William Ruto moves to consolidate vote-rich North Rift bloc

Kenya Kwanza presidential candidate Willam Ruto campaign at his home ground Kessess in Uasin Gishu County on July 25, 2022. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

Less than two weeks remain before the August 9 General Election, and Deputy President William Ruto is camping in his North Rift backyard to consolidate support.

Ruto visited constituencies with strong Independent candidates, convincing residents to rally behind UDA candidates. He was accompanied by UDA candidates for various elective seats as he traversed Nandi, Uasin Gishu and West Pokot counties.

The DP exuded confidence in winning the elections, thanking nomination losers for their decision to back UDA candidates. 

His first stop was in Nandi Hills, MP Alfred Keter’s constituency, before heading to the neighbouring Kesses constituency of Dr Swarrup Mishra and Silas Tiren’s Moiben. Dr Mishra, Keter and Tiren will be running as independent candidates to defend their seats and face off with UDA candidates Benard Kitur, Julius Rutto and Prof Phyllis Bartoo respectively.

Addressing a rally in Nandi hills, Ruto urged residents to turn up in large numbers and vote for leaders supporting his bottom-up economic model. He said his former allies from the region had turned against him despite supporting them in the 2017 election. 

Presidential debate

The Kenya Kwanza leaders also used the platforms to challenge Raila Odinga, the presidential candidate of Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya, to attend the presidential debate today. The DP called Raila’s decision to skip the debate “lacking a plan for Kenya”.

“I want to confirm that I will be at the presidential debate, and urge my counterpart Raila Odinga to also present himself for public scrutiny,” he said. Ruto criticised Raila for campaigning in West Pokot county while he was not present to assist the locals during hard times.

Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro praised UDA presidential running mate Rigathi Gachagua for his performance during the running mates debate, which he said had scared Azimio. The Kenya Kwanza leaders called for a six-piece voting pattern in the region. 

[Report by Edward Kosut, Evans Kipkura and Irissheel Shanzu]