The simmering rebellion against Deputy President William Ruto in Central Kenya seems to be gathering momentum after top leaders from the region openly accused him of sponsoring attacks against President Uhuru Kenyatta.
A number of lawmakers from the region have in the recent days had ugly altercation with Uhuru over what they claimed is systematic starving of the area which overwhelmingly voted for him in both 2013 and 2017 polls.
Yesterday former Presidential candidate and Justice minister Martha Karua launched a scathing attack on Ruto accusing him of using proxies to clandestinely throw tantrums at the President.
“The DP is throwing punches using the shield of his supporters. He cannot distance himself from his supporters,” the Narc Kenya Party leader said during a morning TV show.
A group of leaders from Mt. Kenya calling themselves the future of the region also declared war on Ruto and vowed to ignore the DP’s sympathizers and instead “go for the owner of the dog”.
But Ruto through his Communication Secretary David Mugonyi dismissed his accusers as busy bodies seeking relevance after being rejected by voters in the last election.
“There are a few who want to twist this matter for cheap political gain to remain relevant. The Deputy President respects and is loyal to his boss, the President. Any other view from political brokers should be treated with contempt,”Mugonyi said.
But the Mount Kenya leaders declared they owe no one any political debt and will cast their votes to whoever will give them the best deal in 2022.
While coming together in 2013, Ruto agreed to play second fiddle to Uhuru with the President pledging to back his deputy for the country’s top job after his ten year term.
But the 18 leaders led by Karua and former presidential candidates Peter Kenneth distanced the region from such a deal maintaining no one is entitled to the support of the vote-rich Mt. Kenya.
In what appears to be shifting realignment in the region, Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu who had been one of Ruto’s point men in the region joined the pro-Uhuru team declaring an all out war on the DP and his men.
“Anybody is entitled to seek any seat he or she wants. Nobody is the presumptive president in 2022. Nobody is entitled to presidency from any quarters and Kenya is bigger than any two communities, ” Karua said during a press conference at Serena Hotel.
Former Education assistant minister Kilemi Mwiria warned unnamed leaders who he claimed have already launched a scaremongering campaign of possible inter-community violence if Mt. Kenya communities fail to support Ruto’s 2022 bid.
“There is a team going round the country and making it look like it is a Kalenjin/Kikuyu matter. That if we don’t do this the people will fight in Rift Valley. This county is not just about Rift Valley. There are some other Kenyans,” the former Tigania East MP said.
“This country is not about Kalenjins and Kikuyus just because they have produced presidents for the last 50 years.”
Nominated senator Isaac Mwaura was more blunt cautioning that Mt. Kenya is open for any suitor.
“Anybody who thinks he can come to our bedroom and impregnate our women and children and dictate to us who is we will vote, am telling that person your time is up we will speak with one voice,” Mwaura said.”Our region will negotiate with whoever is going to give us the best deal.”
The leaders also demanded respect for President Kenyatta and cautioned Ruto’s sympathisers from the region fond of attacking the President over alleged marginalisation in the area.
“There must be respect even if there is divergence of views. We can address this things with a lot of decorum, ” Kenneth said.
“People are struggling to make their names by attacking the President. Very soon they are going to regret and that is why you have seen some have started apologising,” Waititu added.
Jubilee secretary general Raphael Tuju also told off Uhuru’s critics over resource distribution and warned against ethnic driven politics.
“Jubilee represents every part of our county, every group in our nation and is committed to uniting Kenyans under a shared vision of peace, progress and prosperity. Kenyans are ready for a more sophisticated political debate based on ideas and vision; we are ready to take the first bold step away from ethnically based politics,” Tuju said quoting the Jubilee constitution.
He brushed off the voices of discord arguing that Uhuru had embarked on healing the county and burying the ghosts of political violence related to elections.
“We don’t expect that journey to be easy given our political history over the last century,” he said.
“Bringing this country together is work in progress. It is not just an incident of few leaders coming together at different times. It is and must be the work of all of us,” he added.
He explained that Building Bridges Initiatives commonly known as handshake was one means of uniting Kenya calling for all Jubilee members to support the initiative.