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Babu Owino: Ruto should sell his Sh10 million watch and pay doctors

Embakasi East MP Paul Ongili Owino, popularly known as Babu Owino, says President William Ruto owns a watch worth Sh10 million and suggests he should sell it to compensate striking doctors.

The outspoken MP claims that the Head of State should not claim that his government has no money to pay the doctors while wearing such an expensive item.

In a video, the lawmaker from the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party is heard accusing President Ruto of saying he should sell his expensive and prized watch and use the proceeds to pay the striking doctors.

“I heard Ruto saying he has no money to pay doctors. The doctors should continue with their strike. You (referring to Dr Ruto) cannot tell us that as President you have no money, yet the watch you are wearing is worth Sh10 million. Sell it and pay the doctors,” said Babu Owino.

President Ruto has been spotted wearing expensive watches on various public occasions.

For instance, in January this year, 2024, he was seen wearing an 18-carat watch worth Sh8.7 million at an event in Makutano Town, Meru County.

President William Ruto
President William Ruto address media at Lake Naivasha Resort on the third day of the National Executive retreat on February 21, 2024. PHOTO| FILE

In September 2023, the Lange 1 Moon Phase watch, renowned for its craftsmanship, went viral online.

Its price range varies from Sh5 million to Sh12 million, depending on the specific features and specifications.

Despite the Head of State’s claim that he inherited a dilapidated economy from his predecessor, outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta, in the same month he was spotted wearing the Lange 1 Moon Phase watch, he stepped out in another expensive timepiece, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo, valued at Sh7.7 million.

This is the fourth week of the nationwide doctors’ strike, in which they are demanding that the 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the government and doctors be honoured.

The ultimatums include salary increases and the employment of junior doctors by the government.

President Ruto recently addressed the ongoing doctors’ impasse, stating that his government would not give in to the doctors’ ultimatum due to lack of funds.

However, he announced that over 1,500 junior doctors would be employed.

Mr Babu Owino criticised him, arguing that he should not use the Bible to dismiss the doctors’ demands.

“You said, quoting the Bible, that the father should leave his children a good inheritance by investing. The same Bible, Matthew 7:9-12, says: ‘If your son asks for bread, do you give him a stone? And if your son asks for a fish, do you give him a snake? So your children who are doctors have asked; give them fish and bread. Give them money,” the MP challenged the president.

The lawmaker, an ally of ODM leader Raila Odinga, claimed that contrary to the president’s remarks, the country has enough money.

Kenya has money; you have increased taxes. You also went abroad and took a loan. The money is in Kenya. Pay the doctors so that our people don’t die. If you go to the hospitals, people are dying because there are no drugs, no doctors, no health services,” he explained.

The doctors, through their Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) secretary general, Dr Davji Attellah, have vowed not to resume work until their demands are met.

Efforts by the Ministry of Health to engage the union to end the strike have been unsuccessful.