Deputy President William Ruto receives Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga in UDA Party after he defected from Jubilee Party. [Kibata Kihu, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto and his brigade have taken on President Uhuru Kenyatta over his decision to support his Handshake partner Raila Odinga as his preferred successor and his church remarks.

Ruto accompanied by his Kenya Kwanza partners Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) and Ford-Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula crisscrossed Laikipia and Nyeri counties where they poured cold water on the decision by Jubilee party to join Raila’s Azimio la Umoja coalition.

In efforts to maintain and sustain his influence in Mt Kenya region, Ruto maintained that he, too, should be credited for the development projects established and should be voted for the same.

Three days ago, the president in a meeting at Sagana State Lodge enumerated the development projects his administration has initiated in Mt Kenya region as a strategy to re-invent his dying popularity in the region.

But Ruto who spoke in Rumuruti in Laikipia and in Nyeri town, said he was part of the development agenda and as such he should be gauged on Jubilee’s score card.

“I have been to Nyeri over 10 times to launch and commission various development projects and that is what I should be gauged with on. Raila should show what he did for Mt Kenya region when he was the Prime Minister to warrant locals to vote for him,” Ruto said.

In a direct response to his boss, Ruto told Uhuru to keep off the church in his politics.

“Respect the church and avoid saying things about places of worship. Even if you don’t like contributing tithes and offering, leave the church alone and let us compete on ideologies and manifesto,” Ruto said.

He further claimed the President was being used by Raila to establish fringe parties in a bid to deliver presidency to him saying the move would backfire badly and land Uhuru into opposition after the August polls.

He said Uhuru’s involvement to succession politics would destroy his solid legacy as former President.

The Deputy President, who chose to respond to his boss at the heart of Nyeri town few kilometres from Sagana State Lodge where he was accused of rampant corruption and runaway theft of public resources, demanded that the president respect him for having campaigned for him in 2013 and in 2017 and delivering the presidency to him.

“They have called us crooks, but even if we are crooks we campaigned for him in 2013 and in 2017 and we made him the president, we should be respected for that,” the seemingly agitated DP said.

On his part, Mudavadi downplayed the Azimio coalition and criticised Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka for entering into a pact with Raila. He accused Kalonzo of forfeiting what they had agreed on, not to support Raila, especially after the collapse of the National Super Alliance (Nasa) over claims of Raila’s betrayal.

“Raila’s baggage is heavy and we carried it in 2013 and in 2017 and we are happy that it is no longer in our shoulders but I warn the Jubilee party that their decision to remove Ruto from the position of Deputy Party leader will be regretted,” Mudavadi added.

Wetang’ula slammed the President for referring to them (Kenya Kwanza leaders) as ‘wakora’ (crooks).

“The President should not use vulgar language since he is a symbol of national unity according to our Constitution, in any case, he is the one who sits with crooks who looted Kemsa money,” Wetangula said.

The Ruto battalion who seemed visibly angry over Uhuru’s decision to remove Ruto and other perceived rebels from the Jubilee party said they were firmly in UDA but vowed to politically deal with Uhuru for his actions.

They further accused Uhuru for impoverishing the Mt Kenya region.

“The President has insulted us that we are the crooks but we know who the crooks are,” Ndindi Nyoro retorted.

The leaders who are in an all-out war with the President for his decision to support Raila’s Presidential bid claimed Uhuru was ungrateful to Ruto and vowed to “humiliate” him should he continue meddling in succession politics.

“The President who hails from this region has taken Mt Kenya people for a ride and the electorate should reject his project Raila,” Nyali MP Mohammed Ali said.