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Ruto and Raila trade barbs over flagship projects in hunt for votes

By Stephen Nzioka and Julius Chepkwony | September 22nd 2021


DP William Ruto addresses residents of Kimana town in Kajiado County on September 20, 2021. [Rebecca Nduku/DPPS, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga traded barbs as each took credit for the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

Speaking separately, Ruto criticised those doubting how he will actualise the bottom-up economic model, saying the Jubilee government's electricity connectivity project and Standard Gauge Railway are testament to his ability to deliver.

"I'm standing here to address you as the deputy president. I know what I am saying, if we connected electricity to almost eight million Kenyans and built the Standard Gauge Railway, why would someone ask us how we will actualise the bottom-up economic model?” posed the DP while addressing residents of Emali town in Makueni County, yesterday.

He said his rivals have nothing to offer Kenyans other than changing the Constitution to advance their selfish interests.

“This is why we want to raise the living standards of all Kenyans and not for leaders only,” Ruto said.

But in a rejoinder, Raila said together with former President Kibaki they sat with experts and came up with the Vision 2030 flagship projects, including the Standard Gauge Railway, special economic zones and tourists resort cities.

He regretted that key flagship projects have stalled.

Speaking at the funeral of businessman David Muchai, founder and director of the Mololine Matatu services Limited in Elburgon Molo constituency, yesterday, the ODM leader said the DP now wants to appear like he was behind the projects. 

"Someone is talking like he wants to discover things not knowing they already exist what lacks is implementation," he said.

He maintained that change can only be achieved through unity and not by few individuals who continue to steal from the public pretending to be hustlers.

The DP was addressing residents at various stop overs along Mombasa Road on his way to Nairobi after two days meeting with Ukambani leaders and professionals at Ol Tukai lodge in Amboseli National Park.

They discussed the Ukambani economic blueprint ahead of next year's elections.

At the same time, Ruto received defectors from the Wiper party led Nguu/Masumba ward by-election coordinator James Mbaluka.

Mbaluka vied for Kibwezi West parliamentary seat in 2017 but lost to MP Patrick Musimba.

He accused Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka of advancing selfish political interests at the expense of development in his home turf.

Mbaluka questioned why government projects like Emali-Wote road has stalled.

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga during the burial of David Kibera Muchai, founder Mololine Services at Elburgon in Nakuru on August 21, 2021. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

“We have seen some people join the handshake brigade and they have brought nothing to this region. We have said enough is enough. We have done demonstrations over the Emali-Wote road until we are tired now, we want the DP to assist us in ensuring the dream of having this road tarmacked is realised,” he said.

Machakos Town MP Victor Munyaka blamed Raila for the hard economic times, saying he abandoned the people and joined the government.

“Raila is supposed to be in the opposition watching the government but now he left his role, and we are seeing people suffer due to high fuel prices. When we go back to Parliament we will ensure we address this matter,” he said

The DP was accompanied by Turkana Governor Joseph Nanok, UDA chairman and former Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama, Kitui East MP Nimrod Mbai among other MPs from Kajiado, Meru, Machakos and Makueni counties.

And Raila said his interest is to create cooperation with Mount Kenya that will see issues such as equitable allocation of resources and representation addressed under his presidency.

"I am here to look for partnership and not followers," he said.

He said the leaders support was a sign of goodwill that he has for the region.

"I came to Nakuru and launched my blueprint because Nakuru is the home of Kenya's politics. The journey to uniting Kenyans has started. We will not build this Kenya if we do not unite," he said.

Raila was accompanied by Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, Senator Susan Kihika, Suna East MP Junet Mohammed, Nakuru Woman Representative Liza Chelule and her Nairobi counterpart Esther Passaris.

Raila also said there is need to open forests for harvesting of mature trees.

Kinyanjui who delivered President Uhuru Kenyatta’s message of condolence assured the ODM leader of his support.

The governor admitted that he has never voted for Raila.

"Raila I have never voted for you the six times I have voted. But in the coming year I see that changing," said Kinyanjui.

He predicted that the handshake team will sweep Nakuru come the 2022 elections.

The governor praised Raila for standing with Jubilee Party saying through the Building Bridges Initiative, they learnt who their true friends were.

Kinyanjui said corruption needs to be addressed for the country to prosper.

“If you see many poor people in Kenya, they are victims of institutions that came down because of corruption, research lands were grabbed because of corruption. There is nothing that can be addressed without hitting the bottom line,” he said.

He said poverty should not be created and later come acting as a savior.

Senator Kihika defended UDA, saying the wheelbarrow is just a symbol and not what people will get.

“The symbol is a wheelbarrow that does not mean we are giving a wheelbarrow. As ODM their symbol is oranges, but do they give oranges?” she paused.

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