Kenyans want reforms, Kenyans want peace and inclusivity and Kenyans want resources in their hands and to have opportunities that will enable their businesses to grow sustainably.
All this is contained in the proposed changes in the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill that we recently witnessed got an overwhelming approval from a majority of the County Assemblies in the country; forty three to be specific. With the initial public participation and a final debate at the County Assemblies, Kenyans are in full knowledge of the content in the Building Bridges Initiative which is arguably geared to benefit the country immensely.
However, out of spite and greed for power, Ruto has clearly shown that he wants no good for the country and along with him has dragged his Kalenjin community creating an isolated people who feel quite entitled when it comes to leadership.
It is no secret that all other Counties in the country have voted for the Building Bridges Initiative with three Kalenjin Counties voting against it including Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo and Nandi. Unlike the others that have voted in a big yes, they have detested the contents of the document just because they have seen that it will not propel William Ruto to presidency.
Having been at the helm of leadership for the past twenty four years the community led by the DP is yearning for more power not factoring in that there are over 44 tribes in the country and there must be the element of inclusivity in all tiers of leadership giving other communities a chance to lead as well.
This is an ultimate betrayal from a community that has shunned the rest of the country even to the North and remained adamant with their wheelbarrow fanatics which in real sense is deception to many low income Kenyans who are sourcing for better opportunities to make a decent living for themselves.
The Deputy President claimed that the GEMA nation was for him, but no County Assembly from the Mt Kenya region opposed the Building Bridges Initiative despite the numerous meetings, the political jibes thrown against the BBI and money bags that were dished out to the Members of County Assemblies.
All eight County Assemblies endorsed the Bill. MCAs in their own reasoning wondered why they should deny Kenyans the much-needed resources to trickle down to the grass root level? Should the country retrogress or progress? Even Bomet a pro-Ruto county saw sense and endorsed the Bill.
The rest of Kenya cannot be stopped by one community that wants to promote tribal politics and anchor itself on the ‘mtu wetu’ talk. From the Coast to the Northern side, the East to the West, the country is speaking in one voice and that is the BBI that translates to inclusivity, greater opportunity for businesses, peace and stability among other key issues and challenges Kenyans face.
The fact of the matter is that, just like the average Kenyan politician, a vast majority of Tanga Tanga members are filthy rich, with some of the leading lights in the camp belonging to the billionaire class. Here are some of moneyed Tanga Tanga politicians who want their Kenyans to believe they are poor.
The DP Ruto wants ordinary Kenyans to see him as a highway chicken seller; a fellow indigent citizen. While Ruto has always been coy about stating his net worth, his wealth is estimated to be in the range of KSh 40 billion. The DP’s home in Sugoi is reportedly worth KSh 1 billion. He owns several private helicopters sassily dubbed mkokokopters by some Kenyans, one costing atleast KSh 1 billion.
In addition, he owns the luxurious yet controversial Weston Hotel, Africa Merchant Assurance Company Limited (Amaco) and the Easton Apartments, which he sold to the police for KSh 3 billion. He is the owner of 680 Hotel and Hotel Boulevard. Ruto owns several ranches extending to thousands of hectares and was planning to construct a megacity in Ruai before the government repossessed the land that belonged to the city sewerage plant.
The moneyed DP is on record donating upwards of KSh 2 million in a single fundraiser, not to mention the endless delegations he hosts and handsomely caters for at his Sugoi and Karen residences. Ladies and gentlemen, there is the chief hustler for you, a man who used his connections in the Moi, Kibaki and Uhuru administrations to enrich himself.
The Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua hardly features on the list of wealthy local industrialists, leaving state agencies confounded by his billionaire status as they seek to unravel exactly how he made his fortune. The net worth of the Mt Kenya politician is not publicly available, but the extent of his riches was revealed in 2020 when a staggering KSh 12.5 billion was passed through his three bank accounts in just seven years.
