Ruto Nyanza tour should awaken Gusii leadership

Friday, January 20th, 2023 05:00 | By
PHOTOS: Ruto receives warm welcome in Homa Bay
Homa Bay Governor Gladys Wanga and ODM Chairman John Mbadi receive President William Ruto to Homa Bay. PHOTOS/Courtesy

Last week, President William Ruto made a highly publicised two-day tour of Nyanza region.

While accompanied by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi, Ruto’s visit to the area that largely leans politically towards his main opponent in last year’s presidential election, Raila Odinga, is significant in many ways.

Never before have Kenyans witnessed residents of that area come out in such large numbers to welcome a visiting Head of State in the absence of Raila, the area’s political supremo and Azimio unsuccessful presidential candidate last year.

It is a demonstration of the maturity of Kenyan politics which should be emulated by other developing nations, especially in Africa. 

Ruto obtained less than five per cent of the votes in the Nyanza region. However, his readiness to go to the area and address development matters is a gesture that he and his Kenya Kwanza administration should be applauded for.

In the same vein, Raila who controls the political support of the area almost to a man and narrowly lost to Ruto in the race for State House, should be respected for his willingness to allow democracy thrive without any hitch.

Both Ruto and Raila have demonstrated to the world that political differences should not at any one moment translate into social enemity that affects economic development and justice to the electorate.

The political and economic developments in Nyanza should be an eye opener for the Abagusii, who reside in the populous Kisii and Nyamira counties.

At presidential level, majority of residents of these two counties mostly voted for Raila and his Azimio Coalition at other tiers.

However, at national level, Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza coalition assumed power after trouncing Raila’s Azimio with a very slim majority.

  It would seem, however, that the political leadership in Nyanza region has wiped out the dust of a presidential loss and resolved to embrace Ruto’s administration in a bid to foster their programmes.

The leadership in Gusiiland should quickly emulate this approach to development. President Ruto has repeatedly stated that he is ready to work with all Kenyans regardless of how they voted.

These Kenyans include the Abagusii community.  There is no reason for the Abagusii to continue playing tough or standing on the periphery when the Raila they voted for massively has advised his Nyanza backyard to embrace the Ruto regime on matters of development.

A lot of suggestions have been floated regarding the new political dispensation the Omugusii populace find themselves in at the moment. My stand has always been that at local level, voters have to work with their elected leaders for meaningful development to be realised. 

At national level, Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza team controls the levers of power given that they are the ones who formed the government. That is a reality we must be ready to live within the next five years. Living in denial will not change the situation and no number of attempts to run away from that fact will alter the truth. We have, therefore, to work with what we have.

We cannot go and borrow leaders from other regions when we have our own. In their wisdom, the Omugusii voter in Kisii and Nyamira counties elected for us 13 members of the National Assembly from different political parties, two governors, two senators and two Woman Reps from Raila’s Azimio.

For their troubles, the Ruto administration rewarded the Abagusii with the appointment of veteran provincial administrator Ezekiel Machogu as the Cabinet Secretary for Education and youthful politician Gloria Orwoba as a Nominated Senator. 

They are the ones we have to work with regardless of their political affiliation. Machogu, Kisii Governor Simba Arati and his Nyamira counterpart James Nyaribo are up to the task. The die is cast. The Kisii people have to throw out weight behind them and support them in all necessary aspects.

— The author is a Kisii elder and former Football Kenya Federation President

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