BATTLE FOR KISII

DP Ruto moves to consolidate Kisii region in battle with Raila

The DP's allies are scheming to lock out Raila from the region.

In Summary
  • Nyamira has a total of 278,853 registered voters but it is projected to hit half a million by 2022.
  • Kisii has a total of 546,580  registered voters and could hit a million by 2022.
DP William Ruto acknowledges his welcome in Kisii town three weeks ago. He is with South Mugirango MP Sylvanus Osoro and Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi.
THE HUSTLER SALUTE: DP William Ruto acknowledges his welcome in Kisii town three weeks ago. He is with South Mugirango MP Sylvanus Osoro and Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi.
Image: ANGWENYI GICHANA

Deputy President William Ruto is consolidating his Kisii support days after ODM leader Raila Odinga embarked on an aggressive campaign to firm up his grip of the region.

DP Ruto's allies led by Kisii Deputy governor Joash Maangi and at least five elected MPs from the region on Thursday held a meeting within tens of politicians from Kisii and Nyamira counties in Nairobi.

Maangi said the meeting was convened by leaders from Gusii to discuss "the social economic issues affecting the region".

“There will be a steering committee that will traverse the entire region to consult, collect and collate the issues affecting the region to come up with a detailed blueprint tailored to the current needs of the region,” Maangi said.

The team will soon traverse the region to collect views that will form the key cog of the leaders negotiations with the DP ahead of next year's election.

The task force will consult opinion leaders and other stakeholders to develop the region's wish list that will form part of the hustler national economic agenda as Ruto ramps up his presidential campaigns.

It is believed the deliberations from the DP's supporters from the region will push for space for the community on Ruto's bargaining table ahead of polls. 

Ruto is expected to hold a meeting with the leaders from the community in the coming weeks once they firm up their proposals in his bottom-up economic model. 

Among the leaders who attended the Thursday meeting included former Constitution Implementation Commission chairman Charles Nyachae, People's Democratic Party leader Omingo Magara, MPs Shadrack Mose (Kitutu Masaba), Joash Nyamoko (North Mugirango), Vincent Kemosi (West Mugirango), Sylvanus Osoro (South Mugirango) and Alfa Miruka of Bomachoge Chache.

Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi
Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi
Image: FILE

Curiously present was ex-Nyamira gubernatorial aspirant on the Jubilee ticket Walter Nyambati, who also sits in the party's powerful National Management Committee, and ex-county Woman representative Alide Chae.

City lawyer-turned politician Cliff Ombeta, who is eyeing the Bonchari seat on the UDA party was also present.

Former East Africa Legislative Assembly member and ex-ODM member Joseph Kiangoi also attended.

The meeting came barely a week after Raila met KisiiGovernor James Ongwae and Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i.

The meeting was aimed at brokering a political truce among Gusii leaders following the falling out  of the hotly contested Bonchari by-election.  ODM braved Jubilee and UDA onslaught to capture the seat.

The falling out would have threatened ODM's fortunes in the crucial region and dent Raila's efforts to consolidate Nyanza in his expected fifth stab at the presidency. 

Stung by Raila's move to bring together Ongwae and Matiang'i in a push to ring fence Kisii from Ruto, the DP's camp has moved to harness their support that targets 2022 aspirants from the region.

The Gusii community has not voted as a bloc except  for the historic 2002 General Election, when it stood to a man with then Ford People leader and presidential candidate Simeon Nyachae.

Then Nyachae's PDP party which had 'Watu Wengi Sana' as the clarion call, swept all the nine parliamentary seats in the region despite Nyachae having performed dismally at the presidential vote.