Last week’s visit by South Africa’s firebrand opposition politician Julius Malema has irked Kenya’s presidency.
Malema blasted President William Ruto for failing to deliver on the promises he made during elections.
The outspoken leader of the left wing Economic Freedom Fighters Party who has been criticising Ruto’s foremost opponent Raila Odinga for “destabilising” Kenya’s economy has now turned against the president who he said is no longer the same person who campaigned and urged Kenyans to trust him with their votes.
Addressing hundreds of people at Lukenya University in Makueni County, during the launch of the Pan-African Institute, Malema castigated the president for failing to put his money where his mouth is and for trying to get rid of the US dollar as a means of trade in Africa.
“I don’t know, because I heard him saying we need to do away with the dollar and build our own but his actions are not speaking to anything about doing away with the dollar,” he said.
Malema also castigated the president for failing to follow the “true cause of the African freedom fighters who were killed and tortured by the colonialists”.
He said it was wrong for the Kenyan Head of State to smile and shake hands with the United Kingdom’s King Charles and Queen Camilla during their visit to the country last week.
“The Kenyan army is a product of the Mau Mau rebellion, and those who killed our people in the Mau Mau rebellion cannot be saluted by the same army of the children of those who were killed during Mau Mau rebellion. We have a duty to stay true to the cause.”
Malema said Africans have a duty to remind the King and Britain of what they did to Africans during the colonial era.
“Indeed, he showed no remorse. He said this was bad; it shouldn’t have happened, but he fell short, I apologise. He will never say he is sorry because he thinks that his race makes him superior, and he is not qualified to apologise to those who are junior to him.”
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua in a rejoinder on Saturday told off Malema for what he described as meddling in the political affairs of the country.
Gachagua hit out at Malema for criticising the government and told him to instead focus on the affairs of his country.
“Huyu amekuja ni mjuaji. Amefika asubuhi, saa nane mambo ya Kenya anajua ata kutuliko. Tungetaka kuambia wageni, wakitembea waheshimu viongozi wa ile nchi wametembea,” he said.
This is loosely translated to:
“This one who came is all-knowing. He arrived in the morning and by 2 pm he already knows Kenya’s affairs even more than we do. We want to tell our visitors to respect the country’s leadership.”
Gachagua went on to state that during his recent visit to South Africa, he had noted that there was power rationing of up to seven hours, yet he did not point it out.
“… Because we respect them. He has just arrived here, and he already knows it all. ‘Oh, the President of Kenya this… oh that….’ Leave our affairs alone just like we do when we visit,” the DP said.
Gachagua also advised tourists to visit Kenya for their destined pleasures and to desist from intruding in the political affairs of the host nation.
“We want to request our neighbouring leaders; if you come to Kenya, visit the Coast, do your sunbathing, eat fish, go to Maasai Mara, see the animals, then get on your flights and go back to your countries. Mambo ya hapa mtuwachie sababu tukija kwenu mambo yenu hatuongei,” he noted.
Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Korir Sing’oei has however said Kenya is open to fair criticism from leaders of other countries if they do not undermine cordial relations.
Sing’oei who made the remarks in a tweet on Sunday was defending remarks by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.
Gachagua had criticised South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters party leader, Julius Malema for allegedly disrespecting President William Ruto.
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