Ruto on charm offensive to win Raila turf’s vote
Wednesday, August 5th, 2020
- Deputy President William Ruto has been hosting elected leaders and former MPs from Luoland and Gusii regions to drum up support for his presidential campaign
- Yesterday the DP hosted MPs and Ward Reps from Nyamira at his Karen residence where he promised them goodies, including completion of roads and technical institutions.
Evans Nyakundi and Alvin Mwangi
Deputy President William Ruto has stepped up a campaign to raid Opposition chief Raila Odinga’s Nyanza, especially in Luoland and Gusii region.
Ruto has been hosting elected leaders and former MPs from the areas to drum up support for his presidential campaign.
Yesterday, Ruto hosted MPs and Ward Reps from Nyamira at his Karen residence where he promised them goodies, including completion of roads and technical institutions.
“The Sh2 billion Kenya-Kuwait upgrading projects of primary and secondary school proposal has been concluded.
The management team has been set up and soon the four constituencies in Nyamira, West Mugirango, North Mugirango, Kitutu Masaba and Borabu will reap from the project,” he said.
However, a group of MCAs held a parallel meeting at the home of Nakuru West MP Samuel Arama, also attended by Borabu MP Ben Momanyi.
The Nakuru group is drumming up support for Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i’s political ambitions.
Lawmakers at the Karen meeting included Joash Nyamoko (North Mugirango) and Vincent Kemosi of West Mugirango.
Those said to be waging silent campaigns for the DP in Raila’s backyard include former Karachuonyo MP James Rege, Ken Obura (East African Community Chief Administrative Secretary and former Kisumu Central MP) Omondi Muluan (Alego Usonga) George Oner (Rangwe).
Obura who fell out with Raila in the last election is said to have been instrumental in the mobilisation of Kisumu youths who visited Kapreset MP Oscar Sudi last week.
With nearly 900,000 votes, Gusiiland, which has largely been voting for Raila would be a valuable swing vote region for Ruto if he manages to wrest it away from Orange leader’s grip.
Ruto has been aggressively courting leaders from the region where residents are split in their support for Raila, the DP with increasing talk of a possible a stab at the presidency by CS Matiang’i.
Legislators supporting DP Ruto in Gusii include Nyamoko Kemosi, Shadarak Mose (Kitutu Masaba), Syvanus Osoro (South Mugirango), Alpha Miruka (Bomachoge Chache), Innocent Obiri (Bobasi) and Kisii Deputy governor Joash Maangi.
Another group led by Kisii Senator Sam Ongeri is, however, fronting for Matiang’i, who is yet to declare his presidential intentions.
Speaking to People Daily,Nyamoko said the Karen meeting was meant to address the fight against Coronavirus pandemic.
“We also discussed on how to support the Deputy President to be the next president,” he added.
He dismissed the Nakuru meeting, saying it was organised by Momanyi out of panic.
“It was meant to counter our meeting on instructions of their master who was an issue in their presidential agenda.
Let it be known that we are not against our own son but the truth of the matter is that he has not come out to declare his candidature,” Nyamoko said.
Kemosi who was elected on a Ford Kenya ticket said every leader has a constitutional right to support a presidential candidate of his choice.
“I challenge Matiang’i to make use of his office to have his impact being felt in Gusii region first before seeking the community’s support for the top seat,” he noted.
But Nyamira county government Women Rep Jerusa Momanyi has called on local political leaders to throw their weight behind Matiang’i.
“It could be political suicide for our leaders to take a front seat in undermining the candidature of our son,” she cautioned .
Prof Ongeri mantains that they will back the Cabinet Secretary for the seat.
“For a long time, the Kisii community has been supporting candidates from other communities for the top seat.
It is now the turn of a candidate from the Kisii community, none other than Matiang’i,” he told People Daily.
Former North Mugirango-Borabu MP Joseph Kiangoi has been quietly coordinating activities meant to rally support for Matiang’i.
Two weeks ago, a section of former MPs from Kisii were invited through Kiangoi for a meeting at Matiangi’s Harambee House office.
Those who attended include Charles Geni (North Mugirango) and former MPs Walter Nyambati (Kitutu Masaba), Wilfred Ombui (North Mugirango), Mwancha Okioma (Kitutu Masaba), Zebedeo Opore (Bonchari), Robert Monda (Nyaribari Chache), Catherine Nyamato (ex-Nominated), Alice Chae (ex-Nyamira Woman Rep), Mary Otara (ex-Kisii Woman Rep), Kennedy Mongare Okongo(Nyamira), Justice (Rtd) David Anasi Onyancha (West Mugirango) and Omingo Magara (South Mugirango).
Contacted for comment yesterday, former Alego Usoga Muluan distanced himself from claims that he was campaigning for Ruto in Raila’s turf.
“I am not in politics. I am not planning to engage in politics anytime soon. I am busy concentrating on my businesses,” said Muluan.
Muluan, who in the previous Parliament served under Wiper Party, said he has not been having secret meetings with the DP, maintaining that he will announce his preferred the candidate when the right time comes.
“I have not met the DP neither am I planning to meet him anytime soon,” he said. Early this year, Muluan, together with other leaders from the Nyanza region who defected from Orange Democratic Movement were hosted by Raila in what was interpreted as an effort to consolidate his base.
Rege also denied claims that he was working closely with Ruto ahead of the 2022 elections, maintaining that he is first focused on supporting the truce between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition chief Raila Odinga under the Handshake.
Rege who was speaking to People Daily dismissed attempts by Ruto’s allies to capture the Nyanza region.
“It is sad that politicians are busy preparing for 2022 while Kenyans are in dire need of development.
Personally, I am not in politics for now. I am just a public servant dedicated to service delivery amidst politicians fighting me,” he said.
He added: “I know my competitors are fighting me by associating me with Ruto.
I will continue supporting the Handshake and I would like to urge more leaders to support the initiative,” he said. Ruto has put up a spirited effort to raid Raila’s Nyanza backyard.
His ally, Sudi over the weekend hosted a delegation of youths from Kisumu at his home promising to support Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid.
The delegation travelled in buses to Sudi’s home in Eldoret where they presented a memorandum ahead of a planned visit to Ruto’s Sugoi home in two weeks.
Sudi while addressing the delegation said they would open a new chapter of politics in Nyanza and other parts of the country.