Deputy President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga on Monday met at State House hours after trading jabs in separate events over the weekend.
The two had been invited by President Uhuru Kenyatta who was hosting South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit. The South Sudan leader is in the country for a two-day state visit.
It was the first time the two leaders were meeting face to face after their renewed rivalry hit the interwebs.
Over the weekend, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader slammed the DP over church donations.
Mr Odinga questioned Dr Ruto’s source of the money he donates to churches every Sunday.
He also revived the Arror and Kimwarer dams scandal. The leader accused the DP of misleading Kenyans by claiming the amount in question was a mere Ksh7 billion and not the Ksh21 billion figure questioned by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).
“There are those who are everywhere every Sunday. You can’t just carry money every Sunday to donate to churches. You must start by confessing and telling the church the truth about the source of money,” said the opposition chief.
In a harsh rejoinder, DP Ruto hit back at Mr Odinga accusing him of frustrating government projects.
“You were against the Eurobond, because you said it is corrupt; you were against the Northern Collector Tunnel, because you said it is corrupt; you were against us building the railway, because you said it is corrupt; you were against us raising money in churches, because you said it is corrupt, raising money in any harambee even for women, because you say it is corrupt,” said DP Ruto.
Branding Mr Odinga the lord of poverty, the DP said Mr Odinga’s school of thought has no place in the country.
“It is because you are the lord of poverty and you want poverty in our country. You are opposed to any development in this country because you want people to be poor so they continue to support you and I’m telling you we will work night and day to eliminate poverty in this country so that your kingdom has no place in Kenya and the lord of poverty will have no space in this nation, ” the DP added.
It was not the first time the DP was defending his philanthropic acts.
During this year’s National Prayer Breakfast meeting at Safari Park in Nairobi In May, the DP said giving was one of his way of being grateful to God for uplifting him from rags to riches.
“I have a confession to make. Sometimes when you see us make contributions here and there, lift up our hands and shed tears, it’s because we cannot forget where God has brought us from. I beg you to understand that some of us have more to thank God for than some of you. Sometimes you judge us so harshly,” he said.
In a separate church service in Molo, the DP affirmed his passion for God’s work, vowing to continue donating to churches despite opposition from a section of the clergy and political leaders.
The feuding leaders’ comments continue to elicit mixed reactions, with some linking the antics to the 2022 succession politics.
Meanwhile, during the State House dinner, President Kenyatta lauded South Sudan’s peace initiative with warring groups.
“Eminent African and global leaders have pledged their support for South Sudan’s quest for sustained peace, including His Holiness Pope Francis; an indicator of the deep continental and global desire to see a united, peaceful and prosperous South Sudan.
“We are fortunate that the South Sudan of today has bold and dynamic sons and daughters, such as Your Excellency, who have requisite vision and stature that allows them to bring together all sections of South Sudanese society into the common fold,” President Kenyatta told President Kiir.