Sunroof executive: Critics accuse Ruto of premature campaigns

President William Ruto is on the spot for what his critics have called a blatant case of premature campaigns disguised as countrywide development tours, focusing on opposition areas.

Critics have taken issue with the President’s impromptu stops on the sunroof of his car to sell his Bottom Up Economic Agenda and appease his turf, 17 months into his presidency.

The opposition says President Ruto’s action points to a man seeking validation from Kenyans and repackaging his image. But his lieutenants have supported his move, describing it as the best way to stay in touch with citizens.

A year into his presidency, Dr Ruto has visited all counties in Mt Kenya, Coast, Rift Valley and some parts of Nyanza and Western. The month of February alone, President Ruto has so far visited seven counties. These include Nakuru, Nyeri, Kiambu, Murang’a, Kakamega, Vihiga and Bungoma.

Now, the President’s leadership style is being questioned, with his critics describing the extensive working tours as a plan to re-strategise for 2027 and reassure his restless base.

“It is an insecurity that comes out of the fact that William Ruto has built nothing and I dare anyone to show me a project of the national government that was begun by this administration and completed by this administration for him to go and launch” says Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna

Sifuna, who is also Azimio’s deputy minority leader in the Senate, argues that the President has lost touch with the electorate.

“As a politician when you have nothing to show in terms of your output as an elected leader then it becomes very fashionable to express and explain yourself on those rooftops you are talking about. because he wants the validation of the people that somehow he is still popular. to demonstrate people still like him or support him,” he says.

Kenya Kwanza’s Nyali MP and a commissioner in the Parliamentary Service Commission, Mohamed Ali, says the president is on track as planned.

“Whatever the president is doing is to make sure that he is on the ground. To make sure that he hears from the people, but not from the intermediaries in between. Because one of the problems we have in this country is that we listen to the advice of the people rather than the advice of the voters.”

“So what the president is doing and I really support him because it is working, he is going on the ground and finding out whether the said project has started or not….And people feel connected to the president,” he says.

Prof Gitile Naituli, a professor of management and leadership, argues that the president’s management style of making frequent visits is counterproductive.

“You can’t say the president is doing management by walking around because he’s on the car. He is not talking to the people who matter. He needs to meet with the governors in every county and even the MCAs. Because when you go to the counties, the people who matter are the governors and the MCAs,” he said.

Prof Naituli argues that the president should spend much of his time in the office where he can receive reports from experts in different sectors of the economy, evaluate them and ask questions.

“The reason why you are a chief of staff or you are a chief adviser to the president is so that you can evaluate the requests that come to the president and be able to reject some and accept some because executive time is extremely important. so it’s like they don’t allow the president to rest,” he said.

Even as President Ruto continues with his countrywide tours, at the end of the day the situation of the people will be dictated by their ability to feed their families and meet their basic needs as envisaged in his campaign promises.

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