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Western leaders say they'll work with DP Ruto

By Felix Odhiambo | Published Wed, October 10th 2018 at 00:00, Updated October 9th 2018 at 23:25 GMT +3
Deputy President William Ruto's personal assistant, Farouk Kibet and former Kakamega senator Boni Khalwale during a fundraiser at Friends School Silungai Girls in Malava last month. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Barely two months after Governor Wycliffe Oparanya announced plans to work with Deputy President William Ruto, the DP has gained political backing in western Kenya.

More leaders from the region have endorsed him for the country's top seat in the 2022 elections.

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During two different fundraisers in Malava and Lurambi sub-counties on Sunday, key local politicians announced their willingness to work with Mr Ruto.

Former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale said he would support the DP's candidacy, citing frustration in past political affiliations.

"We are looking forward to forming an outfit with the Kalenjin community through their kingpin William Ruto. Our friendship with others has not yielded fruit so we are willing to work with other communities for the good of the Luhya nation," said Dr Khalwale.

Working closely

He said he was working closely with Amani National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Barrack Muluka to find ways of uniting Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetang'ula and ANC chief Musalia Mudavadi, and lobby their support for Ruto.

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He accused Orange Democratic Movement's (ODM) Raila Odinga of playing divisive and tribal politics across the country and being obsessed with his own selfish ambitions.

"It pains that even after supporting his unsuccessful bids, he (Raila) still has the guts to fire his faithful cronies so he can employ his kinsmen. It is an unfair and backward way of conducting politics," he said in reference to Wetang'ula and other leaders who have lost their political posts despite supporting Raila's bid for the presidency.

The Orange party recently sought to eject Ford Kenya and ANC MPs from various parliamentary committees after they opposed the controversial Financial Bill 2018, which has since been signed into law by the President.

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Lurambi MP Titus Khamala said it was important to support 'Government insiders' for the sake of development.

"I support Ruto on development matters. Should we continue professing the NASA (National Super Alliance) faith when its flagbearer (Raila) has been 'handshaken' and made to cross the floor?" said Mr Khamala.

He said the Opposition was making noise but had nothing to offer in line with the country's developmental progress.

The MP urged leaders to work with the Jubilee administration to ensure effective service delivery to citizens.

Kenya National Union of Nurses Secretary General Seth Panyako also declared his support for Ruto's presidential bid.

Mr Panyako said he had officially left ODM as a result of poor leadership and crossed over to 'team Ruto'.

Dead house

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"NASA is a dead house; for no house can withstand adversities without the roof. I will support the Deputy President's battle for the presidency."

He accused Raila of coercing MPs who had opposed the 8 per cent VAT on petroleum products in Parliament, terming it a gunshot against democracy and freedom of speech and expression.

Navakolo MP Emmanuel Wangwe and National Assembly Majority Chief Whip Benjamin Washiali, who are Jubilee Party-allied politicians from Western, said they would not relent in supporting Ruto's political ambitions.

However, Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala has in the past exuded confidence in Raila and said he would not withdraw his support despite pressure from his party bosses.

According to him, Raila is a visionary leader who has the interests of all Kenyans at heart.

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