Deputy President William Ruto has termed the splash headline in today’s copy of The Star Newspaper as fake news. In a rejoinder sent to his over 2.4 million followers on Twitter, the Deputy President said print media should refrain from using his name so as to sell newspapers.
DP Ruto tweeted: “I know it is difficult but newspapers should try selling without the ‘Ruto’ mention. Please! Tafadhali woiye!”
The country’s second in command was referring to a story who’s headline appears on the main page of The Star Newspaper on August 14, titled ” Ruto allies plot to scuttle Uhuru-Raila referendum.”
Business Today has also learned that a version of the story appears on the front page of the Rift Valley edition of the Daily Nation, as well as the inside pages of the final Nairobi edition. “This is what constitutes fake news,” DP Ruto claimed of The Star front-page splash.
In the story on The Star which quotes Members of Parliament who have spoken to the newspaper on several occasions, The Star claims that Deputy President Ruto’s allies have dared President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition chief Raila Odinga to a referendum duel.
“MPs who spoke to the Star said the DP’s camp will mount a vigorous campaign to shoot down the referendum bill if “it is pushed down the throats of Kenyans.”,” the paper writes.
According to the story, DP Ruto’s allies will mount what the paper calls a “massive campaign against the public vote” because according to the Deputy President’s allies, the referendum is “predicated on selfish political interests.”
This is what constitutes FAKE NEWS. I know it is difficult but newspapers should try selling without the 'Ruto' mention. Please! Tafadhali woiye! pic.twitter.com/As6mHhtajf
— William Samoei Ruto, PhD (@WilliamsRuto) August 13, 2019
In turn, The Star predicts that such a battle could signal the end of the Jubilee coalition as it stands currently. “A political duel pitting Uhuru and Ruto would be an acrimonious end to the Jubilee marriage that has lately been roiled by vicious acrimony,” The Star newspaper says.
It also quotes Soy MP Caleb Kositany, a Ruto ally, as saying that the DP’s camp does not fear a referendum. “At the end of the day, we will respect the decision of the majority of Kenyans. Let us meet at the ballot.”
The online version of the front page spread says that President Kenyatta may opt to borrow a leaf from former President Kibaki, who in 2005 kicked out Raila’s brigade that spearheaded the winning “NO” vote in the referendum. This insinuates that the President could well follow suit and make changes to the Jubilee arrangement so as to nullify DP Ruto.
The genesis of this seems to be the Uhuru-Raila handshake in March 2018, which roped in opposition chief Odinga closer to the government in what analysts saw as a sidelining of DP Ruto. From this, the Building Bridges Initiative was born, which Dr Ruto is against.