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Ruto to champion economic blueprint as he tours Coast

By Brian Otieno | May 21st 2021
By Brian Otieno | May 21st 2021

Deputy President William Ruto interacting with professionals, political and business leaders from Bungoma, Kakamega, Busia and Vihiga counties during a consultation meeting at his Karen Office, Nairobi. [Jonah Mwangi, DPPS]

Deputy President William Ruto will retreat to the Coast for two days to champion his economic empowerment blueprint.

The DP is expected to meet local leaders and professionals alongside his economic strategists in a hotel in the afternoon before they go into plenary.

This comes after Dr Ruto held a similar meeting at his Karen residence, Nairobi, yesterday, where he hosted Western leaders and professionals led by Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali.

Ruto’s tour of the Coast comes a day after he skipped the official launch of the Lamu Port by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

He is scheduled to issue his address at 3pm before the meeting transitions to plenary discussions ahead of a joint communique to be issued tomorrow.

"The DP will be in the Coast region for two days to meet with the leaders and professionals on their economic empowerment agenda. He will be accompanied by economic experts led by David Ndii," said the DP's Director of Communication Emmanuel Talam.

He added," He will wind up on Saturday and deliver a joint communique with the region's leadership."

A section of Coast lawmakers recently deliberated on key projects they expect to present to the DP.

The leaders identified investing in the special economic zones, the blue economy, mining, housing projects as well as the thorny issue of job opportunities at Mombasa port.

In attendance were MPs Owen Baya (Kilifi North), Mohammed Ali (Nyali), Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), Khatib Mwashetani (Lungalunga), Faisel Baidel (Msambweni), Benjamin Tayari (Kinango), Senators Anwar Loitiptip (Lamu) and former Senator Hassan Omar, among others.

Ruto's charm offensive has seen him meet leaders from Kajiado County, Mt Kenya and Western. The agenda of such forums has revolved around politics and the economy, with the DP making a case for what he has termed a “bottom-up” approach.

Yesterday, the DP met stakeholders from Bungoma, Busia and Kakamega counties at his Karen residence. The meeting that brought together business professionals and politicians was convened by Washiali.

Deputy President William Ruto interacting with professionals, political and business leaders from Bungoma, Kakamega, Busia and Vihiga counties during a consultation meeting at his Karen Office, Nairobi. [Jonah Mwangi, DPPS]

Others who attended the meeting were Daniel Wanyama (Webuye West MP), John Waluke (Sirisia) and former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa.

“The reason I requested this meeting was because I wanted to explain myself to you and to persuade you that I have a plan worth implementing. That plan is not complete and I want it enriched by you people,” Ruto said.

Mr Washiali said the meeting discussed the economic interests of the Western region with a view to incorporate it into Ruto’s overall manifesto.

Top on the agenda, he said, was improving economic activities such as farming, Jua Kali and boda boda industries.

“Our farmers have been working hard over the years and yet they have nothing to show for it,” he said, adding that the respective counties would work through committees to identify their different priorities.

He added, "Our agenda will be the creation of wealth, jobs and opportunities as well as supporting enterprises and decriminalising the business environment. A deliberate government intervention that will put resources in small businesses will be the focal point of the bottom-up approach of our economic model."

Washiali said the DP gave them two weeks to come up with a paper to help him formulate a blueprint for the economic development of Western.

“Let us commit ourselves to an implementation plan so that we stop a government that is government for the sake of government,” Ruto told the leaders.

Last Friday, Ruto ally Eliud Owalo convened a meeting of Nyanza leaders to craft the economic strategy of the region.

They said their strategy will form the basis of their negotiations with other presidential hopefuls ahead of 2022.

Mr Owalo said anyone seeking the support of the region will have to enter into a pre-election economic pact with them.

Those who attended the meeting include former Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma, former Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno and former Rangwe MP Martin Ogindo.

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