Ruto's Address Sparks Debate [VIDEO]

  • Deputy President William Ruto addressing a gathering, February 17, 2020.
    Deputy President William Ruto addressing a gathering, February 17, 2020.
  • Deputy President William Ruto resurfaced and addressed the nation after Kenyans had raised questions on his whereabouts and his absence from President Uhuru Kenyatta and Health CS Mutahi Kagwe-led daily briefings on the government's fight against the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

    The DP while addressing the nation outside his Karen home, Nairobi, on Thursday, April 9, reiterated directives issued by Kenyatta and Kagwe, as Kenyans raised questions on the content of his address.

    "Our current tribulation has brought us its share of heartbreaks, but what a better time to consider our blessed hope in God for the assured victory ahead. We are in a new place, confronting a situation that is unprecedented in our time. We have never been here before. Our children are out of school and everyone is facing serious challenges. We can no longer attend places of worship as we did before. 

    President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing the nation from State House Nairobi on April 6, 2020.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing the nation from State House Nairobi on April 6, 2020.

    "Defeating this virus requires behavioural and hygiene measures such as washing hands and wearing masks. Curtailing movement will immobilise its spread. That is why we are urging those who can work from home do so as we maintain social-distance," Ruto stated

    He also called on employers to adopt a work shift to minimise congestion in workplaces. He further emphasised on Kenyatta's directive to initiate a partial lockdown in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Mombasa, banning movement in and out of the red zones. 

    "Kenyans should adhere to these measures stipulated by the government from time to time. Many Kenyans are, however, asking 'when government tells us what to do, what does it do against Coronavirus?'. President Uhuru Kenyatta has taken personal charge of this situation and mobilised government at both levels together with development partners, the private sector and friends of Kenya to accomplish a number of objectives," Ruto stated adding that citizen behaviour was at the heart of defeating the pandemic. 

    He also informed that he had engaged with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) on the production of kits for mass testing, as schools were being readied to be used as isolation centres, while production of face masks had also been initiated.

    Insubordination? - the debate

    However, Kenyans, including analysts and netizens poked holes at Ruto's address with political analyst Mutahi Ngunyi viewing Ruto's decision to address the nation on Covid-19, as insubordination of Kenyatta. 

    "To understand Uhuru Kenyatta, read his eyes. To understand Deputy President William Ruto, read his body language. Today it is combative and defiant. He has appointed himself Co-President and is giving a statement from his Co-Government. This is bold!" Ngunyi tweeted on Thursday, April 9. 

    "He just told Uhuru Kenyatta that, he, William Ruto, runs his own parallel government from the steps of Harambee Annex! This is a first! William Ruto is rude. It is like we have two governments running parallel to each other. He is telling the president that 'I can do what i can at any time!' Dangerous. He has also basically put together all the pressers of Kenyatta and Mutahi Kagwe into a speech. This is direct insubordination of the President of the Republic of Kenya and the government. Unless otherwise, you can't summon the whole country to repeat the President " Abraham Mutai added.

    Earlier on Orange Democratic Movement  (ODM) director of communications, Philip Etale had opined that Ruto was not in a position to address the nation, as Kenyatta only enjoyed such power.

    "The only person mandated by law to address the nation is the President. Other people can only address a media conference and field questions. In any case, the head of state already addressed the Nation and issued guidelines regarding the war on Coronavirus," Etale tweeted.

    Political analyst Herman Manyora, on his part, had speculated that Ruto would avoid questions surrounding is whereabouts, and those aligned to politics.

    "I believe he would steer away from such talks as the country is at an unprecedented moment. He may show solidarity to Kenyans and unless it is something different, a bombshell may be that he is resigning from this position," Manyora informed on Thursday, April 9. 

    Video: Citizen TV