Nick Ruto with his father Deputy President William Ruto after having lunch at Jojen Hotel in Dagoretti Corner, Nairobi on February 19, 2017. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP
While many of us only know the meaning of the phrase ‘like father, like son’, Nick Kipkurgat Ruto, son of Deputy President William Ruto, is living it.
The lawyer-cum-businessman is slowly following in his father’s political footsteps— including charity.
Even though he has not declared his interest in politics, the younger Ruto has in the recent past been making indications that he is cautiously eying a seat.
If not seeking votes for himself, with unconfirmed reports indicating that he is targeting Turbo Constituency, Nick could be clearing the way for his father to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022.
At the moment, the Nation has established that Nick, his close allies and Jubilee youth have mapped out the country, just as his father, in a bid to reach out to churches and youth groups in what they claim is “giving back to the society.”
Nick Ruto, the son of Deputy President William Ruto, and Jubilee youth leader Victor Ayugi at a funds drive at Nyamasore Catholic Church in Rarieda, Siaya County on October 6, 2019. PHOTO | JUSTUS OCHIENG’ | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Jubilee Youth League official Victor Ayugi, one of Nick’s close confidants, told the Nation that they have outlined how they will crisscross the country “to conduct fundraisers for churches and the youth in a bid to empower them.”
“This should not, however, be misconstrued to mean we are politicking. It has nothing to do with 2022,” Mr Ayugi was quick to add.
On Sunday, the Nick’s brigade— including Mr. Ayugi, George Maina and Brian Mundinia and other close associates— stormed Siaya, the stronghold and home county of his father’s perceived political antagonist Raila Odinga.
Here, they conducted a fundraiser in aid of Nyamasore Catholic Church in Rarieda Constituency.
The raised Sh800,000 with the younger Ruto giving a personal contribution of Sh250,000.
‘NOT ABOUT POLITICS’
Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju hails from the constituency where he served as MP between 2002 and 2007.
Speaking during the funds drive, DP’s son steered clear of politics, only advising parents “to bring up their children in church.”
“In order for parents to instil good values in their children, it is important to bring them up in the church,” he said.
“At the moment, there are many challenges youth are encountering and it is only through discipline and fear of God that they can overcome.”
He promised to continue assisting the church and youth in a bid to help build the “Houses of the Lord” and uplift the living standards of young people.
Mr Ayugi noted that from Siaya, they will be in Nairobi for a similar event and in Migori County at a date to be announced later before moving to other parts of Kenya.
“It should be noted that it is not about politics but giving back to the society,” Mr Ayugi reiterated.
Nick Ruto, the son of Deputy President William Ruto, receives a ram as a gift after a funds drive at Nyamasore Catholic Church in Rarieda, Siaya County on October 6, 2019. PHOTO | JUSTUS OCHIENG’ | NATION MEDIA GROUP
TESTING THE WATERS
Other sources confided in the Nation that DP’s son could be testing the waters in Nyanza region to reach out to the youth on his father’s behalf ahead of 2022 elections.
The deputy president has only visited Luo Nyanza once since 2017 elections.
He has, however, been to Kisii and Kuria regions a couple of times.
“Because Nick has not been involved in any combative politics, he is seen as a man who can easily appease the youth in Luo Nyanza region and therefore his visits are crucial to his father than his personal political ambitions in Uasin Gishu, if any,” said a confidant of DP’s son who spoke on condition of anonymity fearing reprisals.
The source noted that if Nick’s countrywide tours have nothing to do with his father’s ambition, then he would only concentrate in his constituency of interest in the Rift Valley.
Political analyst Prof Herman Manyora also says Nick’s visits are all about his father’s 2022 politics.
“The only way the children are doing their things instead of their father’s thing is if they are engaged in community work,” he said.
“In developed countries, you have the daughters and sons on kings and presidents engaged in philanthropy like setting up foundations, dealing with problems in the world such as malaria, HIV Aids and vulnerable children; that way he can tell us he has nothing to do with politics.”
He went on: “But if you go and do meetings engaging with people, that is just politics you are doing on behalf of your father. He (Nick) should engage in philanthropy then we will know it is not politics he is playing.”
He said the DP’s son should establish “a niche route of foundation— dealing with, for example, the problem of tsetse flies in Homa Bay and Migori or widows on the shores of Lake Victoria engaged in sex for fish, otherwise he is just a mouthpiece of Ruto.”
The DP has been engaged in a war of word with Odinga over his elephant donations to churches.
Whereas Mr Odinga accused Dr Ruto of using the church “for money laundering,” the DP faults Mr Odinga for being “stingy”.
But the Catholic Church on Tuesday declared that moving forward, before gifting any religious leader of the Church, you should write a letter of acknowledgment, but know that records will be kept for amounts exceeding Sh50,000.
The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops announced this, among several other measures, to end corruption in the church, and by extension in the country, in its nationwide anti-graft campaign that was launched on Saturday at the Subukia Shrine in Nakuru County.
The drive will run for the next six months.
The bishops admitted that corruption had infiltrated the church with some politicians donating ill-gotten money to houses of worship.