Kenya deputy president asks Kenyatta for forgiveness

Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto, has asked President Uhuru Kenyatta for forgiveness after the pair fell out following their re-election in 2018.

The differences between President Kenyatta and his deputy have played out openly in public.

The president did not support Mr Ruto’s bid for the presidency in August’s elections and had instead thrown his weight behind opposition leader, Raila Odinga.

Mr Ruto made his comments at an annual prayer breakfast meeting organised by Parliament – with Mr Kenyatta in the audience.

The deputy president addressed the gathering, asking Kenyans for forgiveness for any of the government’s shortcomings – and then went on to refer to Mr Kenyatta as his “good friend”.

“I also know that serving as deputy president, I may have fallen short of expectations of my boss, his Excellency the president – my good friend, I ask for your forgiveness,” he said.

He went on to wish the president a peaceful retirement.

Mr Kenyatta, who was finishing his second and last term this year, did not react to Mr Ruto’s comments.

The president did not have the power to sack his deputy – he could only be removed from office if he was impeached or was incapacitated.

From pushing wheelbarrows to making much of the fact that he was a chicken seller in his youth, Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto, was increasingly framing next year’s general election as a contest between “hustlers” and “dynasties”.

In Kenya, hustlers referred to those – especially young people – who struggled to make ends meet in an economy thatwas said to be no longer working for them.

The word dynasties, on the other hand, was a moniker to describe wealthy families that were seen to have dominated politics – and the economy – since independence from the UK in the 1960s.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition politician, Raila Odinga, have been put in the latter category.

They were the sons of the country’s first president and vice-president respectively, although Mr Odinga held the record for being Kenya’s longest-serving political detainee and had been instrumental in the fight for political reforms.

The phrase “Hustler Nation” was coined by Mr Ruto, a 54 year-old combative and ambitious politician. -BBC

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