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State officers facilitating people financially to attend Ruto's big day

KDF officers inspect the preparation of the swearing-in of the new president at Kasarani Stadium on August 7th, 2022. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Preparations are in top gear for supporters of President-elect William Ruto from different parts of the country to attend his swearing-in ceremony in Nairobi tomorrow.

Deputy President Elect Rigathi Gachagua said that each county would ferry a busload of people to the Kasarani Sports Complex.

Speaking in Maua, Meru County where the two leaders were attending a thanksgiving church service, Gachagua said the event would be a historic moment for the nation.

From County Commissioners to politicians, they took up the responsibility of ensuring that their regions are well represented at the event by mobilizing locals to travel to Nairobi.

Some of the youths interviewed by The Standard said they had been promised transport, accommodation and between Sh2,000 to Sh3000 as pocket money.

Former Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, who was among President-elect Ruto’s campaign coordinators in Western, confirmed yesterday that County Commissioners (CCs) were assisting in coordinating travel arrangements. “CCs are the ones making logistics arrangements because they are the eyes of the government on the ground but of course, we are involved in mobilization as leaders from this region to ensure our people get to the venue in good time,” said Washiali.

The former National Assembly Majority Whip said names of those supposed to travel have been shared by the county commissioners in Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma and Vihiga counties.

But Washiali was reluctant to divulge the criteria used to select Ruto’s supporters expected to travel to Nairobi today for the big event and the total number of those selected.

“All I can say, people from Bungoma, Kakamega, Busia and Vihiga will travel by road, I am still engaging with my colleagues on finalizing preparations, by Monday we shall be done with the arrangements,” said Washiali.

Earlier, Kakamega County Commissioner John Ondego told The Standard in a telephone interview that preparations are in the final stages.

“Kakamega has been allocated two buses which will ferry people from this county to Kasarani where the swearing-in event will be taking place. Our delegation will leave today,” said Ondego.

  Each one of the two buses has a seating capacity of 60 passengers translating to 120 people.

Mr Ondego said County Commissioners were asked to coordinate the process “and by yesterday had covered a lot, whatever is remaining is for the buses to take off today.”

Some residents interviewed by The Standard said they would make private arrangements to attend the event.

“I will be traveling a day earlier to Nairobi to prepare for the big day because I am sure the buses lack adequate space for all those who desire to attend Ruto’s swearing-in,” said Victor Wanyonyi from Bumula constituency in Bungoma county.

In Uasin Gishu County, preparations began on Wednesday last week with leaders from the home turf of the President-elect working towards ferrying thousands of supporters to witness William Ruto’s swearing-in ceremony in Kasarani, Nairobi.

One of the County Chief Officers said that more than 500 people from the county were expected to attend the ceremony, with local leaders starting from the Governor to the MCAs facilitating the transportation.

About 100 buses have been hired by the various leaders led by Governor Jonathan Bii and Senator Jackson Mandago to accommodate the high number of people that are longing to attend the ceremony.

“Preparations are going on, and we have held meetings with the leaders including our governor to ensure that residents wishing to travel to Nairobi are accommodated. As of Saturday, about 80 buses had been hired and the number is rising,” said the Chief Officer who asked not to be named.

At the ward levels, the ward administrators have been tasked with noting down the names of residents willing to attend the event.

Paul Kiplimo, a resident, who expressed interest in attending the ceremony, said that being a holiday, he was willing to join other Kenyans in witnessing the moment in History when the fifth President will be taking his oath of office.

“The Tuesday event will be a moment that I do not wish to miss. I have been an ardent supporter of Dr Ruto and I cannot wait to see him take the oath,” said Kiplimo.

Teresa Chebet, another resident, said that she had submitted her name to the concerned officials and hoped to be among the thousands who will be in attendance.

“I am so happy for our President-elect, and I cannot wait to see him sworn in as President. It will be a moment that every hustler in this country has been waiting for,” said Chebet.

Former Migori Governor and Ruto’s point man in Nyanza, Okoth Obado said locals are welcome to attend the event, but added that they should cater for their travel expenses.

“We will only support a few people to attend. I urge our leaders who can ferry a few people to do so because we do not want to portray it as people being ferried,” said Obado.

In Kisii County, South Mugirango MP Slyvanous Osoro said they will definitely support a number of individuals to attend the event.

In Homa Bay County, UDA Co-ordinator John Odek said they had made arrangements for residents to attend the inauguration ceremony, adding that they have a delegation of 105 invited guests who include 12 people from each of the eight constituencies in Homa Bay and nine UDA co-ordinators.

The 12 include boda boda associations’ officials the clergy and mama mboga who campaigned for Kenya Kwanza in Homa Bay.

Story is written by Benard Lusigi, Anne Atieno, Eric Abuga, James Omoro, Phares Mutembei, Lynn Kolongei and Olivia Odhiambo