A buoyant Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto jetted back into the country yesterday to a rousing welcome, ahead of a homecoming tomorrow.
Mr Ruto, who had been admitted to a South African Hospital for a week after he was hit by a teargas canister, walked out of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport terminal at 5.35pm to a warm welcome by supporters adorned in blue T-shirts - the colour of his Chama Cha Mashinani Party.
He was mobbed by a crowd, with two groups of women, one from his ethnic Kipsigis community and another from the Masaai community, breaking into song and dance in their respective languages.
The governor, who was accompanied by Kuresoi South MP Zakayo Cheruiyot, thanked Kenyans for praying for him and cracked a few jokes, making light of the injury he suffered near his right eye.
“I feel much better now after the treatment. I enjoyed the light moments of people who made fun of my plight, which to many people appeared not serious at first,” he said.
“I was hurt by an unleaded canister that was unfortunately thrown at me by a police officer. I broke a number of bones under my eye. If you were to look at the X-ray report, you would see a mess of bones.”
In Bomet, boda boda operators, school buses and private vehicles have been mobilised to escort the governor from Mulot trading centre to the New Bomet IAAF Stadium tomorrow.
Organisers of the function revealed that several leaders and more than 30,000 supporters are expected at the event.
Ruto was injured during a fracas between his supporters and those of National Assembly Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso at Silibwet in Bomet Central during a football match between Bunge FC and Bomet-based Silibwet FC.
Ruto blamed Jubilee for the incident, saying it was using police to silence him for his campaign against the party.
Emurua Dikirr MP Johanna Ngeno said the homecoming will be a turning point in politics of the region.
“We will make a declaration that will change the trend of politics of the Kipsigis and by extension the Kalenjin land. Those looking down upon leaders with divergent opinions should brace themselves for a tough battle in 2017,” said Ngeno.
But 15 Bomet MCAs have condemned the homecoming.
“Why does the county have to hire buses, boda bodas and private vehicles to escort him to the stadium all the way from Mulot?” said Kembu MCA Julius Korir.
Korir said it was sad that Ruto was dramatising his injury because of his dwindling support a head of 2017.
The MCAs urged the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to check the county’s spending for the last two quarters, saying most funds have been misappropriated to popularise CCM. Yesterday, Ruto said he would not pursue his attackers, but accused police of brutality.
“Kenya must have a free society where its citizens are free to move around and associate with anyone.”