Several Nyanza leaders’ plan to endorse Deputy President William Ruto for presidency yesterday suffered a setback after he failed to turn up for a scheduled meeting.
Several church leaders, members of the Luo Council of Elders and local politicians had gathered at the Coptic Church in Kisumu, where the DP was to lead a fundraiser for the church.
The church’s Fr John Pesa and other leaders waited several hours for Ruto’s arrival, in vain.
The DP, however, sent Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony to pass his message to the church.
The politicians were represented by Citizen Conventions Party (CCP) leader Grace Akumu, while Nyandiko Ongadi, who has been fighting for control over the leadership of the Luo Council of Elders with Opiyo Otondi, represented the group.
The leaders praised Ruto and said they were in support of his ambitions. Mr Chepkwony had rallied them to back the Deputy President for the 2022 presidency.
According to Fr Pesa, the DP had been invited as the chief guest.
“We have been waiting for the DP since morning, but, unfortunately, he has not turned up. We love him and he should come and see his people,” said Pesa.
The meeting was set to highlight the DP’s inroads in Nyanza, as politicians begin to prepare for the 2022 presidential election. Opposition leader Raila Odinga has been commanding huge support from the region.
On Saturday, Ruto and Raila shared a platform in Kisumu. Each gave a conciliatory speeches.
In the past few weeks, Ruto’s allies have gone ballistic over claims that Raila was using his handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta to sideline and block the DP from the succession race.
Yesterday, the leaders who had been eagerly waiting for Ruto told journalists the DP was free to visit them anytime.