DP William Ruto (left) and CS Peter Munya during the official opening of the Meru Investment Forum at KEMU University. /DPPS
DP William Ruto (left) and CS Peter Munya during the official opening of the Meru Investment Forum at KEMU University. /DPPS

Deputy President William Ruto and Agriculture CS Peter Munya on Tuesday publicly clashed at a funeral in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Kiambu county.

In what signalled the widening rift between President Kenyatta and the DP, Munya told off Ruto over an earlier remark that a section of Mt Kenya leaders was trying to make Kenyatta a regional President.

“President Uhuru is our President and I want to plead with you as leaders and the people from this region, do not reduce the President to be a President of Mt Kenya alone. No.

“If you say the President to be a President for this region alone, who will be our President? We voted for him and we love him and we have worked with him all these years,” Ruto said amid cheers from the mourners.

But in a quick rejoinder, Munya who spoke after the DP said Uhuru has the right to meet the leaders from Mt Kenya “as he would do for other regions”.

He said the President is committed to ensuring that there is development across all regions of the country.

“We have never said Uhuru is the President for Mt Kenya region alone. He is the President of all Kenyans and we respect him. Just as he is implementing development projects elsewhere, he is also doing for Mt Kenya because Mt Kenya is also part of Kenya. Therefore there is no problem as what the Deputy President has said,” he said.

Ruto and Munya also differed sharply on the development projects being implemented by the Jubilee administration in Uhuru’s backyard.

The DP who spoke during the burial of Thika MP Patrick Wainaina’s mother in Mang’u asked politicians not to reduce President Uhuru Kenyatta’s national profile to that of a Mt Kenya leader.

He said it was unfortunate that some leaders were branding the President a tribal leader.

Ruto said he has never considered himself as the leader of Rift Valley but a servant of all Kenyans.

Gatundu North MP Anne Wanjiku, who was the master of ceremonies, read out the projects that have been rolled out in the county, including those that have stalled.

When the DP stood, he also listed out the roads, water and electricity connections that have been done promising that action will taken against a contractor who has stalled a road construction.

“We will work hard to fulfil the pledges we made as the Jubilee government including roads. I remember Kang’oo to Kamwangi before it was not tarmacked now it is tarmacked,” Ruto said.

He added, “It is unfortunate that a contractor who was given the road has not done the road as is required and I want to assure that the contractor will be issued with a notice and if he is incapable, we have a lot of work and many contractors. We will look for another contractor to fulfil the pledge we made to you,” Ruto said. 

However, Munya took credit saying during a recent meeting where he was meeting coffee and tea farmers, he was told of the stalled road and he immediately alerted the President.

The President subsequently directed Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia to ensure the contractor resumes work.

In the meeting where once again there was protocol hitch as DP invited the CS to speak prompting the mourners to walk out, Ruto told the people of Mt Kenya to ignore those inciting the region that he does not respect the President.

Ruto said he fully supports the President and he has been his trusted ally for many years asking the residents of the region to shun attempts by some leaders “to slide the country back to ethnic politics”.

“The politics you see around should not cause you sleepless nights. We will keep on ensuring that Kenya remains peaceful and united. We cannot accept Kenya to slide back to tribalism. That one, I want to give you my word as the Deputy President of Kenya. We cannot allow this country to backslide into ethnic groups. We will work together as we forge ahead,” he said.

He added, “And let no one lie to you that we do not love you. I want to assure you that we love you so much and that is why we mobilise the whole country …Is there any person who has campaigned across the country for President Uhuru than me? Is there any other friendship for one to campaign and vote for you and to help you in all that? Is there more friendship than that?”