Former Machakos senator Johnstone Muthama is not your regular run-of-the-mill politician. He ranks among the richest Kenyans, his wealth estimated at billions of shillings. He is a dominant player in the lucrative gemstones mining and export business. He owns Muthama Gemstone (K) Ltd, which lays his golden egg; the multi-billion shilling Rockland Kenya rubies mining firm; Nina Marie Ltd, a clothes retailer and several offshore accounts. A Swiss bank report considered to be the greatest leak in banking history once showed that many Kenyans, including Muthama, had deposited KSh 51.1 billion in an offshore account within a four-year period.
Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika is another one. She is married to billionaire businessman Sam Mburu, whose divorce with his first wife, Beatrice Wanjiku, revealed the extent of their riches. Wanjiku listed Landmark Freight Services, which has two branches in China, stating in her affidavit that they raked in KSh 10 million in profits per month. She listed several apartments strewn out across Nairobi, Kajiado and Nakuru as well as a string of high-end luxury cars.
The flamboyant former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko is no doubt a man of means. While his net worth and source of wealth are not clear, his lifestyle paints the picture of a filthy rich city politician. Sonko boasts of a fleet of pure gold vehicles, 24 carat phones, gold bracelets, cutlery and even furniture. He also owns multi-million homes in Mua Hills in Machakos and at the Coast. Sonko is currently facing corruption charges.
The Kirinyaga Women Rep Purity Ngirici is one of the leading billionaires in the Mt Kenya region by virtue of her husband, businessman Andrew Ngirici. He went on to become the right-hand man to Moi era spymaster James Kanyotu, setting him on the way to becoming a big investor in real estate, security, property, hospitality, large-scale farming, insurance, banking, manufacturing, health and transport sectors. She recently invested and launched a KSh 600 million media house that owns Mt Kenya TV.
Aden Duale, the former National Assembly Majority Leader is one of the richest politicians in northeastern Kenya. He owns Concordia Building and Civil Engineering, Nomad Palace Hotel in Eastleigh and Garissa, the four floors Lillac Centre in Garissa and Medina Chemicals, a veterinary medicine supplier in the region. By virtue of his networks in government, most of these firms won lucrative tenders both in parastatals and the counties.
Rashid Echesa, the disgraced former Sports Cabinet Secretary who was caught up in the KSh 39 billion fake military arms scandal told the National Assembly Appointment committee two years ago that his net worth is KSh 40 million with investments in construction, moving assets and real estate. But he is believed to be worth much more than this.
The Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi, a former tout, gained sudden wealth to rank among Kenya’s political sponsors. Though his exact worth is unknown, Sudi is immensely wealthy. His rural home, a KSh 100 million mansion, was opened by Ruto himself in 2016. He recently boasted that he purchased his first Range Rover at the age of 26. The MP was among Tanga Tanga politicians who viciously resisted a directive that a lifestyle audit be conducted on all public officers.
The bootylicious Millicent Omanga has stated that she was hawking bed sheets in Nairobi streets before Ruto appointed her as a board member at KenGen. Don’t be deceived. Omanga is reportedly worth nearly KSh 200 million, lives lavishly and is always seen throwing expensive bashes in posh lounges around the country. She owns Milways Enterprises which deals in construction, interior décor and import of furniture.
Hypocrisy and duplicity are synonymous with Tanga Tanga politicians and their politics. So is deceit, machinations, and sometimes outright conmanship as we saw with the one-term, twice impeached and failed Donald Trump.
It is thus always a matter of degree with the DP’s allies taking these chicaneries all the way to the extreme and operating at intolerable levels. The worst are the conniving ones who cleverly craft and pursue strategies to have them on both sides of the debate.
Deputy President William Ruto has been on both sides of many issues and thus far getting away with it. For example, when his minions were busy badmouthing and calling President Uhuru Kenyatta names, especially in Central since 2018, certainly at his instigation, the DP was equally busy praising him saying they were committed to working together to deliver for the people.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. The DP has been undermining and, in many cases, outrightly insubordinate even as he keeps saying all these positive things about the President until recently when the gloves were undoubtedly off.
