During the president’s speech from State House in Mombasa on Tuesday 14 January 2020, the deputy president, William Ruto, was missing from the scene.
Donned in a white shirt with flags beaming behind him, the president read his speech, and in the end, responded to questions.
The president read through the lines to the end, then his Strategic Communication Unit head, Kanze Dena, directed the journalists to shoot their questions.
President Kenyatta rarely has time to answer questions from the press members, but today he broke the norm as he tackled as many questions as he could.
The conference looked low-key but had a lot of tell-tale signals.
DP William Ruto was conspicuously missing from the address, contrary to their previously when he and the president would match their dressing, throw smiles at each other, and handle press questions jointly.
The DP’s no-show at the press conference probably conveyed a message that things were no longer the same with the two. The speech was issued at a time when the chasm between the president and his deputy continues to widen.
About the sacking of Mwangi Kiunjuri, whose slot has been filled by former Meru County Governor Peter Munya, the president smiled and responded in brief.
“The ones I haven’t mentioned …. They are either in [another] place, and if they are not in place, then so be it. Kenya moves on,” he said.
On the other hand, Kiunjuri said in another press conference that his firing did not come as a surprise and that he was going anywhere, inferring that he would still be active in politics.
The president also talked about the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), which seems to be widening the gap between him and his deputy.
He dismissed the critics of BBI, who say the initiative is meant to create political positions for certain people.
“The BBI is not about creating positions. We are talking about how we are going to deal with corruption, youth unemployment, and equity so that after every election, we do not have to fight each other,” stated Uhuru.
“I find it very unfortunate in the process of unifying Kenya, people feel they are being left out,” he added.
Contrarily, on Monday, the Deputy President scoffed at the BBI consultative forum that was held in Kisii County on Friday, last week. He also accused the ODM part of hijacking BBI and using it for selfish political schemes.
Additionally, Ruto also blamed the Jubilee woes on what he referred to as the infiltration of NASA coalition ideologies.
“We accept that BBI/handshake has been hijacked to craft ODM’s 2022 political line up. Unity/inclusivity presence and associated squander of public resources should stop,” the DP tweeted.
We accept that Bbi/handshake has been hijacked to craft Odm's 2022 political line up. Unity/inclusivity pretence & associated squander of public resources should stop.Unity?the opposition (NASA) is already dismembered/dead;now dividing Jubilee. Big4 roll out only way to go.
— William Samoei Ruto, PhD (@WilliamsRuto) January 12, 2020