CHANGING TACK

Raila to open 'handshake project' to stop Ruto advances

The DP has visited Migori county twice

In Summary
  • Area MP Walter Owino says he proposed the Kenya Medical Training College Awendo campus during a trip with President Kenyatta soon after the handshake.
  • Other projects include the Sh70 million Dede market by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.
Awendo MP Walter Owino (holding a phone) inspects the new KMTC campus in Awendo town.
HANDSHAKE PROJECT: Awendo MP Walter Owino (holding a phone) inspects the new KMTC campus in Awendo town.
Image: MANUEL ODENY

ODM leader Raila Odinga on Thursday will open a Sh65million institution in Awendo constituency tagged 'handshake project'.

The visit by Raila is seen as his first move to counter Deputy President William Ruto's advances in the Luo majority counties of Migori, Kisumu, Siaya and Homa Bay.

Area MP Walter Owino on Tuesday said he proposed the Kenya Medical Training College Awendo campus during a trip with President Uhuru Kenyatta soon after the March 9, 2018, handshake.

“Without the handshake, some sections of the country in opposition zones were completely locked out. This project is a testimony of how politics of tolerance and peace can spur development,” he said.

Owino spoke after meeting security and party officials from Migori in preparation for the meeting, which will culminate with Raila addressing a rally in Awendo town.

Other projects include the Sh70 million Dede market by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

Raila is expected to use the two projects to woo voters and counter inroads made by Ruto.

The DP has visited Migori county twice.  

He got former Awendo MP Jared Kopiyo to cross over to his side when the ex-lawmaker hosted him twice, including during a harambee at SDA Church Awendo Central. He also has the support of Migori Governor Okoth Obado.

“While we have others who have been busy coming to Migori to offer handouts, we will offer development that can resonate for generations. This college and market will help all Kenyans instead of wheelbarrows,” Owino said.

Migori ODM chairman Philip Makabong'o said Deputy Governor Mwita Mahanga, county secretary Christopher Rusana and Public Administration executive Iscar Oluoch, among others, are some of Obado's allies who will be present during Raila's visit.  

“We will use the meeting to send a statement and put a line between those who support TangaTanga in Migori and our team base. Migori is an ODM zone and we will receive key allies from our rivals on that day,” he said in Awendo town on Tuesday.

Obado was elected on the ODM ticket but has moved to People Democratic Party.

The college's groundbreaking ceremony took place on April 5, 2019, led by Raila.

“When the board gave us the green light to begin construction, the local constituency fund released Sh65 million to build the tuition block, which can house 1,000 students. We will move on with the administration block and dormitories,” Owino said.

The lawmaker said he had promised to build a college in Awendo, which currently doesn’t have any, during campaigns, but it had seemed like a tall order because of the bad blood brought about by the contested elections.

Edited by Josephine M. Mayuya