Deputy President William Ruto has stirred ripples in Kisii after meeting his followers from the region in a strategy to keep his fire burning.
Ruto, who had prior to the coronavirus pandemic made a number of trips to Kisii, hosted a select group of leaders in his residence in Nairobi.
Sources who attended the Thursday meeting explained that it was part of the deputy president's efforts to consolidate his support base in the region in readiness for the 2022 General Election.
South Mugirango MP Silvanus Osoro, who led the delegation, told the Sunday Standard the Kisii leaders visited Ruto in order to strategise on getting the Gusii community to rally behind his campaign and prepare the ground for him prior to the 2022 polls.
Osoro said he was tasked by the team to be the coordinator of Ruto’s activities in Kisii County and that the politicians went there to appreciate the support the DP has offered the community since he was elected to Parliament in 1997 and served as a Cabinet minister.
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“We are certain Ruto is the candidate to beat in the 2022 General Election and that is why very many roadblocks are put on his way, but he will eventually emerge triumphant. That is why we are out to support him to achieve his goals,” said Osoro.
The South Mugirango MP said the leaders present unanimously agreed to rally behind Ruto and to carry out grassroots meetings to convince the people of Kisii as to why they should rally behind the deputy president and not any other candidate in the forthcoming polls.
Bomachoge Chache MP Alpha Miruka said the meeting between the Kisii leaders and Ruto was cordial, with the DP promising to support the community achieve greater development if elected president.
Miruka said the purpose of the meeting was for the leaders to get in touch with the DP, whom they had not met for long due to the challenges posed by Covid-19, which has limited public gatherings and frequent meetings between various people.
"Ruto has been a good friend of the Gusii people, holding many fundraisers for various groups in Kisii and Nyamira counties over the years besides launching many government projects, which have turned the lives of our people for the better,” said Miruka.
Former Kisii mayor Samuel Omwando, who is the Kisii County ODM Party chairman, said he accompanied the leaders at the invitation of the deputy president, adding he went to listen to what agenda the DP has for Gusii people if they were to support him in 2022.
Omwando, who contested the Kitutu Chache South Parliamentary seat on a ODM ticket in 2017 and lost to Richard Onyonka, said the meeting went on well with the DP requesting for their support.
He said he was still doing consultations.
“I am consulting the people of Kitutu Chache South constituency on my next political move. If they tell me to work with Ruto I will do that; if they tell me to work with my party leader Raila Odinga, that is what I shall do. I attended yesterday’s meeting as a Kisii leader,” said Omwando.
Several sources who attended the meeting told the Sunday Standard Ruto assured the Kisii leaders he would ensure all projects started by the Jubilee government in the region, which have stalled, are completed when he becomes president.
They said the DP assured them he will emerge stronger after the current political storm occasioned by the handshake.