Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto has replied Raila Odinga’s call that he and President Uhuru Kenyatta to be exempted from the ‘dynasties’ tag.
The DP told a gathering during his tour of Kakamega county on Sunday that it was laughable that ‘men of means’ have taken a turn and now want to be associated with ‘hustlers’.
Ruto is known in the political circles as ‘The Hustler’ owing to his rise from a chicken seller to the second most powerful man in the country.
He said in the meeting, attended largely by boda-boda riders, that he respects those who labour to put food on their table.
“Sasa kila mtu anataka kuwa hustler hata wale walikuwa wadosi sasa wameanza kupiga kona,” he said without mentioning names.
(Now everyone wants to be a hustler, even the rich have started to refer to themselves as hustler).
“Back in the day, people never used to recognise hustlers, but now they are beginning to realise that hustlers are the real deal,” he added.
His remarks followed Raila’s dismissal of the dynasty tag at the memorial service for the late Maendeleo Ya Wanawake founder Jane Kiano in Karen last Friday.
The ODM leader told the congregation at the Kenyatta and Odinga’s not descendants of political dynasties.
He said their political rise was due to hard work, patience and determination; contrary to common belief that they had it easy courtesy of their fathers.
“Jomo Kenyatta was a son of a pauper. He struggled [and] was detained by the colonialists for all those years. Because of that, you cannot say Uhuru is part of a dynasty.”
The Odingas and Kenyatta are often referred to as political dynasties since they have been part of the country’s political leadership since independence.
“Odinga, son of Raila, was just a pauper. You would say he was just a hustler. You cannot, therefore, say that Raila is a product of a dynasty,” the ODM leader said.
At the Kakamega meeting, Ruto went on to say that he welcomes, with open arms, those who want to join the hustler community.
There is also a growing conversation that the 2022 general election should be a contest between the ‘hustlers’ and ‘dynasties’.