BY JOAN WANJIKU/DPPS,NAIROBI,5TH JUNE,2022-Deputy President William Ruto has said his clearance to vie for the presidency in the August General election was one of the few of many hurdles he had overcome on his way to what he said will be a resounding win.
Certain elements in government, he said, never wanted him to vie.
In some quarters, the DP said, some of them wondered aloud whether he would live to be cleared to run.
”I have encountered a lot of hurdles on my political journey. Some people thought that I should not be cleared. Others even went ahead to question whether I would live to Election day but now they will have to face me in the ballot,’’ Dr Ruto said at ACK Mother Church in Kabete Constituency, Kiambu.
Dr Ruto was cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Saturday and is now one of the five presidential candidates in the race.
The others are Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition party candidate Raila Odinga, Prof George Wajackoyah of Roots Party, Walter Mong’are of Umoja Summit Party and lawyer David Mwaura Waihiga of the Agano party.
Dr Ruto has continually complained of allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta who had expressed optimism that the DP will not make it to the ballot.
“On numerous occasions, persons well known to you have publicly stated that Ruto will not be there in 2022. You have refused to act upon reports made to you on the implications of such remarks for the security, safety and well-being of the DP,” Dr Ruto said in an August 2021 letter signed by his chief of staff Ken Osinde (now deceased).
Dr Ruto said he had what it takes to be President and had made a solid plan if elected in August.
“Our competitors have lined up their priorities to revive the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) constitutional amendment process. Our priority is to ensure we revive the economy and that by December, every Kenyan will have a health insurance,” he says.
Dr Ruto also repeated his position that the campaigns were just beginning.
“You have not seen our campaigns yet. You will witness what you have never seen from today,” he told journalists just before he was cleared by the IEBC.
Dr Ruto’s running mate Rigathi Gachagua said Mr Odinga has ganged up with his running mate Martha Karua so that they can change the Constitution if they win in the coming elections.
”Martha Karua and Raila are only interested in changing the Constitution if they win the presidency so that they can create more positions for themselves instead of addressing the problems facing many Kenyans,’’ said Mr Gachagua.
At the same time, calls for six piece voting also played out where Mr Gachagua and Kandara MP Alice Wahome rallied locals to vote in candidates who are under United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
Dr Ruto is running on a UDA ticket under the Kenya Kwanza Alliance.
Mr Gachagua has created a lot friction especially to small parties among them Chama Cha Kazi led by Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria , Tujibebe Wakenya Party that has the backing of Former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo and The Service Party that has the blessing of Former Agriculture Minister Mwangi Kiunjuri.
The parties have protested that the six piece voting pattern seeks to limit them from taking up more elective seats since Mr Gachgaua creates an illusion to the voters that their party are unpopular.
Kiambu senator Kimani Wamatangi who is the UDA candidate in Kiambu governor’s race urged the Kiambu people to vote in for Dr Ruto during the upcoming polls saying he has Kenyans interests at heart especially on reviving the economy.
The same sentiments were echoed by ANC Party leader Musalia Mudavadi who was also present at Ruto’s rallies in Kiambu.
Kiambu is a vote-rich county with over 1 million registered voters.It is a cosmopolitan county with twelve constituencies and 60 wards.
Dr Ruto has been making inroads to Kiambu, sometimes three times weekly, to cut the Jubilee Party dominance in a county that has been voting overwhelmingly for President Uhuru Kenyatta especially in both 2013 and 2017 presidential elections when they vied as a duo before they fell out.
Their fall out is being watched keenly by both the voters and political pundits who are to see if the latter will tilt the political matrix.
Dr Ruto accuses President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga of prioritising politics at the expense of development following the March 9 2018 handshake between the two leaders.
“We had a solid plan to build on what we accomplished in our first term. The plan was in the Big Four agenda. But that was not materialised because the handshake debacle denied the people of Kenya the chance to move their country forward,” he says.
At Uthiru, Dr Ruto rubbished Mr Odinga’s reading of Kenya’s problems as ignorance, disease and hunger.
“Ignorance and hunger are no longer the issues Kenyans face. No one is stupid in Kenya. Is there anyone who is stupid here in Uthiru? No! The biggest problem is inequality. The trickle down economic model has created few billionaires. Through the bottom-up model, we will lift many Kenyans from poverty by agro-processing, enterprise creation and other labour-intensive projects,” he said.