ODM MPs dismiss Ruto's charm offensive in Nyanza

National Assembly minority leader and Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi during the National Dialogue Committee submissions on October 3, 2023. [Denis Kibuchi, Standard]

A section of ODM lawmakers have dismissed President William Ruto's Nyanza visit saying that he can only win the support of the people through opposition leader Raila Odinga.

The leaders claimed that the President's four-day visit to the region was a campaign strategy disguised as a development tour.

Led by National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi, the leaders further alleged that the Head of State was launching county projects to be handled by governors and MCAs.

Wandayi said the president's visit is disguised as a development tour but in reality, is pegged on marketing the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) in Nyanza.

"It is not right for Ruto to come here in the pretext of development, yet he wants to spread the tentacles of his party," he said.

The Minority Leader alleged that Ruto was frustrating projects started by former President Uhuru Kenyatta.

"What has brought you here? The Kabonyo Kanyagwal fish project is a Hungary-funded project. There is no budget allocation in the budget from the national government. All this is pretense, and we cannot allow it to continue," he said.

Wandayi was speaking during the burial of John Ouko Tweya, the father of Kisumu County Assembly Speaker Elisha Oraro, in Nyahera, Kisumu, where several ODM leaders also dismissed the president's four-day trip to the region.

But even as ODM lawmakers dismissed Ruto's Nyanza tour, governors from the region attended the president's events.

Seme MP James Nyikal claimed that there is nothing new the president has brought to the region.

"The only new thing is the housing project. Those who moved to Kenya Kwanza should launch new projects and not existing ones. We know their plan to change the hearts of our people to embrace Kenya Kwanza, but it will not happen," said Dr Nyikal.

Suna West MP Peter Masara asked Nyanza residents to remain steadfast in ODM.

"Our party in this region must remain ODM. These ODM rebels are yet to even condole with Sondu families who lost their kin in clashes, yet they dare to run around in Nyanza, launching non-existent projects," said Masara.

"We are telling Ruto that the path he is following will not bear fruits because Nyanza region only recognizes Raila," he added.

Kisumu Woman Representative Ruth Odinga claimed that the President has been inspecting Handshake projects.

"Most of these projects were started after the Handshake between Uhuru and Raila. Most of the projects you are supposed to launch you have stopped instead," she said.

Kisumu West MP Rozah Buyu asked ODM to punish MCAs who are not loyal to the party.

"Some of these MCAs take money from ODM rebels who are visiting State House, yet in public, they swear allegiance to our leader Raila. We must be very categorical, on how we deal with those who are not walking with us," said Buyu.