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February 20, 2019

TIMOTHY BOSIRE: Ruto's debt politics, propaganda undermine development agenda

President Uhuru Kenyatta with Deputy President William Ruto and Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Samson Mwathethe during the laying of a wreath at the mausoleum of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta at Parliament Buildings, Nairobi.Photo Jonah Mwangi/DPPS
President Uhuru Kenyatta with Deputy President William Ruto and Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Samson Mwathethe during the laying of a wreath at the mausoleum of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta at Parliament Buildings, Nairobi.Photo Jonah Mwangi/DPPS

As the country presses on in the war on impunity and corruption, the persistence of dishonesty and forces of darkness struggling to escape the cleansing should alarm us.

It is common knowledge that given a chance, these evils and their perpetrators will surely undermine, sabotage and compromise all efforts in national rescue and restoration.

The activities of Deputy President William Ruto weighed against the “handshake programmes” create reasons for anxiety. To him and his diehard supporters, the national transformation agenda is an unwelcome distraction to their premature 2022 presidential campaign.

His projects launching spree speaks volumes. The spree is in the name of branding the DP as the most development conscious and popular candidate in 2022.

It has thus become a festival of countrywide ceremonies, whose ulterior motives are betrayed by their undisguised conversions into 2022 campaign rallies. It is also in the Ruto camp’s high-octane messaging that Kenyans are beginning to get worried with the torrents of half-truths and fiction being unleashed to attract voters.

Those in attendance and millions of others who follow these campaigns on various media platforms are inundated with vote winning fake promises that have been the bane of past political campaigns, which only cause despair and confusion in the country.

For instance, many are reminded of the hefty promises in past Jubilee campaigns, including promises to give Class 1 pupils laptops, introducing a 24-hour economy, build five modern sports stadia across the country, end corruption and tribalism, boost industrialisation and irrigation agriculture, astronomically, create millions of jobs annually, end insecurity and mainstream the rule of law. All, like some in the past, have turned to be routine empty promises.

Kenya is at a crossroads. But the uniting of President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Peoples President Raila Odinga to fight all political and governance ills that threatened to decimate the country offers new hope.

Their historic handshake revolutionized the developmental philosophy of the presidency. Development, prosperity and harmony for a country are direct fruits of good governance, political discipline and empowerment of the citizens. It is upgrading national leadership from lip service and reckless selfish pursuits to the rule of law and zero tolerance for corruption. Kenyans have for the first time witnessed a sitting President taking on corruption and impunity head on.

In such an environment this “Ruto for President 2022” crusades are like contraband. They are sullied by political guesswork and reckless experiments. His penchant for launching all manner of projects, some bordering on the absurd, sticks out. So much that the joke about town is that 2022 has gone to his head so much that he has veered into launching marriages, funerals and church services. Like the case of this weekend when he “launched” the marriage of Emurua Dikirr MP and also launched an alternative political “lipa deni” campaign project targeting his former ODM Pentagon co-principals Raila Odinga and Musalia Mudavadi for a fictitious 2007 debt.

I have been in ODM since its formation and I cannot recall any such “deni agreements” as Ruto alluded to, and I support Musalia Mudavadi for immediately dismissing the 2007 madeni fabrication as misleading.

Kenyans recall that he is reviving this fallback, face saving “lipa madeni” project fresh from an embarrassing altercation about a 2013-17 “Kikuyu deni” that was repulsed and rejected by volleys of fierce reprimands and rebuttals that made him recoil and issue the famous “ nobody owes me a debt” halfhearted confession in a Nairobi Church recently. That he can revive the debt narrative, now targeting Western and Nyanza smacks of extreme dishonesty. It speaks volumes about his presidential credentials.

Kenyans have seen him re-launch old completed projects, stalled and abandoned white elephants that await investigations into the loss of funds allocated to them. In other cases he has launched ongoing projects, which have already (recently) been launched. For instance, he recently visited my Kitutu Masaba constituency ostensibly to bring development only to launch a half-complete Kemera-Amabuko road, which I had personally launched.

Surprisingly, he turned the occasion into a forum to attack and character assassinate me calling me a noisemaker and a “Tialala leader”, without any provocation. That is the height of dishonesty and unkindness. He should seek the Presidency in a clean, civilized manner and avoid going round bad mouthing other leaders.

Instead of his 2022 Presidency bid branding being sanitized logically to popularize him in the most positive and value adding trajectory of the changing Kenya, it has veered off into a circus of contradictions. It has snowballed into a political propaganda absurdity couched in comedy and distortions.

This is the brand of politics Kenyans desperately want to exorcise from our midst.


The writer is ODM national treasurer and former Kitutu Masaba MP

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