Ruto said he is ready for the talks and won't set any conditions because "President Uhuru Kenyatta is my boss and we were elected together." /FILE
Deputy President William Ruto has welcomed the Catholic Church offer to mediate the rift between him and President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Ruto said he is ready for the talks and won’t set any conditions because “President Uhuru Kenyatta is my boss and we were elected together.”
“Church leaders have said they want to reconcile us with the president, I am ready early in the morning with no condition because I respect the president. He is my boss,” Ruto said at his official residence in Karen on Thursday when he addressed a delegation.
He was responding to an offer by the Catholic Bishops to bring the two leaders together after months of an acrimonious relationship which Ruto and his allies blame on the president’s dalliance with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
“We are deeply concerned that if this open disagreement between the President and the Deputy President is taken up by their supporters, the trickle-down effect it could generate across the Country will be dire to even contemplate,” 23 bishops meeting in Nairobi under the banner of Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) told news reporters on Wednesday.
“In a young democracy like ours, it is important that there is unity among the top leaders as this gives confidence to the people,” the bishops who included Archbishops Anthony Muheria and Philip Anyolo said.
On Thursday, Ruto said he has no problem with the president, “It is some conmen who came in between us and spread a lot of propaganda and they started telling the president to put his Deputy aside.”
“But I have no problem, I am ready to work with the president to complete our agenda on the pledges we made to the people,” he said.
Without mentioning names, Ruto said, “people who were not elected by the people cannot come and claim a share of the government.”
Last month, President Kenyatta urged the DP to resign instead of criticising the government he serves from within but Ruto has said he will not quit.
Differences between President Kenyatta and his Deputy Ruto escalated soon after the Head of State shook hands with Odinga in March 2018 when they buried the hatchet following a divisive election in 2017 in which the former PM claimed the vote was rigged in Kenyatta’s favour and even petitioned the Supreme Court which cancelled it and ordered a fresh election.
Odinga urged his supporters to boycott the vote and Kenyatta was declared the winner
After the handshake, Kenyatta and Odinga initiated a process to change the Constitution under the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) which they billed as a unity bid to end perennial conflicts during and after elections but the process was declared null and void by the High Court’s constitutional court, a decision upheld by the Court of Appeal. BBI proponents have filed a challenge at the Supreme Court.
Ruto has always been opposed to the bid to change the laws, terming it a waste of time.
In recent months, Ruto has been missing from key government meetings including recently a bilateral session between Kenya and Estonia at State House Nairobi where President Kenyatta was joined by several Cabinet Secretaries for official talks with President Kersti Kaljulaid.
This and many other signs are what led the bishops Wednesday to offer meditation.
The church leaders stated that the strained relationship between the two leaders poses a huge threat to the stability of the country as it edges closer to the 2022 general elections.
“The public exchanges that are being witnessed are dangerous for the prevailing peace and tranquility in the Country and cannot be taken lightly. They are already creating anxiety among the people and have potential to ignite political violence if not addressed with immediate effect,” they said.
The bishops further called on President Kenyatta and his deputy to seek ways of reconciling of for the sake of the country and its citizens adding that they were ready to lead the talks between them to find ways of repairing their relationship.
The bishops further advise Kenyans to remain united and avoid being manipulated by the political leaders to engage in violence.
“We also call on all Kenyans to desist from following political leaders blindly. We must not allow ourselves to be manipulated by leaders to engage in violence or perpetuate negative ethnicity because we all belong to this one great Country called Kenya,” they said.
Uganda's Peruth Chemutai reacts after winning the women's 3000m steeplechase final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 4, 2021.
What you need to know:
Three-time World 100m champion Justin Gatlin from the United States and compatriot Bromell Trayvo, the fastest 100m man this season, are among the athletes due to touchdown Thursday.
Also expected Thursday are Olympic women’s 200m silver medallist Christine Mboma of Botswana, Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion, Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai and World 800m champion Narima Naakayi also from Uganda.
The Jomo Kenyatta International Airport will on Thursday be a beehive of activities with international foreign athletes checking in for the Absa Kip Keino Classic due Saturday at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Meet director, Barnaba Korir disclosed that close to 53 athletes will arrive aboard various airlines planes starting at dawn across the day.
“Quite a number of athletes are already in the country, having arrived as early as Saturday,” said Korir, who took time to welcome them and promised a memorable experience. By Ayumba Ayodi, Daily Nation
Uganda's state minister revealed on Tuesday that the government has agreed to host 2,000 Afghan refugees following the worsening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan emanating from the overthrow of President Ashraf Ghani's government by the Taliban militants that United States toppled 20 years ago when Osama Bin Laden bombed the Twin towers.
Uganda's minister for relief, disaster preparedness, and refugees, Esther Anyakun, said President Museveni approved a three-month arrangement with President Joe Biden's administration to welcome Afghan refugees, particularly those that were working with the United States government in Afghanistan.
