A photo of Interior CS Fred Matiang’i receiving President Kenyatta as Deputy President William Ruto watches from a distance has caused a stir on social media.
Matiang’i was the first in line to welcome Kenyatta after his chopper landed at the Kenya Wildlife Service Law Enforcement Academy in Manyani on Friday for a Cabinet retreat.
This was in breach of government protocol which demands that the President is received by the senior-most person, in this case, DP Ruto.
The incident comes a week after a similar scenario was witnessed at State House during the national prayer service where Uhuru was ushered to the podium to address the nation by Nyeri Catholic Archbishop Anthony Muheria in the presence of Ruto, who did not speak at the event.
About two weeks ago, DP Ruto skipped the national Covid-19 conference at KICC in Nairobi despite the day’s program showing he was to address the meeting before inviting the President to make his speech. In Ruto’s absence, CS Matiang’i took over the role of inviting Uhuru to address the nation.
Today’s incident, which exposed what appears like a growing antagonism between Uhuru and Ruto, sparked mixed reactions among Kenyans online.
Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen tweeted: “The Deputy President Fred Matiangi receiving the President thereafter introduce other Cabinet members. Those of us who didn’t witness the last days of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta ‘will see things’ in the next 22 months.”
Lawyer Ahmednassir Abdullahi posed: “Is the distance they keep on the recommendation of their security teams?”
@o_abuga wrote: “This man Deputy President William Ruto may have his weaknesses (that's why I don't support him) but it's not proper to undermine his office. Let him perform his duties and retire with President Uhuru Kenyatta. He has his people too, he deserves respect. Mt Kenya brokers, silly!”
@kalu_lepariyo said: “President Uhuru Kenyatta is a democrat, he embraces his Deputy regardless of insults, barbs, and insubordination that him and his handlers are treating him with daily.”
@MillicentOmanga noted: “This reminds me how Moi was frustrated as vice president by people who didn't want him to ascend to the throne. The rest is history.”