UDA has political muscle to win presidency, says Ruto

DP William Ruto with Nyali MP Mohammed Ali during a meeting at Shanzu, Mombasa County, December 19, 2021. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto has reiterated his determination to build a national party instead of tribal and regional outfit.

He said he was already working with 160 MPs nationally, 15 of them from the Coast region, in building the United Democratic Alliance (UDA). He said the party had the necessary political muscle to win the presidential election next year.

“We should not be divided along tribal, regional and village parties. This is why we are building UDA as a national party. We are strong,” Ruto said yesterday in Changamwe, Mombasa County, where he received Mijikenda Kaya elders’ blessings.

The DP was accompanied by MPs Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), Mohamed Ali (Nyali), Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), Owen Baya (Kilifi North), Benjamin Tayari (Kinango) and Feisal Bader (Msambweni).

Ms Jumwa and Mr Mwashetani said Ruto was best placed to tackle historical land injustices that had dogged the region for decades.

The Malindi MP claimed that ODM leader Raila Odinga had abandoned the fight for land reforms. 

“Raila gave us hope when he pursued the issue of historical land injustices at the Coast, and we voted for him overwhelmingly. He had pushed for the implementation of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) report. But we are surprised that after the Handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta, he did not use the opportunity to champion for the implementation of the TJRC report. That is why we have settled for Ruto to address land problems at the Coast,” said Jumwa.

She claimed Raila also failed to tackle land problems while in the Grand Coalition government, when now Siaya Senator James Orengo was Lands minister. “Land was messed up, particularly in Lamu, under Raila’s watch,” Jumwa claimed.

Mwashetani said local UDA leaders had signed a pact with Ruto. “We have a pact with you (Ruto) on economic recovery in Coast and resolving the historical land injustices. We want a specific law to be enacted on historical land injustices once you ascend to power, and we believe you have the interest at heart to resolve our issues,” he said.

The DP said he would put aside Sh100 billion to set up agro-processing plants and housing projects that would create 4 million jobs for youth. He said this would save youth from drug abuse. “Many youth have turned to drug addiction because they cannot find gainful employment,” he said.

Ruto said the UDA government would speed up the development of an industrial park at Dongo Kundu in Mombasa County to create jobs.

“The government will next year commission the expansion of Mombasa-Mtwapa road from Nyali bridge to Kwa Kadzengo into a dual carriageway to boost the Coast economy,” he said.

He added that the government would launch construction of the Sh20 billion Mwache Dam and the second Mzima pipeline projects next year to boost water supply in Mombasa County.