DP changes tack in Central foray
Deputy President William Ruto returned to the vote-rich mountain region yesterday but this time around, with a changed strategy to woo voters.
As opposed to his previous well-attended public rallies, the DP held direct engagement forums in Nyeri County, which he used to listen to the challenges affecting locals and ways of addressing them.
The change of strategy comes amid sustained efforts by former premier Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta to reverse the gains the DP has made in the region over the last four years.
The Azimio la Umoja brigade under Uhuru and Raila has lined up a series of rallies in the region to turn the tide against the DP, who for long has been the masses’ favourite ahead of this year’s poll.
Addressing the hundreds of stakeholders who gathered at the Brookside Ridge Gardens in Nyeri town, the DP revealed that his five-member committee of economic experts led by economist David Ndii will henceforth move around the country collecting views from all players in the economic sector in all the 47 counties, starting in Nyeri county.
“We are launching public engagement forums using a bottom-up approach so that we can have the minimums we can deliver as a government should we get into office,” he said.
He pointed out that the forums will eventually culminate in a national economic charter drawn from county documents capturing specific priorities.
The same will form a binding contract between him and Kenyans committing him to address issues if he forms the government.
“We are going to change our national conversation from sharing political power to that of people and their economy. We said that we will do this but we were not taken seriously. Our opponents should now know that this is what we stand for,” Ruto said.
He pointed out that the exercise will go on in other counties for the next 60 days after which a national signing event will be held.
Ndii had earlier told the gathering that during retired President Mwai Kibaki, a huge chunk of the budgetary allocation went towards financing capital intensive projects intending to foster development, leaving little or nothing to grow the economy.
While addressing the gathering, Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua pleaded with Raila to quietly exit the political scene.
“President Uhuru has said that he will bring his people to try to influence you to change your political stand. I am pleading with you not to give in to his requests by remaining firmly behind the DP,” he said.
Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga said that they are inviting Uhuru to come to Nyeri but requested him to pay the political debt he owes his DP by voting for him even as he continues with his support for the ODM leader. Those who accompanied Ruto included MPs Rahab Mukami (Nyeri Woman Rep), Jayne Kihara (Naivasha), Robert Gichimu (Gichugu), Muriuki Njagagua (Mbeere North), George Koimburi (Juja), Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura and a host of aspirants for various seats in the forthcoming polls.