Grand reception for Raila as he storms Ruto’s Eldoret backyard

ODM leader Raila Odinga was welcomed by his supporters in Eldoret town on October 15, 2021.

Business came to a standstill in Eldoret yesterday as residents turned up in large numbers to welcome ODM leader Raila Odinga when made a grand entry into Deputy President William Ruto’s home town. 

The former premier appears to have launched a massive campaign targeting the DP’s Rift Valley political stronghold ahead of the 2022 General Election.

He wated no time in criticising Ruto for encouraging a culture of donations instead of hard work.

“He jumps from one place to another dishing out cash money. In a month alone, he spends Sh100 million in harambees (fundraising events),’’ Raila said.

He challenged Ruto to explain companies he owns which enable him to donate huge sums of money every month, saying the DP's source of wealth could be questionable.

“He (Ruto) goes around the country dishing out school buses and money to youth and women groups and churches. He donates expensive cars to bishops,” Raila said.

The ODM chief continued: “We know the salary of the Deputy President. It is the amount that I used to earn when I was Prime Minister. Where are these resources coming from? Which companies do you own?”

According to Raila, the money Ruto has been donating to groups and churches should have been in the National Treasury, and not in people’s pockets.

He also faulted Ruto for what he termed as causing trouble in a government he serves as the second in command.

During his tour, Raila met delegates from five North Rift counties of Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Elgeyo Marakwet, Trans Nzoia and West Pokot before addressing three rallies in Eldoret town where promised to revolutionise agriculture in North Rift, the country’s food basket, if he takes over power next year.

He said he will roll out sound programmes that will change the country’s economy.

Raila said he will implement policies such the allocation of 35 per cent of national revenue to counties and establishment of a youth commission, which were outlined in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) proposals that were declared null and void by the courts.

The ODM chief was accompanied by Governor Alex Tolgos of Elgeyo Marakwet, his Kakamega counterpart Wycliffe Oparanya and a host of MPs including Kanini Kega (Kieni), Junet Mohamed (Suna East), Justus Kizito (Shinyalu) and Godfrey Osotsi (Nominated), among others.

Also present in the Eldoret tour were former Emkwen MP Stephen Tarus and former ambassador Tabitha Seii.

“I will revive Vision 2030 which we started with President Mwai Kibaki. It is through revival of Vision 2030 flagship projects that Kenya will become a middle income country,” Raila said.

The ODM chief said he will end insecurity in the troubled Kerio Valley and revive the construction of Kimmarer and Aror dams whose implementation was stopped two years ago following allegations of corruption.

He said the revival of the two multi-million projects will create thousands of jobs for Kenyan youth.

On food security, Raila said he will bring down the cost of production in the agricultural sector.

“All over the world, farming is subsidised. The United States and European countries protect their farmers, and that is why they import very little from other markets,” Raila said.

He said he will revive textile industries which employed thousands of youth in Eldoret in the 1990s, before they collapsed nearly two decades ago.

“The industrial area in Nairobi where I started business many years ago is a distressing site. Many industries that employed more than 300 people those days are now closed. The premises of those industries are now warehouses, storing cheap goods from China in a country where many youth are jobless. We must reverse this trend,” he said.

Raila further said he will unite all Kenyans, regardless of their tribe through his Azimio la umoja (declaration of unity).

Tolgos said many leaders in Jubilee and Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance would have attended the meeting but felt intimidated.

“I spoke to all leaders from the region and they welcomed you. Let us forgive those who did not show up to welcome Raila in Eldoret. Let us also understand them because they lack the courage to declare their political stand,” Tolgos, a close ally of Raila in the North Rift region, said.

[email protected]