A leaked audio recording has reportedly revealed how Deputy President William Ruto nearly slapped President Uhuru Kenyatta following a disagreement.
The Sunday Nation reported that in the recording, DP Ruto is heard speaking to Kikuyu elders in a meeting held on Friday at his official Karen residence in Nairobi.
According to the publication, Ruto is heard in the audio narrating the tense moments with Uhuru that followed the annulment of their 2017 election win.
Ruto told the elders that Uhuru was devastated by the Supreme Court ruling that he contemplated giving up a second term in office.
The Nation daily further reported that Ruto told the Gikuyu elders that it was only due to his insistence that President Uhuru agreed to the repeat poll.
DP Ruto and Uhuru met at State House on September 1, 2017, when tense discussions nearly turned physical.
“So, ndiyo huyo… Oh, sasa, hii maneno, sijui nini, mimi sitaki, mimi nataka kuenda Ichaweri, sasa mimi sitaki, wacha tuachane na hii kitu,” Ruto is quoted as saying.
(Here is the President saying oh, he does not want to take part in the repeat elections and that he wants to go to Ichaweri (his home village in Kiambu County), that we should abandon this thing.)
“Mimi nikamwangalia, nikamwambia ‘wewe’! Ni vile tu nilikua na heshima, ningemchapa kofi. Ati sisi tuache?”
(I looked at him and told him ‘you!’ It’s only that I was being respectful, I would have slapped him. How could we just quit?)
Ruto added: “Ati tutoke hapa?’ Hapana, hapana, hapana. Na ni kura tumeshinda? Kwani alikua ametushinda wapi? Tumeshinda wabunge, tumeshinda ma governor, tumeshinda senators wengi—tumefanya hiyo kazi yote.
(I told him there was no way we could just quit when we had won the election. We had more MPs, more governors and senators. We had done a lot of work)
Kenyatta’s Cousin Corroborates Ruto’s Claims
The elders who visited DP Ruto at his Karen residence included President Kenyatta’s cousin, Captain Kung’u Muigai.
Captain Muigai confirmed the details of the recording obtained by the Nation.
“That came up and he was very clear that Uhuru was so disappointed and discouraged and actually thought about not participating in the repeat election. Personally, I can attest to that. That is true. It is Ruto who told him ‘No, you can’t do that. You cannot walk away like we have been defeated’. I am in very close proximity to both of them. It is Ruto who said that they could not just quit,” said Muigai.
Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria also attended the meeting and corroborated Ruto’s remarks in the recording.
“The DP said he was with the President, and the President was almost giving up but he told him he could not give up. He was just overwhelmed. It is the DP who made him strong and told him he could not give up. The president was fatigued with the fight,” said Kuria.
But a former high-ranking State House bureaucrat dismissed Ruto’s claims, saying the president did not need any convincing to run in the repeat election.
“I can tell you we had already put a contingency plan and we are the ones who executed the campaigns ahead of the repeat election. In our scenario planning, we envisaged a situation where the election would be contested. That is what we do in the back office.
“We knew the court process could go in any direction and the second phase of our campaign was ready, the one we called Uhuru ni Wetu. We had it prepared before the first election. That is why we were able to roll it out immediately after the court decision,” the former State House official, who requested anonymity citing confidentiality requirements of his job told the Sunday Nation.
Ruto was addressing 1,200 elders from Kiambu in the Friday meeting.