President William Ruto and Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga yesterday continued their war of words for a second day, this time from Raila's political bedrock of Nyanza.
Ruto concluded his three-day tour of Nyanza in Migori by pitching to residents development projects that his administration is pursuing to transform the region's economy. The President challenged the Azimio leader to support him (Ruto) instead of leading demonstrations against his administration.
But speaking in Bondo, a defiant Raila who has vowed to continue with the protests said was not scared of Ruto and urged his supporters to tighten their belts to keep the spirit of protests alive.
"No one can scare me. He (Ruto) cannot scare me. He cannot quarrel me because I am not a child," said Raila.
For the third day in a row, the president used the trip to push back against the opposition leader at every stop he made in Kisii, Nyamira, Kuria, Rongo and Uriri.
Ruto heaped blame on the ODM chief over some of the woes he (Ruto) faced in his political career in the past, saying he believes that Raila could be on a mission to derail his leadership and the Kenya Kwanza administration.
"I was taken to The Hague because of Raila, ask him why he is holding demonstrations against me. I have voted for him before. It's now his turn to support me," said the president.
On his part, speaking in Bondo, Raila claimed that many Kenyans have been reaching out to him over the high cost of living and said he cannot sit back and watch as Kenyans, multi-party and electoral reforms suffer under the watch of the Kenya Kwanza administration.
"The demonstrations are not about my personal interests but for the benefit of Kenyans," said Raila, who further called on Kenyans to come out in large numbers to exercise their democratic right of picketing as enshrined in the Constitution tomorrow and on Thursday.
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Raila rallied his support base to remain steadfast and support his quest even as the president and his allies made a similar appeal to residents to support their administration.
Although labelled as a development tour, Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua as well as the allies who accompanied them on the trip took every opportunity to blend in politics and trade words with opposition leader as they rallied the region to reject Azimio's mass action.
In Uriri, Gachagua praised leaders from the region who have rebelled against Raila and said their decision to pursue development through Ruto's administration will ink their names in the history books.
"They complain about development not coming to Luo Nyanza but sideline those that come to us for development," said Gachagua.
The president unveiled a number of infrastructure projects which he said will boost the region’s economy.
Ruto said his administration will implement projects in agriculture, trade and infrastructural projects to open up the region and exploit its potential.
In Kuria East, the president said plans are on course to carve the two Kuria constituencies from Migori County and grant them their own county.
The push for the creation of a county in Kuria has been among the teething issues leaders from the region have been pushing for and formed part of their campaign demands to presidential candidates in the build up to last year’s General Elections.
“The issue of your county (Kuria) is on our table. We are on it and I want you to relax,” he said.
The president, however, told residents that he first wants to stop what he described as "Raila's protests" as he pursues development for the region.
In the region, Ruto also launched a number of road projects his government is keen to tarmac including key roads linking the region to Gusiiland.
Although several elected leaders from the region including Governor Ochillo Ayacko skipped his meetings in Migori, the president said he will not relent in his push to transform the region.
At Kegonga, he commissioned the construction of Kegonga-Loiondo junction as well as Masurura junction. He also commissioned Nyabohanse-Kumumwamo road.
President Ruto promised to build ICT centers in all Kuria wards.
In agriculture, the president pledged to construct an Agri-industrial park at Kehancha town where aggregation, value addition and processing would be done tp boost incomes.
The president said his administration will also kick off affordable housing schemes in Migori county where they will build about 2,000 housing units in Kuria West.
President Ruto also gifted Nyabohanse girls Sh10 million to expand the school and St Mary's in Mabera also to be issued with Sh10 million.
In Uriri, the president said the government will build a Sh50 million hospital while he gave Uriri Technical Training Institute 100 computers worth Sh13 million.
The president's functions in Migori County were attended by PS Raymond Omollo, ICT CS Eliud Owalo, former Nyatike MP who is also chairman Nuclear Regulatory Authority Edick Anyanga, former Migori Governor Okoth Obado, former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, Lang'ata MP Felix Oduor, Kuria East MP Maisori Kitayama, Kuria West MP Mathias Robi among other leaders.
[Additional reporting by Isaiah Gwengi]