Deputy President William Ruto has challenged Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga to play his role as an opposition leader “instead of having one leg in government and the other outside it”.
Dr Ruto said the Jubilee government had been on the road to fixing the economy, but the entry of Mr Odinga through the March 2018 handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta had turned the policies and priorities upside down.
“We welcomed you (in government). Please have some manners or go back to the opposition. You cannot continue to lecture us on why certain things have not happened yet you are the one causing confusion,” Dr Ruto said on Sunday in reference to Mr Odinga and his allies.
Speaking after opening the newly-constructed Africa Inland Church (AIC) in Londiani town, Kericho County, the DP said the greatest problem bedevilling the country is poor economic policies that have seen few people fall under the tax bracket.
“The economic model we are running as a country has locked out the majority from the tax bracket. It is something that has to be fixed to enable Kenya Revenue Authority meet the mid and long-term revenue targets,” said Dr Ruto.
The DP took exception to claims by ODM leaders that the country is heavily indebted, thus slowing economic growth.
Dr Ruto said: “Instead of fixing the economy, their only interest is creating positions for the big boys through the Building Bridges Initiative to the detriment of the voters who are taxpayers. It is a perfect case of having priorities upside down.”
“We will not take instructions from anybody or entertain threats and blackmail by our opponents. We will continue to empower the wheelbarrow [and] handcart pushers, boda-boda operators and others in the informal sector to enable them to fend for their families and upscale their business engagements,” said Dr Ruto.
The country, he said, is faced with socio-economic problems that need immediate solutions for the sake of posterity.
He said skewed policies have slowed down economic growth with dwindling employment opportunities for Kenyans.
“The fact that a few people and companies are paying taxes is a clear indication of skewed economic policies in the country,” he said.
“It is the responsibility and business of every government to ensure that young people have jobs and a conducive environment for business to thrive,” Dr Ruto said in Kericho.
“We have to get our priorities right as a country and focus on alleviating the problems facing the populace. We must make it a priority to change the economic model in the country and get more people involved in economic development,” Dr Ruto said.
He said that despite criticism from his opponents, he will continue empowering people in the informal sector, having so far fundraised for over 200 groups across the country.
“I have heard him (Odinga) asking me to state what I have done for this country. I want to ask him to tell Kenyans how he has helped them in his entire political life, other than being hungry for power,” asked Dr Ruto.
He called on Kenyans to guard against politicians out to incite them to violence for selfish political gain, adding that the 2007/2008 post-election violence will not recur.
“Never will there be any conflict due to political competition in the country. It is a pledge we made and we will abide by it. Politicians should avoid politics of ethnicity and deceit,” said Dr Ruto.
He said the construction of Itare dam in Nakuru County, Bosto dam in Bomet and Masaita dam in Kericho had stalled due to bad politics.