Ruto’s absence from Uhuru meeting with Rift Valley governors raises eyebrows

By Noah Cheploen On Wed, 11 Mar, 2020 10:27 | 2 mins read
Uhuru and governors
President Uhuru Kenyatta meets with governors from Rift Valley region at State House, Nairobi ahead of March 21 BBI rally in Nakuru. PHOTO | PSCU

The absence of Deputy President William Ruto at a State House meeting where President Uhuru Kenyatta met Rift Valley governors has raised eyebrows.

During the meeting held on Tuesday, President Kenyatta met nine Rift Valley region governors ahead of the March 21 Building Bridges Initiative rally in Nakuru County.

DP Ruto, who has accused the “system” of hatching plans to finish him politically, was conspicuously absent, leaving no doubt that his relationship with his boss is on the rocks.

“The governors assured the President of their full backing of the BBI process and undertook to ensure unity and inclusion of all stakeholders in the run-up to the Nakuru rally,” State House said in the caption of the photos shared after the consultative meeting.

Led by Nakuru’s Lee Kinyanjui, governors Stanley Kiptis (Baringo), Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet), Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu), Josphat Nanok (Turkana) and John Lonyangapuo (West Pokot) gave the President their assurances.

Others were Paul Chepkwony (Kericho), Hillary Barchok (Bomet) and Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia).

Only Nandi’s Stephen Sang and his Trans Nzoia counterpart Patrick Khaemba were absent.

On Tuesday, Governor Kinyanjui told said the absent duo sent their apologies, adding that they were fully committed to the course.

“Yes, Rift Valley is one and united,” he said, adding: “We had gone to have direct consultation with the boss and we want to bring everyone on board.”

The Nakuru governor said they discussed preparations for the BBI events with the President, focusing on the need for leaders to tone down political rhetoric.

On the absence of the DP from the meeting, Kinyanjui said: “I wouldn’t want to be drawn into that but remember the Head of State has interest in the Rift Valley and what he wants is peace and not short- term politics. You know politics will come and go but we are taking nonpartisan approach (on the BBI)…” he said.

By virtue of being the senior-most leader and politician in the Rift Valley, Ruto’s absence from the meeting speaks volumes.

He also missed— for the first time—last Sunday’s Beyond Zero Campaign sponsored by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta.

DP Ruto and his allies have on several occasions claimed the BBI has been hijacked by some politicians led by former Prime Minister and ODM leader Raila Odinga for their selfish political agenda.

The DP, who has never attended any of the BBI rallies being addressed across the country by Raila allies, has been moving around the country selling the narrative that his political opponents have hijacked the initiative as a platform to clinch power in 2022.

He has also claimed the BBI is aimed at blocking his bid for the presidency by introducing a power-sharing arrangement that would isolate him, allegations Uhuru, Raila and their allies have dismissed as untrue.

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