Deputy President William Ruto has cautioned leaders against dividing Kenyans along ethnic lines.
He said it was unfortunate that some leaders were balkanising the country on ethnic and political grounds to meet their selfish ends.
Dr Ruto noted that Kenyans were free to live, work and own property in any part of the country without any fear.
“Every Kenyan is at home in any part of the country irrespective of their religious, political or ethnic backgrounds,” he said.
Speaking at Sironga Grounds, West Mugirango Constituency in Nyamira County during a youth’s empowerment programme, on Thursday, Dr Ruto said tribal politics have no room in the 21st Century.
‘When you hear leaders talking about our place, their place, ours or theirs, you must know that those are tribalists. The era of such politics are gone,” said Dr Ruto.
Present were MPs Silvanus Osoro (South Mugirango) Joash Nyamoko (North Mugirango), Vincent Kemosi (West Mugirango), Millicent Omanga (nominated), Shadrack Mose (Kitutu Masaba), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu), Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira) and Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi.
Dr Ruto asked youths to guard against being misused by some leaders to engage in violence.
He said the youth should support leaders who direct them towards development-oriented activities.
“Tell those who want to misuse you to engage in violence to allow their children and wives to take the lead on such matters but not you,” Dr Ruto told the youth.
He said leaders should explore opportunities for the youth to make them busy and productive at all times.
The Deputy President exonerated police officers from blame as far as disruption of empowerment meetings were concerned, saying those who were giving orders were the ones responsible for such activities.
“Majority of our police officers have no problem at all. They also hustle like the rest of Kenyans. They understand the challenges facing our people,” said Dr Ruto.
The Deputy President said the major problem in the country was that more focus was being directed at efforts to create positions for some few individuals at the expense of economic empowerment majority of Kenyans.
“Our focus as a country should be about empowering the lives of the majority of Kenyans and not to look for political positions,” said Dr Ruto.
The MPs said no amount of intimidation would stop them from supporting the ongoing empowerment initiatives being spearheaded by the Deputy President.
They cited the boda boda sector as one of the multi-million industry in the country that has provided jobs to many youth, saying there was need to enhance the sector to create more employment opportunities.
Mr Osoro criticised the police for selective application of the law, noting that the constitution was clear on the freedom of speech and association.
“Leaders who plan political rallies are allowed by police to proceed with their functions while those who engage in youth and women empowerment programs are denied the opportunity to meet,” said Mr Osoro.
He went on: “No amount of intimidation will stop us from exercising our democratic rights.”
Ms Omanga said they will disregard calls by leaders opposed to women and youth empowerment programmes by those they have termed “visitors”
“This time around we will engage in the politics that will highlight and address the plight of ordinary Kenyans. We do not want to engage in politics that only focuses on the needs of leaders and political positions,” she said.
Ms Omanga asked those pushing for the creation of regional governments to first consider the needs of ordinary Kenyans.
Dr Nyoro said they will not be intimidated by police to change their political stand.
“They should stop inciting Kenyans against each other, they should also stop using teargas on innocent Kenyans. I want to tell them that we are not scared of teargas. The hustler nation will not be shaken.”
Mr Gachagua asked those in power to use their influence to help Kenyans instead of harming them.
“Power is very temporary if you are given power use it to help the people,” he said.
Mr Gachagua wondered what would happen if leaders from every community asked their communities to alienate other communities living in their regions.
“Do not accept the Gusii community to be alienated because this community has spread across the country.”
Mr Nyamoko asked the Gusii community not to take part in tribal politics saying the community would be the biggest losers.
“Our community is spread all over the country. Hence, we cannot dare wrong other Kenyans,” he said.
The legislators said they were confident that the Deputy President would take over the leadership of the country in 2022 when President Uhuru Kenyatta’s term comes to an end.
“We want to assure you that we will support you for the presidency in 2022,” said Mr Mose.
The Deputy President also an empowerment programme for 10 Seventh Day Adventists (SDA) churches at Miriri Centre in Kitutu Masaba.