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March 22, 2018

Will DP Ruto’s inroads in Western yield votes? Opinion is divided

DP William Ruto joins worshippers in a song during an interdenominational service in Cheptais High School, Mt Elgon, Bungoma county last month /DPPS
DP William Ruto joins worshippers in a song during an interdenominational service in Cheptais High School, Mt Elgon, Bungoma county last month /DPPS

Although Deputy President William Ruto criticised 2022 politicking at the expense of development, his early campaigns in Western are not lost on critics. 

His visits to the vote-rich region in the past two weeks are viewed as an attempt to cultivate support for his 2022 presidential bid.

While some feel Ruto could win the bulk of the vote, others believe the DP’s manoeuvres may not yield much.

Ruto visited Malava on February 24 to attend Jubilee MCA Kevin Maelo’s homecoming, before touring Mt Elgon in Bungoma county the same day.

The DP presided over two fundraisers at Milo and Namwela secondary schools in Bungoma county, and attended interdenominational prayers in the volatile Mt Elgon the next day.

Last weekend, the DP returned to Kakamega to attend Sports CS Rashid Achesa’s homecoming in Mumias town.

Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala says Ruto’s forays into the region will not generate support.

“Ruto has done that before and got nothing. Making individual appointments does not guarantee him votes from the region,” he said.

Malala said Jubilee has no chance in Western, saying it failed to implement any tangible development project in its first term.

But Lugari MP Ayub Savula is worried that Ruto has turned Western into a “dancing ground”. He asked Nasa co-principals Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula to take control of the region.

“They have allowed Ruto to turn Western into a Jubilee dancing ground as they watch. He moves around with Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka and can dismember the Bungoma county for Jubilee,” he said.

ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi’s spokesman Kibisu Kabatesi said there are advanced plans by his boss and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula to ring-fence the Luhya bloc from Jubilee predators.

“It is too early to panic about Jubilee infiltration in the region,” he said.

Political analyst Martin Oloo said Luhyas must take responsibility for their own political destiny by re-organising their house and deciding where they want to go to.

“Ruto has always expressed interest in having Western with him, and he is already building his empire because he knows Luhyas are busy fighting each other,” he said.

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