Ruto dangles carrots in Western foray

Written by on 9 December 2022

President William Ruto embarked on a charm offensive as he made his maiden tour of Kakamega county since his election in August.

Yesterday, while on his maiden tour of the region, President Ruto rallied leaders from the county and other parts of the Western as he dangled goodies.

He promised to release funds towards the completion of a number of multi-billion development projects in the county.

These include, among others, the Kakamega County Teaching and Referral Hospital, Kakamega Airstrip, Ikolomani Gold Refinery, Bukhungu Stadium and Mumias Sugar Company.

He said he would also fulfill his pledge of securing job opportunities for area residents in line with his pre-election pact with ANC and Ford-Kenya.

He further said he would ensure the main roads in the county were graded and laid with bitumen.

“We have a long history not only in politics but all other spheres as we are next-door neighbours. My commitment is to, thus, do my best to ensure you benefit from my government,” he said.

The Head of State joked he was aware that a majority of Kakamega people voted for the Azimio candidates over those of Kenya Kwanza in the August 9 elections but that he still needed their support in 2027 when he will be seeking a second term.

He urged leaders from the county who were in Azimio to work with him to ensure the devolved unit was developed.

“I am indeed humbled that all of you have put our political affiliations aside and joined me in this journey to transform the lives of our people,” he told the leaders during a meeting at the Kakamega State Lodge.

The President landed in Kakamega at exactly 3.00pm and was received by the area leaders fronted by Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi and Governor Fernandes Barasa.

Others at the airstrip to receive the President were Deputy Governor Ayub Savula, Woman Representative Elsie Muhanda and fellow MPs Fred Ikana of Shinyalu, Christopher Aseka of Khwisero, Tindi Mwale of Butere, Titus Khamala of Lurambi, Mumias West’s Johnstone Naicca, Matungu’s Peter Nabulindo and Malulu Injendi of Malava.

Also present was Lugari MP Nabii Nabwera, his Likuyani counterpart Innocent Mugabe, Emmanuel Wangwe of Navakholo, Ikolomani’s Benard Shinali and his Mumias East counterpart Peter Salasya.

Western leaders

Speaking earlier before the arrival of the Head of State, the leaders said they were united for the sole purpose of ensuring that the county and region benefited from the Ruto administration. “We are from different political formations but have resolved as leaders to forge a unity of purpose for the greater good of our people,” they said in a statement issued by Shinali.

Barasa said his decision to work with the national government should not be misconstrued that he had joined Kenya Kwanza.

“We have been elected to serve the same people whether at the national or county levels and must collaborate to succeed,” he said. But COTU Secretary-General Francis Atwoli said he had quit Azimio and would now support the Kenya Kwanza government.

Speaking in Kakamega, Atwoli said Ruto deserves time to put in place policies that will spur economic growth.

“It’s too early kuanza kukupima umefanya nini. Because sisi bado tunangoja tusikie vijana wetu wengine wamepata kazi wakina Malala. Rashid (Echesa) ananisumbua sana ako na njaa,” Atwoli said.

Mudavadi urged his fellow leaders from the Luhya Community to work together to realize development in the region.

“We have been in the opposition for many years and this has been very costly. We are now back in government and should work together to serve our people,” he said.

Those present included governors Fernandes Barasa of Kakamega, Wilber Otichilo of Vihiga and George Natembeya of Trans Nzoia.

Ruto is in Kakamega for the meeting and to launch a series of development projects in Western Kenya. A tentative programme shows that the head of state will be in Kakamega  on Friday to inspect various development projects. He is also expected to preside over the Masinde Muliro University graduation ceremony set for today. He will also visit Kakamega county teaching and referral hospital before holding a consultative meeting with leaders from the region at the State lodge in Lurambi.

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