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Ruto under fire for his 'nitawafyeka kabisa' remarks

President William Ruto on the receiving end as controversial remarks raises pertinent questions

File image of President William Ruto during a visit to Mount Kenya region in August 2023

President William Ruto has found himself on the receiving end with Law Society of Kenya (LSK) President Eric Theuri and Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo faulting him for remarks in which he vowed to use the ceremonial sword given when retired President Uhuru Kenyatta handed over power to deal with those opposed to his affordable housing project.

The president who addressed a thanksgiving event in Kisii on Saturday made his intention to use the ceremonial sword to tackle anyone opposed to the Housing Levy known.

"Si mnajua nilipewa sword. Kwani mnafikiri hiyo sword ni ya kukata mboga? Si ni ya kufyeka wakora hapa? Nitawafyeka kabisa, Kenya itasonga mbele." (You know I was given a sword. Do you think it's for cutting vegetables? It's for dealing with all these crooks here. I will uproot them completely, and Kenya will move forward).” Ruto stated, with his remarks sparking reactions and concerns from several quarters.

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The duo is among several Kenyans and civil society organizations who were concerned with the remarks and has accused the President of threatening the judiciary, lawyers and Kenyans who oppose his unpopular policies.

LSK President Eric Theuri took to X (formerly Twitter) to call the President to order, reminding him that such remarks could bring disrepute to the office he occupies, explaining that the ceremonial sword symbolizes protection and upholding the Constitution is not an instrument of oppression.

“Alongside the sword, the President was given the Constitution. The sword is intended to protect & uphold the Constitution and is not an instrument of oppression. As advocates, we similarly took an oath to protect the Constitution and rule of law,” Theuri wrote.

“We will do so candidly, boldly and won't be threatened or intimidated from challenging any government decision that offends the Constitution. The Constitution of Kenya is our sword and we will swing it against impunity,” he added.

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This is how low we have sunk as a country - Otiende Amollo

On his part, Otiende Amollo slammed the President, stating that the remarks are a direct threat by the highest office in the land not just to Kenyans opposed to his policies, but also to courts handling the petitions as well as lawyers and other parties involved in challenging his policies through the legal processes.

The lawmaker lamented that such remarks are a stark reminder of how low the nation has sunk with the judiciary facing threats from the executive.

“So, overlooked in Bunge, and now threatened with beheading for litigating the legality of the Housing Tax! This threat is not just to the parties and lawyers, but it’s directed at the Courts on a pending case! This is how far we’ve sunk!” The Rarieda MP noted.

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A number of the President’s policies, including the Housing Levy which was declared unconstitutional, citing a violation of Article 10, 2 (a) of the constitution have faced challenges in court.

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