The 5th Beyond Zero Half Marathon went down today in Nairobi, an event that was graced by President Uhuru Kenyatta, Governors, Cabinet Secretaries and many other government officials.
However, Deputy President William Ruto, who has in the past participated in the annual event meant to raise awareness and galvanise support towards maternal and child health, was conspicuously absent.
The DP’s wife, Rachael Ruto, also missed First Lady Margaret Kenyatta’s pet project that she has actively been involved in for years now.
In 2015, Ruto donated Ksh17 million in the Beyond Zero campaign that raised a total of Ksh46 billion.
Ruto and his wife have been active in the Beyond Zero campaign except for 2017 when the First Lady cancelled the event citing heightened political tension at the time.
Other notable faces that graced today’s charity event include former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka embattled Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, Machakos County boss Alfred Mutua CSs Muthai Kagwe (Health) and Amina Mohammed (Sports).
The DP and his wife’s absence on Sunday left tongues wagging with a section of Kenyans taking to social media to share photos of the duo participating in the track event last year.
Kahawa Tungu understands that the DP was attending a church function at Buuri constituency in Meru County.
Many were keen to link their absence to on-goings in the political arena, with many speculating that the rift between the DP and other government officials including the President had everything to do with today’s developments.
The DP had on Saturday accused the government he presides over an elaborate scheme to stop him politically.
Speaking during the burial ceremony of his late guard sergeant Kipyegon Kenei, angry Ruto lashed out at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss George Kinoti of being used by the “system” to mud-sling his office.
The DCI last week put Ruto’s Harambee House Annex office at the centre of the alleged murder of Kenei, who was found dead in his house at Imara Daima Estate, Nairobi, last month.
Kenei was the officer in charge of security at the DP’s Annex Office the day former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa and three others, who are facing fraud charges, arrived with foreigners said to have been duped in a Ksh39 billion arms tender.
In his speech, Ruto accused his political opponents both in and out of government of a ploy to set him up against his community by killing Kenei, a Kalenjin.
“The plotters of these schemes, I want to let you know that unless you kill me, I am not turning back. Kenya is for everyone. Kenya is not for a few people. Threats, plots… all these things… I even know what they have planned but I am ready for it,” he said.
After the burial, the DP tweeted, “They may have the system, and since the system cannot elect anybody, they can only kill but I want to tell them we have God. Those in this scheme are boasting that I will not be there soon and they are still walking around.”
Kenyans were quick to link yesterday’s developments to his absence at Nyayo Stadium.
This also comes amid reports that the DP and his boss, Uhuru, have irredeemably fallen out.
Here are some of the reactions:
The rift is real and I just saw it today at the beyond zero marathon, Dp ruto and his wife were nowhere to be seen #uhurumustgo
— Malmasi Jnr (@MalmasiJnr) March 8, 2020
Mama Rachel Ruto did not attend this year's Beyond Zero?
— Collins Arap BETT (@CollinsBriche) March 8, 2020
🤣🤣🤣🤣 So why is Ruto Limited.?
Just because he didn't participate in the beyond zero thing? It is Sunday. Let me not give any info on the beyond zero
— Nyambura Ndung'u (@Ziloopi) March 8, 2020
— vic (@arap_Too_vic) March 8, 2020
Clearly, DP Ruto had been the silent but effective brand ambassador for Beyond Zero race. This year's event is poorly attended. #iWillRun
— Komen S.K (@skkomen) March 8, 2020
Deputy President William Ruto and his wife Rachel Ruto no-show at the Sunday’s beyond zero half marathon organized by the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta. #HappyWomensDay2020
— Papa 🇰🇪 (@papashaq_) March 8, 2020