Ruto intensifies county tours to counter protests

President William Ruto, Prime CS Musalia Mudavadi and Minding CS Salim Mvurya arrive for an interfaith service at Mwatunge Grounds in Taita Taveta County, July 23, 2023. [PCS, Standard]

President William Ruto plans to tour the 47 counties in a strategy aimed at connecting with the people to counter protests.

Stung by Azimio leader Raila Odinga's push for demonstrations against the high cost of living, sources say the president will tour of the country to launch government projects.

He will also give policy statements of Kenya Kwanza during the county visits.

This comes after a recent Kenya Kwanza parliamentary group meeting at State House, Nairobi, where the leaders asked the Head of State to rule out handshake with the opposition and instead popularise his government.

Ruto firmly endorsed the resolution, saying the handshake between former President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila personally affected him.

“There will be no handshake. I am one person who knows how costly the handshake was to Kenya and me personally. It can’t happen. The people made a decision on August 9, sending us to the government and our competitors to the opposition,” Ruto told the meeting.

To counter Azimio, the president asked the MPs to embark on a grassroots drive to “protect their constituents’ lives and property.”

The legislators took the president's directive seriously and most of them were in their constituencies, where they urged supporters to be on the lookout for any troublemakers during the days Azimio has called protests, that is on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

In the meeting that brought together governors, senators and MPs, it was agreed that the president should tour the country and articulate the government's agenda to counter the misinformation peddled by Azimio leaders.

"The leaders asked the president to join them across the country in sending the right message about the Kenya Kwanza government and the Plan they have for the people, and the Head of State obliged," said a source.

Ruto has visited Homa Bay, Tharaka Nithi, Kericho, Isiolo, Muranga and Taita Taveta counties.

The Head of State attended the thanksgiving ceremony of Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo in Oriwo village, Homa Bay County, on July 15.

On July 13, Ruto visited Tharaka Nithi County where he commissioned the Chogoria Water Supply Project.

On July 19, the president headed to Kericho where he commissioned Sh1.2 billion Kimugu water project in Duka Moja and a 13-kilometre pipeline expected to produce 13 million litres of water per day.

On Friday, Ruto commissioned the Isiolo-Ruiri (B 103) road while in Murang'a he presided over the launch of Konza Jitume Digital Skills Laboratories at Michuki Technical Training Institute and Mathioya Technical Training Institute.

On Sunday, the president attended an interdenominational prayer service in Taita Taveta.

In the coming months, the president will embark on a grassroots tour to sell his development agenda.

The plan involves informing the people of the government’s plans to lower the cost of living.

Ruto said lawmakers were best placed to connect with their constituents as they had been entrusted with leadership.

Those who attended the State House meeting last week included governors Cecily Mbarire (Embu), Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi), Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Kenneth Lusaka (Bungoma), Fatuma Achani (Kwale) and MPs Silvanus Osoro (South Mugirango), Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu), David Ochieng’ (Ugenya) and Nominated MP Sabina Chege.