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Ex-Raila aide lays ground for Ruto's Nyanza visit

POLITICS
By Harold Odhiambo | June 13th 2021

Deputy President Dr William Ruto at Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Kisumu County on Madaraka Day, June 1, 2021. [Courtesy]

Plans by Deputy President William Ruto to visit ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard have been finalised.

Ruto’s point man in the region and former Raila’s aide Eliud Owalo described the visit as an economic transformation tour.

Owalo who is spearheading the planning and coordination of the visit in July said that they are already in consultations with various stakeholders. 

“The leader of the Hustler Movement; Ruto will make an intensive tour of the four Luo-Nyanza counties in mid-July,” he said.

He revealed that the DP will spearhead economic empowerment programmes for youth and women groups during the tour.

“Consultations with relevant Hustler Nation stakeholders are currently underway and details of the itinerary will be communicated,” said Owalo.

He believes that the plan will give the “hustler team” a launching pad and lead to a paradigm shift in Luo Nyanza politics.

The Standard has established that the DP plans to visit Nyanza counties with his first stop being in Migori then Kisumu.

Ruto's handlers said he will visit several churches and hold small private meetings with leaders, business people, women and youths in the counties.

The DP plans to market his hustler nation narrative and seek support of the region for his 2022 presidential bid.

Deputy President William Ruto with Rev. Caleb Olali (left) and Eliud Owalo at his Sugoi home in Eldoret, Uasin Gichu County. [DPPS]

The second leg of the tour will take Ruto to Homa Bay and Siaya counties.

Yesterday, insiders privy to the developments told The Standard that the DP is hoping to build on the momentum from the Madaraka Day visit to Kisumu where he received a warm welcome to market his presidential bid.

The DP has already assembled 'The Hustler Movement’ coordinating teams’ in the four Luo Nyanza counties to set the ground for his vote-hunting mission scheduled for July.

In the last couple of days, there has been a flurry of activities in Ruto’s camp as his foot soldiers in the region burn the midnight to ensure the visit becomes successful.

The DP's allies have also been hunting for new members in the region.

The team includes politicians and technocrats who have already developed an economic revival plan for Nyanza, which they hope will form part of the basis of their support for Ruto.

It however remains to be seen whether the efforts will bear fruit given that Raila is also mobilizing his troops to consolidate his support base as he braces for a fifth stab at the presidency.

About two weeks ago, the ODM leader rallied residents to take advantage of the continuous voter registration to enlist in their numbers.

He also intervened to save the party from disintegrating after his confidants clashed over BBI.

Deputy President William Ruto with ODM leader Raila Odinga at Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium, Kisumu. June 1, 2021. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

A successful visit by the DP will however send the Orange party back to the drawing board.

In Migori, Governor Okoth Obado has started a campaign against ODM and is said to be warming up to the DP. He is aligning little-known People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to support Ruto’s ambitions.

Leaders Ruto is banking on to sway the Nyanza vote include former Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma and former MPs Dalmas Otieno (Rongo) and Martin Ogindo (Rangwe).

All the three leaders are eyeing political comebacks with Ranguma said to be oiling his campaign machinery to challenge Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o.

Citizen Convention’s Party party leader Grace Akumu has also joined Ruto’s camp.

In Gusii, the DP’s team includes Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi and MPs Joash Nyamoko (North Mugirango), Sylvanus Osoro (South Mugirango), Alpha Miruka (Bomachoge Chache). 

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