•The DP will on Wednesday meet boda boda operators and small scale traders in Kondele before leaving for Migori.
•He winds up his tour of the region on Thursday in Homa Bay.
Deputy President William Ruto on Tuesday took his campaigns to Nyanza-Raila Odinga's political turf with a promise that the region will be included in his government.
Ruto who is in Nyanza for a three-day tour to popularize his bottom up economic model and drum up support for his presidential bid, acknowledged the neglect and marginalisation the area was subjected to for decades by past regimes.
Addressing UDA grassroots leaders who converged at Suzanna Owiyo Arts Center in Kisumu West constituency, Ruto said, "Leaders at my level haven't taken time to engage you and listen to you."
He said he was seeking to reverse this by making sure that he engages the residents of Nyanza in economic discussions.
"I appreciate the efforts put in place so far since the Naivasha meeting that was meant to discuss these issues," he said.
Ruto said politics and governance are too important to be left to politicians alone.
The UDA party leader said he decided to change his approach to engage the grassroots directly because he's keen on participatory politics.
This he said was important to help ensure Kenyans identify what should take precedence in his government.
"We will not come up with plans without consultations with the grassroots," he said.
Ruto who received a rousing welcome in the lake side city noted that many people had doubted that this kind of engagement would happen.
"You have confirmed to the rest of the country that you are ready to engage in a discourse that highlights your issues. It is an eye opener," he noted.
Ruto told residents of Nyanza that it is never too late to do the right thing.
"I have been in politics long enough to understand it is important to listen to people and allow them to make suggestions on how they can improve their lot," he said
"We must change the course of our politics free from ethnic-based approach and consideration. I want us to critically have a discussion on what is of priority to you, what concerns and the agenda you want us to have when we form government," he said.
He said he wants Nyanza residents to vote for an agenda and plan that will liberate them economically.
He said doing so will enable the region to effectively participate in development.
He pledged that his government will revive the ailing sugar sector, fix fishing and invest in small and medium size enterprises.
"We have a serious issue in the sugar sector. We have a deficit while farmers are not treated well," he said.
He said challenges of infrastructure and poor condition of factories must be addressed.
He said it was regrettable that despite 15 years of attempts at privatization of sugar factories, the region was yet to get out of the woods.
"It is true we have a problem of political good will in trying to fix the problem facing the sector," he said.
He said in some other regions where tea is grown, farmers earn billions.
"You should be asking why here, farmers growing sugarcane gets only Sh18 billion on the same acres of land. Same size of acreage," he said.
"We need to see how farming communities from Nyanza can also earn what the tea farmers earn. We need a candid discussion on this. We must get a way to ensure this happen," he said
Ruto said his economic model is alive to the fact that SMEs should be at the heart of the economy , thus alternative mechanism of financing the businesses will be established.
Ruto hit out at his opponents who have been calling for reduction of taxes in the country.
He said the only strategy to make the tax regime less punitive is to expand the tax base so that more people are brought on board.
He said his first agenda will be to make sure young people have jobs and are able to put food on the table.
"We need to engage the youth to work so that we don't worry about our security. My second agenda is to create the environment and a legal regime that supports business and avails resources for them to do business," he said.
The DP will on Wednesday meet boda boda operators and small scale traders in Kondele before leaving for Migori. He winds up his tour of the region on Thursday in Homa Bay.