Deputy President William Ruto on Tuesday said he won't resign his position barely hours after President Uhuru Kenyatta asked those dissatisfied with his government to quit.
Ruto said vowed to stay put in the Jubilee regime and that he won't retreat or surrender despite mounting calls for him to resign if he does not agree with Uhuru's agenda to unite the country.
The DP said he will not be cowed by threats and intimidations from some state officials he claimed were frustrating his campaigns to sell his bottom-up economic agenda in the country.
“I am a man of vision and I have no space to retreat and the luxury to surrender,” Dr Ruto told mourners at Rashia village on the outskirts of Taveta town in Taita-Taveta County on Tuesday.
The DP was speaking at the burial of the Mahoo MCA Ronald Sagurani who succumbed to Covid-19. Sagurani was elected through Jubilee and served as the assembly's leader of the minority.
Earlier, anti-riot police deployed had a hectic time to stop people from accessing the residence of the deceased where the funeral service was going on.
A contingent of police officers from the regular and the General Service Unit (GSU) was deployed at the entrance in the wake of the surging Covid-19 pandemic.
The DP drummed up support for the bottom-up economy saying he had started a conversation that many Kenyans were embracing.
He said the bottom-up economy will ensure that the jobless, small-scale businessmen who are struggling to make ends meet become part of the nation.
The DP allies, Taita-Taveta Woman Representative Lydia Haika and Malindi legislator Aisha Jumwa told mourners that the DP will not resign.
The legislators said both President Uhuru Kenyatta and the DP were together elected by voters and no one will force the other to resign.
“President Uhuru Kenyatta and Dr. Ruto were jointly elected on a Jubilee Party ticket. The DP cannot resign unless the two resign together,” Mrs. Haika told mourners.
Ms Jumwa said the DP will continue speaking for the voiceless despite intimidation and threats from some quarters. “Dr Ruto will continue speaking for the voiceless whether they like it or not,” she said.
Haika and Jumwa claimed police were being used to harass the DP’s supporters.
Earlier, pandemonium broke out after police barred residents and leaders from attending the burial ceremony. Some of the Members of the assembly (MCA) were mishandled by the security apparatus as they enforced the Covid-19 health protocols.
In reaction, Dr Ruto told mourners that the funeral was disrupted because some “people” did not want him to attend.
“I came to burry my friend who campaigned for the President and me during the two successive elections. It is unfortunate and shameful that my supporters and those of the deceased who came to bury him were blocked from attending his burial ceremony.
Time for chest thumping, intimidation and humiliating others will soon come to an end,” he told the mourners.
At the same time, Ruto told his competitors that Kenya cannot and will not be a preserve of certain leaders. “They should understand that I am a person who cannot surrender and I have decided to change the economy through the hustler movement and bottom-up approach.
He accused the proponents of the BBI of advancing selfish interests and agendas at the expense of many poor Kenyans.
“We want to build a nation that no Kenya can be left behind. We will not also allow few individuals to continue advancing their selfish interests by amending the constitution to share positions without regards to millions of jobless Kenyans,” he said,
Dr Ruto further asked for forgiveness on behalf of the government for those who had been harassed and blocked by the police to attend the burial ceremony of their leader.
“We have done politics together with the deceased and we have been visiting each other on several occasions. Why did the police allow themselves to disrupt me and the people to pay their last respect to their departed leader,” posed the DP.
“What happened yesterday morning is shameful. And I am apologizing on behalf of the government because those who disrupted the function were targeting me and did not know what they are doing. The deceased contributed a lot to Jubilee coalition’s success in the two consecutive elections and should have been respected,” he said.
Ruto noted that some of his critics did not want him to attend the burial ceremony and that was why they did not want his supporters to attend also to listen to me.
“Disruption of funerals that I attend will soon come to an end,” he warned.
He thanked the votes at Mahoo ward for voting for the deceased to serve in the government. “While the President and were looking for leadership, the deceased helped us a lot,”: he said.
“I am one of your own and a local person at Mata village. I will be coming all the time to meet my neighbours and village mates,” Ruto who owns land at Mata location told the mourners.
President Kenyatta and Governor Granton Samboja sent their messages of condolences to the bereaved family through Taveta MP Naomi Shaban and Nominated MCA Rose Shingira respectively.
DR Ruto was accompanied by among others Senator Johnes Mwaruma, MPs Andrew Mwadime (Mwatate), Jones Mlolwa (Voi), damson Mwashako (Wundanyi), KIman wa Ichungwa (Kikuyu), John NjugunaWanjiku (Kiamba)and former Governor John Mruttu.