President Kibaki’s only child dabbling in politics through his patronage of Simama Kenya has kind words for Agriculture Minister William Ruto, whose relations with his father is on the leap.
The patron of the youth initiative praised Ruto but faulted Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga, whom he accused of failing to reciprocate the minister’s vigorous fight for him in 2007 elections. Though he did not name Raila in his speech in Keiyo South, he did not leave it to guesswork whom he was talking about.
Simama Kenya Patron Jimmy Kibaki opens a dining hall at Tuseria Girls Secondary School in Keiyo South on Saturday. Photo: Peter Ochieng’/Standard
The younger Kibaki described Ruto — who Raila suspended but the decision was rescinded by his father the same day — as ‘hardworking’ and ‘visionary’ leader.
“I tell you Honourable Ruto is hardworking; when he decides, he works for 24 hours,” Jimmy added.
He was addressing resident at Turesia Girls Boarding School in Keiyo South on Saturday when he presided over a funds drive in aid of the school. Earlier, he had taken part in similar public engagement at Kapchorwa.
His speech on the second day of his Rift Valley tour rekindled memories of Ruto’s own kind works for the President a fortnight ago, as he warmed up the North Rift for the Head of State’s visit.
Ruto then asked on Kass FM, which broadcasts in Kalenjin: “I did not support Kibaki for the presidency in the last elections. But he has been ready to listen to me about the plight of our people and Raila, whom I supported, sacked me. Kibaki saved me from that sack. Who is a leader between the two?”
Jimmy asked Rift Valley residents to have ‘eyes’ and ‘ears’ as a safeguard against what he termed as a repeat of political exploitation through politics of euphoria.
He launched a veiled attack on Raila and his party for allegedly engaging in politics of vendetta. ODM, he claimed, had lost ground in Rift Valley and the popularity it enjoyed ahead of the 2007 General Election.
Though an ODM ‘outsider’, he accused the party of betraying Ruto despite the spirited campaigns he staged for it in 2007.
“In 2007 Rift Valley was a zone for some party you all know, and its chief campaigner was William Ruto and now he is being kicked back and forth,” he said.
Jimmy termed Ruto’s ‘suspension’ by Raila as one case of political betrayal.
“There are people enjoying privileges because of Honourable Ruto but instead of saying thank you, they are trying hard to kick him out of the Cabinet,” he said.
The controversial suspension, he says, incurred the displeasure and disapproval of the President.
“The President said this was not possible. He applied the brakes, asking where are you taking my Agriculture minister?” said Jimmy, who is believed to be his father’s preferred political successor in Othaya.
He added his father considers Ruto as one of the most hardworking ministers.
The frustration, which resulted from the revocation of Ruto’s suspension, he claimed, led to ODM’s cries of crisis in Government, which he added were ignored by the President.
“Then they said let us recall Dr Kofi Annan because we have a crisis in Government. Mzee (Kibaki) asked, ‘what crisis?’ He said there was someone trying to exercise powers he did not have” Jimmy further said.
He said President Kibaki dismissed the talks of crisis because it lacked any basis.
“The President said Kenya has a President, Prime Minister, ministers and assistant ministers; so there is no crisis in Government,’’ he went on.
He advised Rift Valley residents to be vigilant and distinguish between leaders keen on development and those propelled by propaganda.
“Simama Kenya is for development, not to grumble I got half-a-loaf and it is not enough to build the country,’’ he said, in an apparent mockery of Raila’s analogy whenever he accuses Kibaki of being short-changed in the implementation of the power-sharing deal they signed.
Jimmy also reiterated his earlier promise he would team up with Ruto and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta to pacify the clash prone Rift Valley.
“We have decided the youth in Rift Valley and those from Central headed by Ruto and Uhuru will work together for peace,” he said.
Kibaki’s son also praised former President Moi, saying he instilled political discipline in governance and advised the Government to emulate his style.” Even when my father was the leader of the Official Opposition, there was never a time when he was disrespectful to the President,” he said.
He promised the region a package of goodies including improvement of roads, and building of schools and hospitals.
“For some of these things you don’t have, you do not have to bother Mzee (Kibaki) about them. We will work with speed to have the roads done,’’ he assured his audience.
Others who spoke at the function were former Cabinet Minister Nicholas Biwott, Keiyo South MP and Assistant minister Jackson Kiptanui, Simama Kenya Chairman Zablon Muthaiga, Emgwen MP Elijah Lagat, Kaloleni MP Kazungu Kambi, Eastern Rift Valley Deputy PC Wanyama Musyambo and Keiyo ODM Chairman Micah Kigen.
Kazungu echoed Ruto’s sentiments that ODM and its leader cheated the Rift Valley voters. “You were promised heaven but now it appears you cannot even stand on earth, the one you had even nicknamed Mibei (Raila) is trampling on you,” he said.
Lagat asked fellow MPs from the Rift Valley to ignore party affiliations and close ranks with other leaders keen on development. “I am in ODM but today when it means working with Simama Kenya for development, there should be no problem, no one should dictate to us…We differed politically in 2007 but in politics there re no permanent enemies or friends,” he said.
Kiptanui blamed some politicians he did not name for seeking to derail the delivery of the new constitution for selfish reasons. “While we were busy debating the details of the Proposed Constitution at Kenya Institute of Administration, some people were busy crisscrossing the country with rhetoric,” he said.