“Because of our good refugee policy, our President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was approached by his counterpart President Joe Biden to host 2000 refugees from Afghanistan in Uganda for three months, which he accepted and the arrangements are under way to receive them in shifts of 500,” Anyakun told Informer East Africa by telephone.
“Of course, we're working with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and we've secured Imperial hotels in Entebbe to serve as a transit hub for them to come and be examined first,” says the minister. They will be tested for covid and then placed in isolation centers before being reintegrated.”
“Ugandan government's generosity towards is at play again. Is true and we have already started preparing for them to arrive at the airport, with the Prime Minister's office receiving them and lodging them. Then there'll be all of the screening and testing. Then resettlement plans will follow after the two governments of Uganda and United States reaching an agreement,” he said.
Ugandan ministers Hilary Onek, the Minister of Refugees, and Gen Jeje Odongo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, revealed to Zenger News that Uganda had secured an agreement with the US administration to accept Afghan asylum seekers along other African countries, but did not name them.
“They are not refugees; the US asked us if we could temporarily take them in because they are being vetted for possible relocation,” he explained. “But before we could agree, we asked them for certain information: under what terms and conditions, who are they bringing in —- are they former soldiers, prisoners, translators, and for how long are they staying here?” of which agreed.” Hilary Onek, the Minister for Refugees, told Informer East Africa.
The US embassy in Kampala also said that The United States is continuing to negotiate alternatives for relocating Afghans who supported the US government with partners and allies.
“We are grateful to Uganda for their generous offer to temporarily shelter Afghan evacuees. We have not made a final determination of aid needed in Uganda, and discussions with the Ugandan government about the situation in Afghanistan are ongoing,” the United States embassy in Kampala explained.
Thousands of Afghans are fleeing the country after Taliban fighters declared their entry into Kabul and seizure of the presidential palace.
Afghanistan fell into the hands of the Taliban Terrorist who’ve fought to take power for the past 20 years since 2001. The Humanitarian situation worsened when the United States started withdrawing its soldiers, which gave an opportunity to the insurgents move on the capital after seizing various cities across the mountainous country, prompting President Ashraf Ghani to flee to unknown country allegedly citing a desire to avoid bloodshed as the reason for his departure, bringing an end to a 20-year struggle.
The Taliban militants declared the Afghan war to be over and renamed the country the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which will be run according to Islamic ideals and Sharia law. However, many Afghans are fleeing the country for fear of being subjected to this harsh law or being prosecuted because of their close ties with the United States.
Uganda's decision to bring in the 2000 Afghani refugees has caused debate, with many asking why Uganda, of all countries, was the first to welcome them. National Resistance Movement leader Francis Babu is among those who are unhappy with the decision, claiming that Uganda already has enough problems to deal with rather than focusing on housing refugees from neighboring countries such as South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Somalia, among others.
“If America has enough states to receive only 2000 refugees, why are they pressuring us to do so?”
Do we want more? We've already paid a price for being in Somalia,” said Francis Babu, President Museveni’s ruling party cadre and his strong ally.
Though Uganda is noted for its welcoming laws, which provide refugees with a wide range of rights, including access to school, employment, and property ownership. Adding more refugees from far away countries is most likely to worsen the humanitarian situation in Uganda.
Uganda has also had negative relations with refugee Aid agencies which has worsened the situation of late. In 2020, Uganda announced that it had suspended 208 refugee Aid organizations in Uganda due to their failure to follow Ugandan regulations. Only 69 humanitarian organizations are now permitted to assist Uganda's 1.5 million refugees.
Uganda's move to close more than 200 refugee relief organizations send a message to the rest of the world that the country cannot handle continued refugee influx without more aid from established organizations such as the UN Refugee Agency, but less individual refugee non-governmental organizations.
However, Uganda's involvement in the Afghan issue was prompted by the United States government, which has a long history of collaborative security and bilateral ties with Uganda.
Each year, the United States gives Uganda roughly Shs3.5 trillion ($1 billion), primarily for health and security assistance.
In exchange, the Kampala administration has positioned itself as a stabilizing force in the troubled Great Lakes area, performing security tasks, most notably combating al-Shabaab in Somalia, and acting as a diplomatic intermediary.
Uganda is one of a half-dozen African nations that the United States has scouted and courted to host fleeing Afghan nationals after Taliban rebels, who were ejected by United States soldiers two decades ago, toppled Ashraf Ghani's government and returned to power.
After bombing out the Taliban it accused of hosting Al Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden, blamed for the September 11, 2001 attacks on US soil that killed more than 3,000 people, Washington poured $1 trillion into Afghanistan over 20 years, ostensibly to rebuild the country, strengthen democratic institutions, and improve security.
After two decades of futile war, with rising human tolls and financial costs, the United States negotiated a peace deal with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, home to America's Central Command Forward (Operating) Base at Ul-Udeid, and withdrew its troops from Afghanistan, leaving an exposed Ghani government vulnerable to Taliban attacks within weeks.
To the amazement of the world, the Taliban militants swept to power with little resistance, taking Kabul with ease, leading the United States to lead the evacuation of stranded local allies and other fleeing residents.
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