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DP Ruto’s charm offensive in Western paying off

By John Shilitsa | Published Sat, July 14th 2018 at 15:03, Updated July 14th 2018 at 15:18 GMT +3
Deputy President William Ruto is received by Mumias East Benjamin Washiali (right), Mumias West Johnson Naicca (second right) when he officially launched the construction of Bukolwe-Musanda- Bungasi- Sigomere- Ugunja road at Musanda market on July 6, 2018. [Benjamin Sakwa/Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto's charm offensive in Western Kenya has started paying off dividends.

Several local leaders perceived to be Ruto’s political foes appear to be warming up to the latter.

Lurambi MP Titus Khamala (ANC) and his Bumula counterpart Moses Mabonga (Independent) have made it clear they will rally behind the Deputy President.

“Ruto has promised to fix for us Lurambi – Navakholo and even a contractor who has been on site has been ordered to leave for failing to construct the road within stipulated period of time,” said Khamala.

According to him, he decided to work with Ruto in the spirit of building bridges initiative.

“I decided to work with Ruto after President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga had a hand shake and agreed to work together for the common good of Kenyans,” said Khamala during a parents meeting at Shikoti mixed secondary school yesterday.

The lawmaker said his decision to support Ruto will not make him ditch ANC. “I will remain a member of ANC because the party sponsored me to parliament, however, my close working ties with Ruto remains.”

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Mabonga was among jubilee legislators and local politicians who accompanied Mr Ruto when he commissioned 40 Kilometers Musanda - Bungasi - Sigomere - Ugunja Road in Mumias on July 6.

Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, MPs Ayub Savula (Lugari), John Waluke (Sirisia), Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo) and Catherine Wambilianga (Women Rep, Bungoma) also accompanied Ruto.

In what appears to be a totally new approach to courting local leaders, Ruto lauded them for rallying behind Jubilee and challenged them to rise above old-school politics that thrive on tribalism and ethnicity.

He said there was nothing to worry about when those in the opposition realize the importance of being in government and opting to be part of it.

“Jubilee leaders and supporters should not be alarmed when our opponents opt to work with us, I know Moses Wetang’ula, and Ms Wambilianga could not be far from joining us,” said the DP during the visit.

Speaking in Musanda, Lugari MP Ayub Savula (ANC) indicated willingness to work with Ruto, who he termed a close friend and neighbor.

“From my home to the DPs house is barely ten minutes’ drive, we should work together for the good of our people, we would like to see road network enhanced and other projects fixed in our constituencies,” he said.

“Since I am keen on becoming the next governor in this county, I will work with Ruto to bring development to our people,” he said.

Savula has been one of Ruto’s fiercest critics and his change of tune towards the DP could be just a tip of the iceberg in the direction politics in the region perceived to be opposition strong-hold could take in 2022.

Reports indicating that Raila would embark on a week-long tour of Western starting Monday have since been dismissed by the party communication official Philip Etale.

“There is no such tour,” Etale responded through SMS when asked whether the former premier would indeed be visiting Western.


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