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Ruto falls back on mama mboga, boda boda riders to counter Raila’s protests

During last year’s election campaign period, one of President William Ruto’s pet subjects was his promise to empower the hustlers if elected president. At every campaign rally, he spoke about his grand vision for the Hustler Nation, whose biggest constituents are the mama mbogas and boda boda operators.

Throughout the campaign period, the then Deputy President made it clear to the voters that his would be a government for the hustlers.

“We assure you that in this new political journey, no Kenyan will be left lagging behind. Just like we set aside Ksh120m for every constituency to build schools through the constituency development fund, next year we will preserve another Sh120 million to support mama mboga, boda boda and kiosk operators. We will also ensure they access government loans that charge low interests and in turn enable them to run their businesses seamlessly,” President is on record for saying while on the campaign trail.

His campaign agenda, it seems, proved a masterstroke and he is now the President of the Republic of Kenya. Many months later, following his election victory, the president has since toned down on all that talk about mama mboga and boda boda operators.

Also read: Oburu Oginga – I’m disturbed by political feud between Ruto and Raila

That is until Friday this week after his main challenger in last year’s election, Raila Odinga and his allies from Azimio la Umoja coalition, staged a massive protest that practically shut down most business activities in Nairobi on a day of chaos characterised by running street battles between opposition supporters and anti-riot police officers.

Suddenly, it appeared the president had fallen back on his favourite campaign topic – mama mbogas and boda boda operators – to shore up support in the face of building momentum from the opposition coalition.

Speaking on Friday in Kisii County during the homecoming ceremony of the Cabinet Secretary for Education Ezekiel Mochogu, President Ruto berated Mr Odinga while faulting him for what he termed as disruption to the lives of mama mboga and boda boda operators with demonstrations.

Also read: From face me, to support me – Ruto asks Raila to end protests

“I am asking you, Kisii residents: did he compete with you or me? He competed with me and if he has any problem, let him ask me. He is now creating trouble for hustlers, making them not do their business,” the president said.

President Ruto went as far as challenging the opposition chief to a personal duel ahead of the protests planned for Monday and Thursday next week.

“What is his issue with our traders? Let him come face me directly. I am the one who defeated him, not our traders. I defeated you very early, but you now don’t want to face me. You are only bothering ordinary citizens,” President Ruto said.

However, a day later, the president appeared to have softened his hardline stance as he asked Mr Odinga to support him instead of staging protests.

“Why are you bothering me with demonstrations yet I fully supported you when it mattered most to a point that I was taken to The Hague? Why can’t you support me?” President Ruto said on Saturday while on a tour of Migori County.

Also read: Martha Karua claps back at DCI for calling Azimio protests ‘illegal’