Wheelbarrow Movement: DP Ruto's Donations Compared to Top Politicians

  • Deputy President William Ruto pictured in Dagoretti South on September 29, 2020.
    Deputy President William Ruto pictured in Dagoretti South on September 29, 2020.
    DPPS
  • Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto recently donated a fleet of taxis, causing a stir in the process as his political rivals questioned the intent behind his gifts.

    On Sunday, October 4, the DP came out with a statement reiterating that his 'Wheelbarrow Movement' was here to stay. Alluding to his new tag linked with his donations.

    "Countrymen, finally the wheelbarrow/mkokoteni/bodaboda moment is here. The discourse about; hustlers not tribes; wananchi not leaders; empowerment of ordinary hustles not power for the few; ordinary hustler jobs not positions for the mighty; from bottom not top down. Jipange," he tweeted.

    Over the last year, DP Ruto has been hosting delegations of people at his Karen and Sugoi residences where he gives out items such as hand carts, washing machines, water tanks, wheelbarrows among other things.

    Taxis donated by Deputy President William Ruto pictured at his residence on October 2, 2020.
    Taxis donated by Deputy President William Ruto pictured at his residence on October 2, 2020.
    DPPS

    While his detractors have been raising questions over the source of his wealth, it is important to note that donations have been married to the Kenyan politics since independence.

    Here is a look at some of the country's top leaders and their donations track record.

    Former President Mwai Kibaki

    A photo recently emerged of the former president reportedly donating wheelbarrows. He was not a politician linked with 'splashing' the cash.

    However, in 2007, he ran one of the most expensive campaigns at the time.

    A study by the Coalition for Accountable Political Financing (CAPF), a Nairobi-based think-tank, estimated that President Mwai Kibaki and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga spent Ksh7.5 billion (what could be easily traced) on their presidential bids.

    Former President Mwai Kibaki pictured while making a wheelbarrow donation.
    Former President Mwai Kibaki pictured while making a wheelbarrow donation.
    File

    The means through which the money got to the grassroots isn't as well documented, aside from the now viral 'wheelbarrow' photo.

    Raila Odinga

    The ODM Party leader was on the end of scathing attacks after his essential items donation in Kibra during the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a stampede.

    The former PM has called out DP Ruto on several occasions, pushing him to disclose the source of his wealth.

    “He delights in throwing crumbs to women and the youth so that they can be happy," he once quipped in reference to the DP.

    On his part, Raila's donations are seldom public. It was only recently during a private meeting at KNUT chairman Wilson Sossion that the country came to learn that Emurua Dikirr MP Joshua Ngeno actually attained his education with the ODM leader as his chief sponsor.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta

    DP Ruto's partner has mostly splashed his cash via his charitable organizations such as the Kenyatta Foundation, focusing primarily on education.

    During campaigns, just like any other presidential candidate, he was linked to small handouts dished out during rallies.

    When it comes to donations, few can rival the President. For instance, in November 2019, he donated Ksh 100 million to Eliud Kipchoge, the World’s greatest Marathoner, to realise his dream to build a library in his village.

    He has also been known for his numerous bus donations to various schools across the country.

    However, based on historical data, the late President Daniel arap Moi is arguably the politician who made the biggest donations.

    He built many churches; from a remote village in Nyatike in Migori, to Lodwar, Malindi, Mombasa and Kajiado. He also invested over Ksh 50 million in AIC Milimani in Nairobi.

    Since the emergence of multiparty elections in Kenya in 1992, only those parties that have huge resource bases have continued to win elections.

    In August 1992 the late president issued a cheque of Ksh14 million to compensate sugar farmers, who had not been paid since the collapse of the Kwale Ramisi sugar factory. 

    On October 18, he ordered then Minister Ronald Ngala to provide sugar cane farmers, who had not been paid for over a year, with Ksh20 million for deliveries to the Nzoia Sugar Company. 

    Just two weeks later he was in Bungoma District with another Ksh20 million cheque as a personal gift to the sugar farmers there. He also paid out Ksh10million in Kanduyi in Bungoma for a teacher training college. To name but a few.

    Deputy President William Ruto hands out Covid-19 donations in Nachu Ward, Kikuyu Constituency on May 20, 2020.
    Deputy President William Ruto hands out Covid-19 donations in Nachu Ward, Kikuyu Constituency on May 20, 2020.
    DPPS