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Eyebrows raised as Ruto men host Nyanza delegates

By Baraka Karama
Monday, August 3rd, 2020
Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa (left) and Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi is joined by youth from Kisumu who paid him a courtesy call at the weekend. Photo/PD/COURTESY
In summary
    • The youth were mainly from Kisumu’s Kondele estate, which is a political hotbed in lakeside city and those from Raila’s Bondo rural home
    • MPs Didmus Barasa (Kimilili) and Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati) attended the meeting at Sudi’s Kapreset home.

Deputy President William Ruto’s allies raided Opposition chief Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard over the weekend by hosting youths from the region.

Through his close ally Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi, Ruto has been assembling grassroots troops from Nyanza that will campaign for him in the 2022 elections.

Sudi at the weekend hosted youths from Kisumu, Siaya, Migori and Homa Bay.

MPs Didmus Barasa (Kimilili) and Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati) attended the meeting at Sudi’s Kapseret home.

Those who attended the rally included youth leaders, women groups and clerics  who previously supported Odinga’s presidential campaigns.

The youth were mainly from Kisumu’s Kondele estate, which is a political hotbed in the lakeside city and those from Raila’s Bondo rural home.

Others were from Ahero, Nyakach, Muhoroni and Kendu Bay.

The youths have formed a movement dubbed “ Nyanza Youth Movement for Ruto 2022” to campaign for Ruto.

Yesterday, the Kapseret MP told People Daily that they were determined to raid Raila’s political turf. 

“We are determined to penetrate Luo Nyanza so that we can unlock its residents from the chains of poverty.

Our intention is to sell the DP as the best alternative,” he told People Daily.

Sudi said Kenyans should live together in harmony despite holding divergent political views, citing his relationship with Raila.

“Raila is my friend, even though we have different political views. Just the other day we had lunch as friends,” he said. 

The Kapseret MP also asked leaders not to incite Kenyans against each other.

“There is no day citizens engage in violence on their own, they are usually incited by leaders,” he said. 

On his part, Barasa called on Nyanza residents to shun tribal politics and vote for leaders with a clear development agenda. 

“You do not eat the title of your tribesmen in Government. Your life will not change because your tribesman is in power, your life will only change if the people you elect have a plan to transform lives,” said Barasa.

“Supporting a political candidate is like looking for a wife, pick whoever you like.”

Shun tribal politics

Ngunjiri faulted Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), which is spearheaded by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila saying it was creating tribal chiefs as opposed to national leaders.

“We will walk together and preach peace among Kenyans until we unite,” he said.

Sudi said they were keen to fight the impression that the area was a no-go zone for Ruto. “We have no problem with Baba but to help his people.

That is why we have a mission as Team Hustler to meet with our hustler colleagues and form a movement that will change this country for the better”Sudi said.

Collins Ongwen, the chairman of Bhagdad Youths for Peace lobby who led youths from Kondele to the meeting said: “We are here to announce that things have changed and we will support one of our own who is a hustler like us.”

Soy MP Caleb Kositany, another key Ruto ally who is also the Jubilee party deputy secretary general, said apart from meeting the youths, the DP has identified several elected leaders from the region who will support his campaigns.

The Soy MP said: “We have strategies that we cannot reveal yet but since the DP is keen on the top seat, we already have our pointmen in the area who will help us achieve our agenda.”

But Nyando MP Jared Okello yesterday dismissed the DP’s move saying it was unlikely to yield fruits.

“It is not the first time we are seeing such moves from Raila’s opponents in his backyard.

It is their democratic right for those doing so but I can assure you that they are going nowhere especially at this time of the Handshake”.

Alego Usonga MP Samwel Atandi described the youths as self-seeking. “I can assure you that those pretending to support Ruto are simply doing so for their stomach.

I don’t think any reasonable youth in Siaya can abandon Raila’s camp for Ruto.”

Political analyst Joshua Nyamori however indicated that Ruto’s overtures could earn him some support.

“Ruto does not need the Raila support base, but just a fraction which he is likely to get if he is consistent in his mission.

By 2022 he would have convinced a majority especially those who feel that they have been let down by the Raila’s leadership in the region.” 

Raila who is now working closely with president Uhuru Kenyatta after the 2018 March Handshake however has left his supporters guessing on whether he will make a fifth stab at the presidency.

But his elder brother and East Africa Legislative Assembly MP Oburu Oginga and Siaya Senator James Orengo have indicated the Uhuru-Raila political deal will help the Opposition leader ascend to the presidency.

Since the re-election of the jubilee government, Ruto has only visited Raila’s stronghold base of Kisumu twice.

He was the chief guest during the consecration of Kisumu Catholic Archbishop Francis Anyolo.

He also accompanied president Uhuru and Raila in Kisumu two years ago during the launch of universal health care programme at Mamboleo showground.

He has however made several visits to Kisii and Nyamira counties to raise funds for different groups.

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