Inside DP’s crisis meeting with MPs

Inside DP Ruto’s crisis meeting with Tangatanga legislators

Deputy President William Ruto yesterday held a crisis meeting with Tangatanga-allied legislators in the wake of a renewed onslaught against him by government and continued attacks over his bottom-up economic approach.

Dr Ruto who chaired the ‘Hustler Nation’ parliamentary group meeting at his Karen home, sources revealed, came under pressure from a section of his lieutenants to go full-throttle against President Kenyatta in the wake of his strong push-back against his 2022 presidential bid.

Coming barely two days after he was blocked from travelling to Uganda, Dr Ruto is engaging in a delicate balancing act between the need to reassure his increasingly distant boss that he is a loyal deputy.

He is also in a dilemma on whether to stay put in government and enjoy the trappings of power by virtue of his office as this is vital for his presidential bid in next year’s election or call it a day and fight from outside government.

“We are not guests in any place. We join parties by choice and leave by choice. Nobody should ask why we are still here. We were not invited to this country,” Dr Ruto declared.

The meeting also resolved to have the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) – the DP’s new political vehicle – conduct its grassroots elections in October.

“Once we are through with the membership recruitment drive, we agreed and hope to have our grassroots elections sometime in October,” said former National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale.

Sources in the meeting disclosed that the thorny issue of a coalition was also at play as the country’s second-in-command and his close aides are said to be keen on the merger of parties in the camp to strengthen UDA.

Bottom-up economic model

Both The Service Party (TSP) leader Mwangi Kiunjuri and his People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) counterpart Moses Kuria, who back Dr Ruto’s bid, were conspicuously missing from the PG, lifting the lid on simmering tensions in the DP’s camp.

“The most outstanding issue was, however, the bottom-up approach that is our clarion call but which has attracted criticism from certain quarters just because they don’t understand the model, or want to distract our agenda,” an MP who attended the meeting told the Nation.

The DP’s bottom-up economic model has been the subject of criticism by his political opponents in the past weeks, with ODM leader Raila Odinga claiming it was merely a system for handouts, while Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi dismissed it as “mere semantics”.

Kandara MP Alice Wahome, a key ally of the DP was last week at pains to explain the ‘bottom-up’ model, only serving to complicate matters for the DP’s camp.

Yesterday, the ODM party, in a statement, dismissed the DP’s bottom-up model as a “pseudo economic model”.

“We have watched with intense bemusement, after weeks of comical tongue-stiffening on national TV, Tangatanga trying to explain their pseudo economic model, bottom-up.”

“They have comically tried to frame the argument as between the so called bottom-up viz. trickle-down economic models, whilst demonstrating they have no clue what either means,” ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna wrote.

A source at the DP’s Karen meeting revealed that the attacks on his economic model had necessitated the meeting, which saw the team taken through various documents prepared by economic experts.

Trickle-down economic model

“In our meeting, we were taken through what the model entails so that when we get out there, we have clear information to debunk allegations being peddled by our opponents,” the source revealed.

Mr Duale confirmed that the UDA-allied legislators were taken through the bottom-up concept prepared by various experts led by economist David Ndii.

“Yes, our members, a total of 135 people, were taken through the bottom-up model properly. The DP presented the power point prepared by our experts led by David Ndii and we agreed that we will support policies and legislations that are pro-‘hustlers’ in Parliament,” said Mr Duale.

“We have generated about five documents and many other materials for them on this model,” said Dr Ndii.

Dr Ruto told journalists after the meeting that his team will continue with the bottom-up agenda despite criticism from opponents.

“We understand that our competitors have criticised matters to do with economy and our bottom-up model. We welcome all the criticism because it’s an avenue for us to improve on our model,” Dr Ruto said.

He challenged his opponents to explain to the country how their trickle-down economic model, which he claimed had not worked for the last 60 years, will work this time.

“It’s a healthy conversation and we want to persuade them to remove insults and the reference to bottom up or bottoms up liquor competition or anatomy of different parts of the body. They should get rid of those insults,” added the DP.

Hustler Nation’s new home

He went on: “Let’s have a healthy competition, a conversation about the economy of our country. Kenya will be a lot better and stands a chance to be greater when we all engage in issues, especially on the bottom up economic model to lift the millions of citizens of our nation that today are either jobless, hustling or farmers, pastoralists and herders who are on food relief.”

“It is our very considered view that our focus on 50 million Kenyans will not only help us broaden and expand and recruit new taxpayers, they will help us raise necessary resources to run government and also to retire debt, that is becoming a crisis in our country.”

The legislators noted that the governing Jubilee party has collapsed, “the opposition Nasa coalition disintegrated and the ‘Hustler Nation’ has found a new home in the United Democratic Alliance.”

“In 2017, Jubilee was elected by an overwhelming majority on the platform of the Big Four Agenda… sadly, this framework degenerated into an unnecessary, arbitrary, selfish and unconstitutional attempt at changing the Constitution that occasioned unlawful and unbudgeted expenditure of billions of shillings of public resources that are to date unaccounted for and are a subject of the Auditor-General’s inquiry,” Ms Wahome said.

She said it was unfortunate that the country had, for the past four years, been engaged in the BBI process, “characterised by hubris, chest-thumping, blackmail, intimidation and bribery”.

They accused the Nasa coalition, its principals and their Jubilee collaborators of taking the government hostage and hijacking its agenda.

“(They) completely destroyed the governing Jubilee party and dismembered the entire opposition coalition, emasculated Parliament, undermined the rule of law, threatened the independence of the Judiciary and emboldened impunity,” said the MPs.

They vowed to prioritise “bottom-up over trickle-down economics, the people over their leaders, empowerment over power sharing, jobs over positions, enterprise over patronage and economic transformation over opportunistic constitutional amendment”.

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