the country in a state where those in leadership are accountable for their actions and no one can misuse their authority to trample on the rights of the citizens,” President Kenyatta said.
Uhuru who came short of saying that his deputy will not be trusted to run the country after he retires in 2022 said that his deputy was dishonest and an enemy of Mt Kenya region as he was against what was to benefit the region, BBI.
The President gave his backyard of Mt Kenya a picture of DP Ruto as an impatient and conniving politician who cannot be trusted to safeguard the future of Mt Kenya.
Uhuru outlined to his Mt Kenya backyard that his Deputy Ruto has been frustrating proposals to have the region benefit through equity in revenue sharing and that Ruto was misleading local leaders and voters by giving them handouts as he seeks to bolster his 2022 campaign for the presidency.
The President directly asked his people especially the youth not to accept the wheelbarrows being issued by his deputy to them saying that it is only through policies that they will benefit and not through handouts, wheelbarrows and handcarts.
“You claim you are the solution to the young people, you are giving them wheelbarrows, who told you that they need wheelbarrows? They need jobs, they want to be self-dependent,” Uhuru said.
Over the weekend, the President while meeting several delegations from the Mountain region as he sought to consolidate the region to his side to support BBI also offered that he owed no ‘political debt’ to anyone, in a direct response to close allies of DP Ruto who have been saying that in 2013 when Uhuru and Ruto formed government, Uhuru had promised to endorse Ruto to take over from him and run government for ten years.
Uhuru said that what Ruto was doing in Mt Kenya by way of his charm offensive of traversing the region ahead of 2022 was a kin to someone who was wooing a lady who another man had already settled her bride price.
The President explained that the bride were the gains in BBI which include more resources to counties and extra constituencies which would ensure more money to the regions.
“The promises being given to you today are akin to a young man going to pay dowry, together with his family… you first visit the lady’s home to inform the parents. You mark the territory and you are given a day to pay dowry after successfully negotiating the price and plan how to settle it,” he said.
In a quick rejoinder, on Sunday while attending a funds drive in Kilgoris, Narok County, DP Ruto said no one owed him a ‘political debt’ and that the only debt he has was one of helping President Kenyatta unite Kenya.
”I supported President Kenyatta in 2013 and 2017 without conditions. The Head of State should not be pushed to backing my 2022 candidature,” Ruto said.
The second in command asked leaders to stop being disturbed by the so-called politics of debt. He argued that he was engaging in politics not because of the alleged debts but because of his vision to empower ordinary Kenyans.