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Ruto vows to wrestle Kibra seat from Raila in mini-poll

Deputy President William Ruto is received by religious leaders at Ivona Primary School in Sabatia, Vihiga County, where he later conducted a fundraiser for 75 churches. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The Jubilee Party will win the Kibra parliamentary seat in the November by-election, Deputy President William Ruto has said.

Ruto at the same time put on notice those seeking to change the Constitution “through the backdoor”, saying they were bound to fail.

The deputy president spoke yesterday at Kidudu Stadium and Ivona Secondary School in Vihiga County, where he attended separate interdenominational prayer services.

He said matters touching on changing the Constitution required the input of all Kenyans and warned politicians to learn from Third Way Alliance leader Ekuru Aukot’s Punguza Mizigo proposed Bill that had met resistance in many county assemblies where it had been discussed and opposed.

While appearing to discredit the ongoing Building Bridges Initiative’s (BBI) task force, the other publicly recognised initiative seeking views on whether to amend the Constitution, Ruto said Kenyans were tired of a few people making decisions for them.

The Standard has learnt that the BBI team is set to go on a retreat this week at a yet to be disclosed location to write their report.

“Politicians have perfected the art of sitting in high-end hotels and offices to make legislation for the people. But people have become cleverer now. It is not possible to use a short cut to change the Constitution,” Ruto said.

Share power

He added: “Time has come when we cannot continue sitting in isolation and discussing how we shall share power among ourselves. It is unreasonable.”

Ruto attended a church function at Kidudu and helped to raise funds for several churches before holding another function at Ivona in Sabatia.

Former Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga, MPs Charles Gimose (Hamisi), Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), Bernard Shinali (Ikolomani) and Geoffrey Omuse (Teso South) as well as former Vihiga’s Yusuf Chanzu were among the leaders at the event.

Ruto said the collapse of Punguza Mizigo Bill had been occasioned by its sponsor “sitting alone and thinking he can come up with something that all Kenyans will support”.

“Ordinary people know what they want for themselves. If one wants to change the Constitution, you must first get the views of the people who now want to be heard.”

Ruto said the idea of leaders sitting after every election cycle and plotting for the positions they want to get should be discouraged.

Leaders, he added, should instead focus on improving infrastructure, economic growth and empowering their people to rise above poverty.

In a veiled attack at ODM leader Raila Odinga, Ruto said Kibra Constituency was wallowing in abject poverty and that it needed a pragmatic leader to turn its fortunes around.

The DP made the remarks in Kapseret Constituency in Uasin Gishu County at another interdenominational event where he helped raise funds for more than 10 churches.

“I was shocked when an individual laid claim that Kibra is their political bedroom and the region did not even have toilets and locals are grappling with dire sanitation challenges. It is the Jubilee government that built roads and public toilets in Kibra,” he said.

The DP said he would lead campaigns that would see the party pitch camp in Kibra and ensure their candidate, McDonald Mariga, delivers the parliamentary seat.

Economic challenges

“Jubilee is steadfast under the leadership of President Uhuru Kenyatta and will deliver all promises to alleviate social and economic challenges facing Kenyans.”

The DP said the Government was not concerned about succession politics of 2022.  

“We have set aside politics and are now concerned about how to improve our road network, connect more Kenyans to electricity and water, improve the health sector and education facilities as well as revamp the agricultural sector. These are the kind of politics we are engaged in,” said Ruto.

He called upon the youth to enroll in technical training institutions across the country, noting that technical skills were the drivers of the Big Four agenda and Vision 2030.

“We need plumbers, artisans and electricians, among other skills, to drive the country’s economic agenda. Technical skills are important towards our economic growth.”

He was accompanied to Kapseret by MPs Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), Caleb Kositany (Soy), Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), Johana Ng’eno (Emurua Dikir) Daniel Rono (Keiyo South), John Walukhe (Sirisia), Nandi Deputy Governor Yulita Cheruiyot, former Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale and a host of MCAs.

Ruto steered clear of his 2022 presidential ambition, but his brigade accused his critics, including Maina Kamanda (nominated MP) and Youth and Gender Cabinet Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rachel Shebesh, of driving an agenda of negative ethnicity.

Kositany accused Shebesh and Kamanda – who are Jubilee members – of undermining the presidency by campaigning against the party’s candidate in the Kibra by-election.

The DP’s busy weekend schedule was also marked by fundraisers for cooperatives, and the inspection and launch of development projects.

His three-day itinerary saw him traverse the country from the Eastern region, Nairobi to Western and parts of the Rift Valley, where some functions are expected to be concluded today.

Ruto was in West Pokot County on Saturday evening after concluding activities in Funyula, Busia County.

He landed at Sasak AIC in Alale Ward, Kacheliba Constituency, at around 4pm for a fundraiser. He later toured Ng’oyomwo Catholic Church in Sekerr Ward, Sigor Constituency, where he completed his tour by contributing Sh1.5 million to complete construction of the church. 

The DP was received in Sasak by Governor John Lonyangapuo, who said residents were after development-oriented leaders.

There Ruto was accompanied by Teso South MP Geoffrey Omuse, Mark Lomunokol (Kacheliba) and Peter Lochakapong (Sigor) as well as ward reps.

He was scheduled to lay a foundation stone for Kodich Technical Training Institute, but due to time constraints, the activity was moved to today.

According to the DP’s itinerary, he is also expected in Bungoma today to lay a foundation stone for an eight-classroom building at Matili Primary School in Kimilili. He will also open classrooms at Namakhele Primary School.

[Additional reporting by Eric Lungai]