• While Ruto has since fallen out with Uhuru, his presence at the launch of the projects and his campaigns in the region has seen his lieutenants passing the projects as his.
• “The presidential race is not a beauty contest, but we are judged by our development record,” Ruto said.
Deputy President William Ruto is banking on development projects by Jubilee government to woo the Kuria community in Migori county.
In the last two general elections, Uhuru Kenyatta won against ODM leader Raila Odinga in the community, which forms about 25 per cent of total county votes. Ruto plans to continue the trend.
On Sunday, Ruto held several rallies across the Kuria East and West. He was flanked by MPs Marwa Kitayama and Mathias Robi.
“In 2013 we formed the Jubilee government with the Kuria community and confirmed the same in last elections.
"We have another chance to make a new government and we will not leave this community behind,” Ruto said.
Ruto said his rivals Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka should tell the Kuria community what they did in the area when they were prime minister and vice president.
“The presidential race is not a beauty contest, but we are judged by our development record. Other gentlemen should come here and show us changes they initiated while in power,” Ruto chided his rivals.
The DP took credit for the tarmacking of Migori-Kehancha-Tarang’anya, Isebania-Kehancha, Kehancha-Kegonga-Ntimaru-Lolgorien, Nyabohanse-Kehancha and Mabera-Motemorabu roads.
He added that the building of Mabera and Kendege technical colleges, Kehancha KMTC campus and electricity connection will also champion for his bid in the polls.
While Ruto has since fallen out with Uhuru, his presence at the launch of the projects and his campaigns in the region has seen his lieutenants passing the projects as his.
“In Kuria we are firmly behind Ruto and it is him who campaigned and initiated several projects in the area not Uhuru. We will back him in the polls fully,” Robi said.
Kitayama said the community will not afford to be in the opposition.
He said Uhuru has finished his ten years as president and they will pass the baton to Ruto.
In the August presidential poll, whose results were nullified by the Supreme Court, President Uhuru Kenyatta garnered 41,951 votes (65 per cent of the cast votes) while National Super Alliance presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga garnered 21,202 votes (34 per cent of the cast votes) in Kuria.
In the repeat poll, Uhuru won in both constituencies with 19,587 votes in Kuria West with the NASA leader getting only 214 votes.
Uhuru also won in Kuria East constituency with 13,156 votes followed by Raila who got 180 votes.
In 2013 general elections, Raila tried a negotiated democracy between the Kuria and Luo communities.
The idea, meant to bring unity in newly formed Migori county, flopped on the ballot and was rejected by both communities in the last elections.
Speaking with the Star in Migori town on Tuesday, Rongo MP Paul Abuor who is the Migori county chairman of Parliamentary Group said it was true they have been trailing in the region which has two out of eight constituencies in the county.
“We are on the ground and we welcome political tourists like Ruto. We have been mobilising Kuria people and we will reverse the trend on August 9,” Abuor said.
Social Protection PS Nelson Marwa and nominated MP Dennitah Ghati, who was the first Woman Representative, have been key in cementing the region towards the Raila-Uhuru axis.
Plans are underway for Raila to tour the region. He (Raila) will start by meeting opinion leaders and aspirants to have both Kuria East and West seats captured by ODM before major rallies.
“Kuria, unlike the Luo parts of Migori, is different as they go with political wind on who will form the next government and this time we are ahead,” Philip Makabong’o, Migori ODM chairman said.
He said while in other parts of Nyanza ODM campaigns are easier, in Kuria “they need more incentives. Instead of rallies they need Kamukunjis to make political decisions apart from more campaigns.”
(Edited by Bilha Makokha)