Nation FM Presenter: How Meeting Ruto Birthed the Wheelbarrow Slogan

  • President William Ruto holding a wheelbarrow during his campaign period
    President William Ruto holding a wheelbarrow during his campaign period
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  • In President William Ruto's yellow standard or presidential flag, the wheelbarrow stands out from the Kenyan flag colours and two spears. 

    The presidential standard is the flag used in many countries as a symbol of the head of state, and Ruto, stuck to his wheelbarrow symbol, an emblem that defined his campaigns and bottom-up economic philosophy. 

    In line with the standard, Nation FM presenter, Anto Neosoul, on Tuesday, September 13, recalled how the wheelbarrow initiative was birthed. 

    The musician, who was one of the youths who championed Ruto's ideologies, stated that the idea stemmed from Ruto carrying him on a wheelbarrow in September 2020. 

    A collage of William Ruto being pushed by Oga Obinna (left) and Anto Neosoul being pushed by William Ruto on a wheelbarrow(right)
    A collage of William Ruto being pushed by Oga Obinna (left) and Anto Neosoul being pushed by William Ruto on a wheelbarrow(right)
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    In a video that sparked debate online, the presenter was pushed by Ruto while Kiss Fm presenter Oga Obinna pushed the president in another wheelbarrow.

    Anto Neosoul stated that after the event, the wheelbarrow was officially adopted as the 'hustler' vehicle

    "A lot of people don't like to give me credit for that, it was the moment that began the wheelbarrow movement. The party was not talking about the wheelbarrow but after that moment, the wheelbarrow revolution began," he recounted.

    Anto Neosoul added that he received a lot of backlash for calling the wheelbarrow 'the hustler vehicle'.

    In addition, he noted that despite Ruto and his team distributing washing machines and wheelbarrows to mama mbogas and other 'hustlers', the wheelbarrow narrative was yet to be adopted.

    "He was always giving wheelbarrows, and washing machines but after that day it was clear that the wheelbarrow was the hustler's car," Neosoul added.

    In a surprise twist of events, he noted that on the day in question, he and Obinna had visited Ruto to discuss youth and artist empowerment.

    "Obinna and I had gone to meet Ruto. We were to discuss some issues we wanted him to address if he became president like intellectual property. Then Itumbi asked us to host the event," the radio presenter stated.

    The invite caught the two off-guard but they eventually agreed. Anto Neosoul, however, listed some demands before hosting the event.

    "If I am hosting this event, I want a wheelbarrow, a rake, a spade, and sufuria. I distributed the 'hustler' items. I was also very clear I wanted Ruto to carry me," he disclosed.

    The video of Ruto pushing the presenter went viral and other political leaders came forward to condemn the act, including former president Uhuru Kenyatta. Uhuru opined that it was ridiculous to offer graduates a wheelbarrow rather than jobs. 

    The official presidential flag unveiled by president William Ruto on Tuesday September 13, 2022
    The official presidential flag unveiled by president William Ruto on Tuesday, September 13, 2022
    File

    "While their kids went to university and are getting good jobs, we are being told that their work is with the wheelbarrow, that they are hustlers and should rear chicken and sell eggs," Uhuru complained.

    Ruto during a church service in 2021 defended his choice of the 'hustler' narrative represented by the wheelbarrow

    “For those who have problems with the simplicity of the wheelbarrow, they can as well tell us about the complexity of the orange,” Ruto remarked.