Kenyatta, who in a stunning turn of events reached a pact with his longtime rival Odinga in 2018 and banished his deputy Ruto to the sidelines, had promised a smooth transfer of power.
But the 60-year-old had pointedly failed to publicly congratulate his successor for several weeks, finally shaking Ruto’s hand at a meeting at the presidential residence on Monday.
President Ruto’s new deputy Rigathi Gachagua took potshots at Kenyatta during the inauguration ceremony, saying the new administration had inherited a “dilapidated economy”.
Gachagua accused the outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta of handing over power at a time when the economy was plummeting. Uhuru’s administration, he said, had left a country with a bloated economy which President William Ruto’s administration would struggle to revive.
“The truth of the matter is that we have inherited a dilapidated economy which almost facing shut down. We have a huge task to liberate this country and bring it back to where Kibaki left it,” he stated.
“We have talked to the treasury, and the coffers are empty. We will have to start from scratch,” he stated.
Gachagua further accused Uhuru’s administration of leading intimidations against leaders who were affiliated with Kenya Kwanza. He, however, assured Kenyans that Ruto’s government will uphold the rule of law devoid of intimidation and threats.
“I want to tell the people of Kenya that today is a great day. Kenya is now a democratic country. It became a crime to be a friend of William Ruto. You are finally free,” Gachagua said.
The deputy president pledged to execute his mandate as the second in command in helping President Ruto fulfill his election pledges to the people of Kenya.
“I want to assure you of my commitment from the bottom of my heart to be available to assist you to manage the affairs of our great nation,” stated Gachagua.
He, however, asked Kenyans not to put his performance on a pedestal nor compare Ruto’s first term performance under Uhuru’s government. According to the pre-election agreement, Gachagua was tasked by Ruto to lead a team in drafting policies that would be used to revive the economy.
“I know I am getting in shoes that are almost impossible to fill. The performance of Ruto in his first term when he was allowed to serve the people of Kenya was on another level,” he explained.
On the other side, Ruto echoed Gachagua’s sentiments by appreciating leaders who had supported him despite facing threats from the government.