On BBI, Ruto has classically been trying to eat the cake and have it. While he has been busy peddling the false narrative that BBI is about power sharing between Raila and Uhuru’s preferred leaders, the DP has fully ignored to speak to what the initiative is truly about; fixing flaws in the 2010 Constitution.
At the same time, he has not outrightly come out and said he supports or opposes the initiative. By constantly trashing it as he does, he hopes to keep his blind followers animated in the opposition, while waiting to jump on the BBI train when it passes.
That strategy would have been brilliant had BBI failed the first hurdle at the Counties. Indeed, at the rate BBI is being passed at the Counties, one wonders why we even need a referendum because by the time they all vote, BBI would have been approved by all save for those pro-Ruto, which are just a handful.
But a referendum we shall have and the question is, will Ruto openly support or oppose it? While he has been successful in having it both ways, which will no longer be the case. He will have to take a position and live or die with it.
In 2005 and 2010, he opposed the referendums and was on the losing side in the latter. If he opposes it in 2021, he will be on the losing side for the second time. So look for him to not oppose, which will reshuffle the political deck.
Ruto’s refusal to resign, despite being humiliated and pressured to do so, speaks to his having made this calculation: He is better off staying with the humiliation and lives to fight a new war after BBI is passed. The DP can do this because the President cannot fire him and impeaching him is no easy walk in the park. Which begs the question; what lies ahead for Ruto?
There are only three options: Arrest and charge him with the alleged crimes against him; make his life as DP more humiliating and miserable and cripple his ability to hold the rallies he has been holding across the country.
When DP Ruto, declares that his wheelbarrow handouts are no different from the Kazi Kwa Vijana youth programme, is that not undermining collective Cabinet decisions or policy-making, by running parallel initiatives for selfish purposes?
How about when he declares that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) proposal, for the allocation of 35 per cent of funds to the counties will not be achieved, because 15 per cent was not implemented? Anyone versed with statecraft, would have a deep appreciation of the inalienable principle of collective responsibility, for individuals who hold positions of authority in government.
This means actions, decisions, and positions taken by the entire government, remain binding to the entire leadership forever. At no given point, can a senior official in whichever administration turn around and purport to distance themselves from it.
Yet, Ruto continues to go on record, publicly criticising the government of the day, in which he happens to be the Principal Assistant to President Uhuru Kenyatta. He goes ahead to admit the administration’s failure to deliver on campaign promises. Even in this, he is still in office, collecting a salary and enjoying all the perks of his position. Such, smack of the highest level of hypocrisy, dishonesty and revisionism.
It is claiming credit when it is convenient, then turning around to distance yourself when it is not. Whereas, we all have freedom of expression, it cannot be an excuse to act like an Opposition within the government. It is a classic case of success having many parents while failure is an abandoned orphan. Yet again, how on earth could the DP, rather than observe collective responsibility; by explaining challenges faced, instead choose to ascribe its lackluster record to individuals outside the administration?
Locally and elsewhere in the world, senior officials have taken the bold decision, as a matter of principle, to step down from government when they felt at cross purposes with it. Nothing demonstrates this better than the action, in 2002, by a group of Cabinet ministers who resigned and left the ruling party, Kanu, to register their protest on the way a new flagbearer had been picked. That is
how Rainbow Alliance was born.
In the US, when violence rocked the Capitol at the beginning of this year, in a botched attempt to disrupt certification of election results, senior officials resigned from the Trump administration when they disagreed with him or found his actions untenable.
Similarly, from the UK, Israel, Lebanon and even Mongolia ministers have, on several occasions, resigned in protest. This has happened, when a given action by the government they should be serving, went against their convictions and left them feeling that they could neither support nor defend it.
Failure to do this would mean complicity in the administration’s (mis)handling of a given issue or operations. It cannot be any different in our country. For the maturity of our democracy and honesty in politics to count for something, rhetoric needs to be backed by corresponding bold, decisive and principled action by individuals in power.
