Deputy President William Ruto on Friday pledged unwavering loyalty to President Uhuru Kenyatta, promising to ensure projects the government initiates are implemented.
Amid rising voices from the Kieleweke grouping, made up of politicians whose main bone of contention has been the DP’s defiance to his boss, Dr Ruto sought to set the record straight, saying he would personally ensure all Jubilee Party members obeyed the President.
In a message laden with reminders to his critics of how the ruling party came to be, the DP said he and Mr Kenyatta agreed to unite the country and set the foundation for development.
“All of us, and I speak on behalf of all Jubilee leaders, are behind you. We understand where we started. We said then that Jubilee would focus on two things. One; to unite the country … unite all the tribes … people from all religions … we stand with you without wavering,” he said in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, where the President relaunched the Rivatex textile factory.
“Two; we agreed that our politics must change so we can focus on development. We are revamping Rivatex. We are with you 100 per cent and we are not faltering.
MT KENYA MPs
Dr Ruto’s critics point at a group of his allies, who have been going around the country promoting his 2022 bid for the presidency, despite Mr Kenyatta’s repeated call for politicking to be set aside for the sake of nationwide development.
Members of the Tangatanga faction, mostly from Central Kenya, have accused the President of failing to initiate key projects in the region.
In addition, lawmakers from the Rift Valley say he has betrayed them following his March 9, 2018 handshake with Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga.
Tangatanga received a tongue-lashing from the President at Kasarani Stadium last Sunday, when he warned against any attempts to disobey him.
President Uhuru Kenyatta (C). Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka, Deputy President William Ruto and other leaders during the relaunch of Rivatex textile factory in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, on June 21, 2019. PHOTO | DPPS
Dr Ruto on Friday appeared to pour cold water on the claims of disloyalty and disrespect, further saying he would ensure all those backing him toed the line.
“You are the country’s leader. The people of Uasin Gishu do not have any other leader but you. We are behind you, front and back, left and right, top and bottom, valleys and mountains,” he told President Kenyatta.
“We are with you and we will ensure the Big Four [and other projects are implemented and that there is] unity. I give you my personal commitment that I will make sure, as your deputy, that these leaders do not go astray. You can see today they are behaving well,” added the DP who hails from Uasin Gishu.
President Kenyatta’s trip to Eldoret town was the first since the 2017 general election. He spent a lot of time campaigning there.
Thousands turned up at Rivatex to welcome their President, who appeared relaxed, talking and laughing with the Deputy President on several occasions.
In his address, however, Mr Kenyatta did not speak on politics, focusing instead on government jobs aimed at creating jobs for the youth.
He said he would continue to push for unity, which he noted was the only way to ensure a productive nation.
President Kenyatta promised to revive the collapsed Kisumu Cotton and Mt Kenya Textile mills as well.
“My greatest joy is to see our youths get jobs and improve their lives. Over 3,000 will directly get jobs at Rivatex and another 500,000 will indirectly benefit from this factory,” he said. “This is what we are focusing on. We do not want anything else. We want to work to improve the lives of our people. We will revive Kicomi, Mountex and others so our young people can get job.”
The President asked government workers to wear at least one locally-manufactured apparel every Friday in a bid to promote local textile firms.
He also ordered reduction by half of electricity bills incurred by Rivatex, saying it would see the firm set aside funds for improvements.
President Uhuru Kenyatta (C), Deputy President William Ruto, Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago and other leaders during the relaunch of Rivatex textile factory in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, on June 21, 2019. PHOTO | DPPS
Leaders who spoke before Dr Ruto and the President avoided the 2022 succession debate, opting to remind Mr Kenyatta that he was “loved” in Uasin Gishu.
One of his recent fierce critics, Kapseret member of Parliament Oscar Sudi, was the only one who came close to mentioning the political matrix.
But he chose to remind the President of how they started working together after the 20078 post-election violence.
“When you are here you are more at home than anyone else. This is your sitting room. We came together after what happened in 2007 when no one believed we could. There is nothing that will separate us again, not until Jesus Christ comes back,” he said to cheers.
There had been fears that the MP would not be allowed to speak even though Rivatex is in Kapseret and because his name was not in the list of speakers. This was because of his attacks on the President.
A meeting on Thursday reportedly agreed that he would address the people to prevent trouble.
Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago told the President he would always be welcomed to the region and requested him to find time to launch some of Jubilee’s projects there.
“We are grateful for the projects. The focus now is development and we are fully supportive of you. Uasin Gishu is your other home … you are welcome any time,” he said.