Ruto woos city voters with Sh150b pledge for start-ups


Deputy President William Ruto addresses residents along Section Three in Eastleigh, Nairobi on January 12, 2022. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto alleged political intimidation as he courted Nairobi with a promise to set aside Sh150 billion for startups.

Ruto and his allies claimed State agencies were being used to blackmail political players.

He labeled ODM leader Raila Odinga a state project and candidate for rich individuals.

Ruto spoke yesterday when he held rallies in Nairobi County. “I want to tell our competitors not to sell fear to us. You are selling ethnicity. We are not buying intimidation. We are standing firm against your blackmail and intimidation,” he said.

“Those who think they will decide who will becomes the president in a boardroom will be in for a rude shock,” he added.

The DP’s camp has consistently alleged a scheme by the State to frustrate his bid following his dramatic fallout with President Uhuru Kenyatta. The team has linked arrests and subsequent charging of some of Ruto’s allies to a scheme to intimidate them to back off from supporting his presidential bid.

The DP said his administration would offer Sh50 billion for small businesses to rescue them from shylocks and high loan interests rates charged by financial institutions should he succeed President Kenyatta. Another Sh100 billion would be allocated for housing, agro-processing and other programmes – that appear to borrow heavily from the Big Four Agenda – to spur economic growth from the bottom.

Ruto promised to build 20 new markets for traders in Nairobi and tackle water shortage. He pledged Sh5 billion annual kitty for small businesses in Nairobi to cushion them from predatory lenders.

Ruto made stopovers in Kamkunji, Embakasi West, Embakasi North, Mathare and Embakasi East constituencies.

In the 2017 polls, President Kenyatta under Jubilee Party managed 791,291 votes against Raila’s 828,826 out of the 1,629,894 valid votes, according to data by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. Ruto seized the moment to attack the ODM leader, his perceived main challenger in the August election, by dismissing his Sh6,000 stipend for the poor, describing it as “handouts” to skilled youth who need employment or opportunities to start businesses.

“The youth of Kenya do not need handouts. These people have gone to school and only require empowerment to run their business. They have no time for handouts,” he said.

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua also warned against alleged misuse of state agencies to intimidate and blackmail Ruto allies.

Others present were MPs Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu), Millicent Omanga (Nominated), Simon Mbugua (Eala), Aden Duale (Garissa Towbship) and former Starehe MP Margaret Wanjiru.

The UDA team said the bottom-up economic model will establish a friendly legal and financial regime. They said this will boost small markets that support millions of livelihoods to grow.

“We will build modern markets and initiate pro-investment laws that will oil the growth of such enterprises. This will advance our broad and inclusive plan of uplifting millions of ordinary Kenyans struggling to put food on the table,” said Ruto.

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