Vocal Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro says he will continue backing Deputy President William Ruto and his 2022 presidential ambition despite President Uhuru Kenyatta’s advice against early campaigns.
The firebrand lawmaker, a leading light of the Tangatanga faction of the ruling Jubilee Party, has been a target of President Kenyatta’s dress-down for politicking in Mt Kenya at the expense of development.
On September 8, the youthful MP landed into trouble after he openly took on his rivals from Kieleweke, a faction that supports Mr Kenyatta, at a church function in his constituency.
Mr Nyoro was arrested over the chaos that rocked a fundraiser at Gaitu Catholic Church in Murang’a County.
The commotion broke out after the legislator, who was not invited to the event, accused his Kieleweke rivals of staging “a coup” in his constituency and insisted on being the one to invite guests.
But in an exclusive interview with the Nation recently, Mr Nyoro said he would continue supporting and campaigning for Dr Ruto because he listened to him and helped him when he needed “an inaccessible” Mr Kenyatta most.
According to Mr Nyoro, his relationship with Dr Ruto started when he was seeking a top seat in one of the committees in the National Assembly and needed President Kenyatta’s assistance.
He said he attempted in vain to reach Mr Kenyatta through his handlers — Jubilee Party Vice Chairperson David Murathe and Mr Njee Muturi.
“I kept calling and texting them and although I had not told them what I wanted, I told them that there was an issue I needed their assistance with, but they never responded for weeks,” he said.
“By then I did not know Dr Ruto. We had not met but I thought of reaching out to him. I sent him a message introducing myself and he called me immediately”
Mr Nyoro said he did not get what he wanted but that he found a friend who later became a mentor.
“I needed a mentor to guide me, I can’t read about Uhuru to learn politics. Mentorship happens by being practical. I needed a person to guide me. Ruto was the man,” he said.
On his perceived defiance of President Kenyatta, who is Mt Kenya's political kingpin, Mr Nyoro said he supports a side “that makes sense” to him.
"No one disrespects Uhuru. I respect leaders who are older than me. I’m not responsible for how other people interpret things, I’m only responsible for what I do and say,” he said.
He added, “The President is not a candidate in 2022 so we have to look elsewhere.”
The politician refuted claims that he follows Dr Ruto for financial gain, disclosing that he made his money during former President Mwai Kibaki’s administration.
“I bought my house, where I currently live, in 2011. I ran my politics when I did not know Dr Ruto. In fact, I spent more following him,” he said.
“But then again, between Dr Ruto and the President, who has more money? If it were about money, we would be following the wrong person. Politics is not an economic activity.”
An astute entrepreneur who was once a cobbler, Mr Nyoro has invested in stock brokerage, firms he says are still running.
And in his incessant criticism of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga, the MP stated that he has never subscribed to his political ideologies, which he described as “backward”.
“In all the areas that Mr Odinga has a following, there is no development because he is not interested in any form of development but being worshipped by leaders who follow him,” he said.
“He engages in cult-like politics and merit has no place in his areas. Mr Odinga would not be likeable in Mt Kenya even if he bleached himself.”
Asked if he could foresee a situation where Mr Odinga and Dr Ruto worked together, the MP said, “It would be tragic for Dr Ruto to form an alliance with Mr Odinga. I can never join such a political alliance.”