It is fair to expect that a senior official with the stature of the DP should take the definitive step of resigning, to continue pursuing his political ambitions, without jeopardising the affairs of government from within. Otherwise, his criticism of the government while he remains in office, is nothing short of a cheap attempt at playing to the gallery.
The country is on a match. A match forward towards the right direction and no region no county is going to be left behind because this journey is our journey to long-lasting peace, stability and a prosperous nation. Not in like a chorus, but prosperity that is poised on ensuring every Kenyan access the resources to engage and boost their businesses.
With over ten county assemblies setting the bar in passing of the Building Bridges Constitutional (Amendment) Bill the region of Mt Kenya cannot be left behind. The people have spoken and have understood the contents of the bill and one aspect is clear that the BBI will ensure resources trickle down to our individual pockets which is what we surely require for the many youth who are unemployed and have been unable to access capital to even start a small business.
But this is set to change as the region has embarked on adopting the BBI Bill with Laikipia County Assembly opening the gateway. Key to this is that there will be enhance allocations from the current 15 per cent to 35 per cent of the national revenue to the devolved units. Coming closer to the people the Ward Development Fund will comprise of at least five per cent of all county government’s revenue in each financial year. With this, county needs will be better addressed as MCAs will directly address county challenges at the ward level.
More so, the Mt Kenya region has also realized that they will be better placed when it comes to entrepreneurship. The region has read and engaged the document which among other benefits will allow for a 7-year tax break in support of youth entrepreneurship and setting up of business advisors in Huduma centre offering as a guidance for the youth in business. This ultimately means what matters the most will become accessible through facilitation offered by the Building Bridges Initiative.
We need safety, security and stability that is sustainable and this is what the Building Bridges Initiative is offering so that we can ensure our standards of living are better and resourceful
The presidential column enjoys an inclusive agenda for Kenya, especially after the consummation of a shared vision with “the People’s President” Raila. Uhuru is doing his final term as the President of a country of 44 ethnic groups. This Uhuru has to decide on national imperatives rather than petty party politics.
He has made a 360-degree turn, baffling those who hoped to ‘own’ him in the party until the 2022 General Election. Uhuru the Jubilee Party leader and Uhuru the President are in conflict ahead of the 2022 election. But Uhuru the President has risen above the conflict in a way that baffles partisan Jubilantes.
Jubilantes see only one Uhuru, which has escalated the clash around the succession. They cannot tell the difference between party politics and presidential responsibilities in an ethnically disparate country. Are they ‘drunk’ on something, as owners of the season of insults would say? People are not always addicted to drugs alone. Some get high on handouts. Some get intoxicated on ethnic hubris.
But the compromised do not always cheer and jeer out of sheer love for their leader. They may be under some influence. Like some cash considerations, promises of power-cushioned brokerage, positions and proximity to the kitchen. The observant know the maddening influence of easy money. It blurs vision; turns liberators into oppressors, patriots into traitors, and friends into enemies.
They do not know the ground beneath them has shifted. Or is there something else? There are inducements that politicians, who do not have transformative ideas, dish out to win favour with the vulnerable. The vulnerable are not merely the poor voters, but politicians who thrive on patronage. These people can be viciously callous. They imagine enemies where none exists.
When the vulnerable get drunk, they bark ceaselessly to top up their stock of patronage. How would the benefactor know they are working if they do not heckle? The inebriated imagine everyone else around them is high on something. Their reasoning gets blurred. Their vision gets impaired. Their world orbits around the paymaster.
Some get inebriated on sycophancy. Some get high on ethnic hubris. Of all these, addictive pursuit of power – any type of power – is the ultimate nation-killer. Party identity is the icing on the cake. This is a struggle for space around power. The architects of the Building Bridges Initiative tell us the time to destroy the nation is over. The time to build has arrived. To spite the fad is to stall on the wrong side of history!