In Summary
  • As the event started, Tangatanga politicians tried to protest after discovering that Suna East MP Junet Mohamed was listed as an emcee for the event.
  • Dr Ruto's supporters said the DP had been forced to wait for some minutes for President Kenyatta’s convoy and that of Mr Odinga to leave the venue before he was cleared to leave.

Wednesday was a long day for Deputy President William Ruto and his allies as they endured moments of humiliation before, during and after the launch of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report at Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi.

That the DP was having an uneasy time was reflected in his demeanour and body language during the ceremony that was a culmination of the ‘handshake’ between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Throughout the event, Dr Ruto appeared pensive as speaker after speaker heaped praises on President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Odinga for the Building Bridges Initiative. He laughed or smiled only occasionally.

As President Kenyatta laughed animatedly at jokes and jibes, Dr Ruto wore a blank face.

The 'handshake' drew President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga and their supporters close, but alienated Dr Ruto who has on several occasions accused the ODM leader of seeking to split Jubilee Party.

SIDELINED

Their rivalry reached the climax during the recent Kibra by-election when they engaged in a supremacy battle.

Following the loss of the Jubilee candidate, Dr Ruto accused Mr Odinga and his ODM party of fuelling violence.

On Wednesday, President Kenyatta made light of the matter, saying the election had in fact demonstrated mature politics.

On Thursday, Dr Ruto's supporters complained about what they termed as attempts of the organisers of the event to humiliate and embarrass the DP.

During the ceremony, leaders who have openly shown support for Dr Ruto under the Tangatanga faction of Jubilee were conspicuously missing from the list of speakers.

Only Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, who is the Majority Leader in the Senate, and Mr Adan Duale, the Majority Leader in the National Assembly, got a chance to speak.

“We were not even informed that we would speak as we were not given any programme indicating the list of speakers of the day,” Mr Murkomen said Thursday.

“I guess that it was an afterthought to allow us to speak, reading from the mood in the building.”

RUTO HUMILIATED

Mr Murkomen said although the event was meant to start a conversation on national unity, the running of the event and mobilisation of delegates were aimed at silencing the DP’s supporters.

“It was purely a one-sided event,” he said. “They mobilised their own people; they didn’t want us to talk and they heckled us.”

Mr Murkomen was heckled when he complained about the treatment given to some leaders.

Dr Ruto's supporters said the DP had been forced to wait for some minutes for President Kenyatta’s convoy and that of Mr Odinga to leave the venue before he was cleared to leave.

The DP, in the co-driver’s seat, watched the convoy of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga leave ahead of him.

Some delegates leaving the venue also shouted at the DP, accusing him of opposing the initiative.

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