Will President William Ruto's new strategy to woo Raila's Nyanza turf bear fruit?

Among the goodies that Ruto has lined up for Nyanza include revamping the fishing industry, the blue economy and infrastructure and trade.

Barely a few days after rewarding his allies from the region with key government slots, Ruto announced in his first Cabinet meeting plans to construct a Sh1 billion fisheries project in Kisumu.

Although proposal for the project was made by Governor Nyong'o's administration before curtains fell on former president Uhuru Kenyatta's administration, residents believe the move by Ruto to prioritise it's approval in his first Cabinet meeting is a major statement.

Construction of the Sh1 billion Kabonyo Fisheries Aquaculture and Training Centre of excellence comes at a time when the fisheries industry has been on its deathbed.

Nyong'o said discussions on the Kabonyo fisheries project has been going on between the county and the national government for over a year.

But this is not the only project. Ruto's administration is also pursuing several projects including construction of affordable housing in Homa Bay and providing relief food.

Later this month, the president will launch the construction of 400 affordable housing units in Homa Bay.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo distributing beans and rice to residents of Homa Bay County at Nyangore SDA church in Suba North Constituency on Friday. [Standard]

In his Cabinet appointments, Ruto returned the powerful Interior and National Coordination docket to Luo Nyanza, 31 years after the exit of Permanent Secretary Hezekiah Oyugi in, 1991. In his heydays, Oyugi rose to become one of the most feared leaders in the country during the reign of former president Daniel Moi.

Ruto appointed his ally former Lake Basin Development Authority Managing Director Raymond Omollo as the new PS to take over from Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho.

He also gave little-known Alfred Kombudo who hails from Nyakach in Kisumu the nod to champion his Bottom Up economy by appointing him as the new PS for Trade.

The strategies are part of Ruto's complex strategy that is hinged on a bottom-up approach to creating ripples in Raila's political pond through well-crafted political and economic moves.

The developments, however, appear to have rattled Raila's troops who claim the president has weaponised development and is using skewed allocations to strengthen his administration.

Led by Siaya Governor James Orengo and Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo, the leaders accused Ruto's government of using development projects as a weapon to woo members from other parties to join United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

The leaders, who were speaking in Rarieda sub-county on Friday during the launch of Ramba Fruits Processing Factory, said that they were in ODM to stay while insisting that all Kenyans have a right to benefit from development from the government.

The MP, who told off a section of Siaya leaders who had abandoned the Azimio La Umoja to join the ruling coalition, said they did so for selfish interest.

The lawmaker, who was also accompanied by Siaya Deputy Governor William Oduol and ODM Executive Director Oduor Ong'wen, said as a party, they can only cooperate but not submit to the government.

[Additional reporting by Olivia Odhiambo and James Omoro]