Revealed: Where Ruto was during Uhuru event

By , K24 Digital
On Tue, 29 Sep, 2020 15:04 | 3 mins read
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto at a past function. [PHOTO | FILE]
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto at a past function. [PHOTO | FILE]
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto at a past function. [PHOTO | FILE]

Deputy President William Ruto felt he had been isolated throughout the six months the State battled COVID-19 pandemic in the country, and, therefore, it was “dishonest of people around the President” to rope him in towards the tail end of the fight, his aides say, explaining why the second-in-command skipped Monday’s COVID-19 conference presided over by his boss.

The DP’s seat, which had been reserved at the scene of event -- Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi -- was quickly removed from the venue after it became clear that he wasn’t going to attend the function.

The DP was supposed to arrive at the KICC before President Kenyatta so that he (Ruto) could receive the Head of State. At 2pm President Kenyatta’s convoy made its way to the venue. At the time, Ruto hadn’t arrived yet, triggering an unquestionable indication that the President’s principal assistant wasn’t going to be in attendance.

K24 Digital understands that the DP spent his entire Monday at his Karen Residence office, and was absent from the President Kenyatta-led event despite receiving an official invitation to the COVID-19 Conference.

State House Spokesperson, Kanze Dena-Mararo, on Monday, September 29 confirmed that Ruto had been invited to the event.

“He (Ruto) was invited to the National COVID-19 Conference, but did not attend. I do not why he skipped the event. His communications team is in a better position to answer that,” Kanze said Monday.

The Director of Communication at the Deputy President’s Office, Emmanuel Talam, confirmed to K24 Digital Tuesday, September 29 that Ruto “indeed received the invitation”.

“I am not disputing Kanze’s claim that the Deputy President was invited to the COVID-19 Conference,” said Talam.

Asked to explain why Ruto gave the event a wide berth despite being requested to attend, Talam said: “How many addresses has the President made before yesterday’s? They are eleven if I am not wrong, right? Ask [State House Spokesperson] Kanze Dena why they only chose to invite the Deputy President for the 12th address, and not the other 11.”

“If she (Kanze Dena) answers that convincingly and honestly, then I would give a straightforward response on why the DP skipped the event,” added Ruto’s communications representative.

K24 Digital’s phone calls to Kanze Dena to seek a clarification on whether the DP hadn’t been invited to the President’s 11 previous COVID-19 addresses, went unanswered.

Then, where was the DP on Monday, September 28? “Yesterday (Monday, September 28), he spent the whole day at his Karen Residence office. I am not sure if he followed the COVID-19 Conference on television,” responded Talam.

K24 Digital understands that every Monday, Ruto gives his communications team members, comprising videographers and writers, rest days after accompanying him on tours during the weekends.

“Yesterday, the boss told us we stay off duty as is the case every other Monday,” a member of the DP’s communications team, who spoke in confidence, told K24 Digital.

“Had he planned to attend the COVID Conference, which was held on a Monday -- our off day -- he would have told us in advance to prepare to cover the event, but he did not. He, instead, asked us to honour our rest day,” added the informant.

Ruto was scheduled to speak at the event at 5:50pm after former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s address.

The DP’s planned 10-minute speech was to lead to the Head of State’s address, which was scheduled to take 30 minutes between 6pm and 6:30pm.

Shortly after Ruto’s seat was taken off the venue, his allies took to Twitter to state there was no way the DP was going to attend a ceremony, “which he has never been a part of”.

Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot, a staunch DP Ruto rooter, said on Twitter at 4:26pm: “Let's stop the hypocrisy. If William Samoei Ruto's contribution counted, how comes he has never been invited to any Government of Kenya’s COVID-19 response meeting? Now you want him to join the COVID-19 millionaires in sharing their looting success! No to sanitizing the KEMSA scammers.”

Soy MP Caleb Kositany wondered why Ruto was included in the programme for the President’s 12th address on COVID-19, yet in the 11 preceding addresses, he wasn’t invited to the functions.

“The Deputy President has never been invited for any COVID-19 conference, why this one?” Kositany posed on Twitter on Monday 5:19pm.

A day after Ruto skipped the President’s function, he hosted low-income and informal sector workers at his Karen Residence, where he donated water tanks, wheelbarrows, handcarts and money to the group, which he referred to as “my fellow hustlers”.

His communications rep, Talam, says the DP will continue to convene meetings with the “ordinary Kenyans, who are close to his heart”.