I’m truly sorry, Ruto tells Kericho voters
Deputy President William Ruto has apologised to Kericho residents amid allegations that the Jubilee administration had abandoned them and that he had only returned for their votes.
Mr Ruto pleaded with the residents to back Jubilee’s candidate, Mr Aaron Cheruiyot, 29, in the forthcoming Kericho senatorial by-election, saying a loss in the repeat poll would be used by his rivals to support claims that he has lost his footing in the South Rift.
It was the DP’s first visit to Kericho to campaign for Mr Cheruiyot ahead of the March 7 by-election.
The seat fell vacant after Mr Charles Keter, arguably the DP’s closest ally, was appointed to the Cabinet.
The apology, in an emotional one-hour speech, follows a threat by an increasingly emboldened Kanu which has been riding on the anger over election promises and the folding up of the United Republican Party in favour of Jubilee.
Mr Ruto spoke at a meeting at Tea Research Institute in Kericho town, attended by more than 5,000 grassroots leaders from the six constituencies who, though declaring support for the DP, told him that they were unhappy with the manner South Rift had been treated by the Jubilee administration.
During the meeting, some leaders expressed dismay at Mr Keter’s revelation that Mr Cheruiyot was his nephew.
Mr Ruto was also hard-pressed to explain why mega projects that he had announced over a year ago for Kericho had not been implemented.
The no-holds-barred interaction left local leaders embarrassed and shocked at the sheer raw anger exhibited by locals.
“On behalf of the Jubilee leadership and the government, I wish to wholeheartedly apologise to the people of Kericho for the unfulfilled projects. It has not been our intention to create an impression that we have abandoned you and if that has happened, I am truly sorry,” he said.
A considerable number of Kericho residents have vowed to back Kanu candidate Paul Sang as a way of expressing their anger with the Uhuru-Ruto government.
But Mr Ruto asked the Kalenjins not to punish him for the mistakes of the local MPs.
It would be unfair for the Kalenjins to destroy the house he had built as he went across the country to sell himself ahead of the 2022 election, he told the meeting.
Kanu, which has fronted former Health Minister and Bureti MP Paul Sang, is backed by Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, West Pokot Senator John Lonyangapuo and his Narok counterpart Stephen ole Ntutu (URP).
Jubilee rebel MPs Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), Zakayo Cheruiyot (Kuresoi South) and Johana Ng’eno (Emurua Dikir) are also in this team.
The Kanu brigade will hold a rally at Kapkatet Stadium that is also expected to be attended by Council of Governors chairman Peter Munya — another rebellious governor in the Jubilee basket — and Turkana’s Josephat Nanok.