Ruto said the country cannot achieve its food security if it relies only on rains
-It is through investments in irrigation that the country can get enough food for surplus and for sale and thus ensure food security which is part of the Big Four agenda
Deputy President William Ruto has lined up an elaborate tour of five Coastal counties seen as a charm offensive for his 2022 presidential bid.
His visit of Tana River, Kilifi, Kwale, Mombasa and Taita Taveta comes hardly two days after a similar tour by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The DP was conspicuously absent at the Coast where Uhuru opened the ASK Show in Mombasa.
After a Cabinet meeting at State House in Nairobi yesterday, Ruto flew to Tana River county where he began the “development tour.”
He launched Korakora Gravity Canal project at Bura Irrigation Scheme and inspected cashew nuts and coconuts projects.
Ruto has previously come under fire from critics for launching 2022 campaigns disguised as tour of development projects.
The DP is keen to turn the Coast, previously seen as Opposition Chief Raila Odinga’s bastion, into his stronghold.
As per the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission 2017 voter register, Mombasa had the highest number of registered voters at 580,223 followed by Kilifi 508,068.
Kwale has 281,041 registered voters, Tana River (118,327), Taita Taveta has 155,716 while Lamu has 69,776.
Speaking during an inspection tour of the Sh 1.7 billion Karakora phase one project, Ruto said the country cannot achieve food security if it relies on rain only.
He said the government is committed to eliminating hunger, which is part of President Uhuru's Big Four agenda.
“Our aim as government is to ensure we increase the acreage of land under irrigation in this area to 40,000 so as to eliminate food shortage,” Ruto said.
He regretted that the Korakora project delayed for seven years because of contract related issues. The DP said the new contractor has been directed to complete the work in a year’s time.
“It is through investments in irrigation that the country can get enough food for surplus and for sale and thus ensure food security which is part of the Big Four agenda,” he said.
MPs Ali Wario (Bura), John Paul (Igembe South), Adan Ali (Mandera East) and chairman of National Irrigation Board Joshua Toro were present.
And in Bura town, the DP distributed coconut and cashew nuts tree seedlings to farmers.
After inspecting projects , Ruto went to Galole Makere village Milalulu and Garsen Stadium where he presided over two fundraisers for students' bursary and widows, respectively.
He was set to close his day in the two neighbouring wards -Kipini West and Kipini East where he was to open Madingo livestock market and fundraisa for a school Bus for Kipini Secondary.
This morning, the DP will be pitching tent in Kilifi county where he will inspect the ongoing construction of Shakahola footbridge in Malindi constituency.
At 10 am, he will be at Kitsoeni water pump in Kilifi South constituency where he will launch last mile connectivity.
He will then make a another stop in Kilifi town to open the Baricho lot three water pipeline. From Kilifi town, he will make two stops at Rabai constituency, one where he will handover of a tractor to a cooperative and another one at Rabai Secondary School, Bibi Fatma, to launch the last mile connectivity.
He will close the day in Mtwapa where he will fundraise for boda boda and a youth and women groups.
On Saturday morning, the DP will kick off his day in Mombasa county, Changamwe constituency where he is expected to launch Changamwe repooling sewer line.
Midmorning , he will fly to the neighbouring Kwale county where he will launch Pemba Dam water supply and at noon, he will be in Lungalunga subcounty to launch the last mile connectivity at Mwansefu Secondary School .
He will close his day in Mombasa county at Kadzandani Settlement in Nyali where he will also launch another last mile connectivity.
On Sunday, Ruto will start his day at Shimba Hills where he will attend a church fundraising and at noon, he will be in Taita Taveta county, Voi subcounty to fundraise for a number of churches in Kasigau and also launch last mile connectivity at Buguta Secondary School.
On Monday next week, Ruto will complete his Coastal tour in two stations- in Taveta town where he is expected to fundraise for a group of community based organisations and at Njoro Kubwa where he will open a multipurpose dam.
On his way to Narobi, the DP is expected to make a stop at Illtilal, Kajiado South where he will attend the Eunoto Cultural Ceremony. On Tuesday morning, he will be in Meru county, Igembe South for the burial of Mzee Linturi - the father of Senator Mithika Linturi.