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Handshake derailed our dream, Ruto tells Raila turf

By Harold Odhiambo | November 10th 2021

Deputy President William Ruto at Sussana Owiyo gardens in Kisumu County on November 9, 2021. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto hit out at the ODM leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta as he started his tour of Nyanza.

The DP, who claimed his bottom-up economic plan will solve the problems facing the country, said the region had lagged in development due to lack of political goodwill.

He dismissed the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), saying its promoters wanted to take Kenya back to the old days.

"BBI was a mega fraud. You do not need to change the Constitution to send more money to the counties," said the DP.

Speaking in a region that was among those that backed the BBI, the DP said the process had derailed Jubilee Party's development agenda.

"The real issue with BBI is that they wanted to install an imperial president. They are even ashamed of themselves," said Ruto.

The controversial sugar industry, fishing, rice farming and unemployment formed Ruto's main agenda.

While addressing several groups at the Sussana Owiyo Art Centerer in Kisumu,  the DP lauded some of the gains the Jubilee administration had made, but blamed the 'handshake' for some of woes Kenyans are facing

He said Nyanza had benefited from a number of projects in electricity since they took office in 2013.

"Leaders have not treated Nyanza well. Leaders have not been coming to engage the people," he said.

He, however, kept away from mentioning the projects initiated by the national government in the region since President Kenyatta and Raila started working together.

Ruto claimed that while other regions were doing well in agriculture, Nyanza was rice and sugarcane farmers  were struggling.

"There is no sufficient goodwill to support some of the problems the region face," said Ruto.

According to the DP, while Nyanza had almost similar acreage under sugarcane as that of tea in Central Kenya, it was only earning Sh18 billion compared to Sh120 billion per year from tea.

"The whole sector of fish is easier to address because we have a ready market. We need the necessary plans," he added.

He also criticised the government for what he termed as punitive taxes that have made doing business difficult.

The DP faulted Kisumu demolitions in which many traders lost their businesses. The demolitions by government entities, including the Kenya Railways, were meant to recover land.

On next year's General Election, Ruto urged the region, the backyard of his rival Raila, to make the right decision.

The DP also claimed that he has the highest number of MPs in Parliament at 155 against Raila's 70, and ahead in the race to form the next government.

After the meeting, however, chants of "ODM" greeted the DP in a number of stops in Nyahera, Kisumu West.

Today, the DP will continue with his vote-wooing mission in Kondele and Migori.

Luo Nyanza has voted for Raila since his first stab at the presidency in 1997.

The ODM chief has always rallied the region to back his bid save for snippets of disgruntlement from former allies in a region where campaigning against Raila has been like a ticket to political oblivion.

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