Deputy President William Ruto has taken a swipe at President Uhuru Kenyatta over handout remarks that the head of state seemingly directed at him last Friday.
Speaking at African Holy Ghost Christian Church in Huruma, Nairobi, on Sunday, Ruto said he would continue giving cash donations to churches, youth and women’s groups.
“When you were looking for votes you gave out Sh100 but you did not call it handout. But when I am giving to churches, boda bodas and mama mbogas, it becomes handout. We may not be geniuses, but we are not fools,” he said.
“You gave people Sh100 to get a five-year job but when I give Sh5,000 to mama mboga, that becomes a handout.”
On Friday, Uhuru said some leaders do not have plans for transforming the lives of Kenyans and have instead resorted to dishing out handouts.
“Kenyans don’t want handouts. They want to be given the ability to fend for themselves,” the President said.
The head of state spoke when he inspected the construction of the multibillion-shilling Thwake Dam in Makueni county.
Ruto has often been criticised for giving out money and other donations to churches and welfare groups.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga has on several occasions accused Ruto of using riches acquired through ‘suspect means’ to fund religious causes.
Addressing faithful earlier in the day at New Breed City Chapel, Kiambu Road, Ruto said he has faced many accusations whenever he makes cash donations to churches.
“Some people have a problem with the way we worship. I have been accused of carrying money to church in sacks, but we will not stop,” he said.
Ruto pleaded with his critics to understand him whenever he donates to religious causes.
“We are waiting for the day when we will not be taking thousands or millions of shillings to the church. I can’t wait for the day when we will be donating billions of shillings to church,” he said.
“Some of us did not have godfathers, we only know of God the Father. Allow us to worship God the way we think we should.”
Ruto said his government will respect the church and religion.
“When you hear me talk about bottom up, we are speaking the language of the Bible. The Holy Book says God will uplift the poor and they will dine with kings. That is the explanation of the bottom up approach of dealing with issues,” he explained.
With him were MPs Alice Wahome (Kandara), Nixon Korir (Lang’ata), George Theuri (Embakasi West), John Kiarie (Dagoretti South), James Gakuya (Embakasi North), Millicent Omanga (nominated senator) and Bishop Margaret Wanjiru
Last year, a section of clergymen from the North Rift defended the DP over cash donations to churches.
Led by Bishop Simon Kemei, the men of the cloth said Ruto should ignore critics and continue supporting churches, adding that the money is sanctified once it is given to the church.
The bishops further appealed to the DP to support more churches across the country.
On Sunday, Ruto asked opposition principals to stop bothering the head of state with their disunity.
“The President was not elected to work for five or six people. The President works for the 47 million Kenyans not opposition leaders who cannot agree on anything,” he told faithful at African Holy Ghost Christian Church.
Ruto said opposition leaders have been pushing the President to lead efforts to amend the Constitution to have a system of governance that would accommodate all of them.
“Now that the plan seems to have hit a dead end, they want the President to bring them together. One of them says he still has bullets, another one says he cannot work with a certain person while the other says he wants money from the Political Parties Fund,” Ruto said.
The DP said he is waiting for opposition leaders at the ballot, even as they ponder how to face him.
“Stop wasting the President’s time. Your divisions should not be a concern of the head of state. The President works for all Kenyans,” he reiterated.
Edited by A.N