Ruto begins tour of Western as leaders cite bias in funds sharing

President William Ruto. [AFP]

President William Ruto has arrived in Bungoma for a four-day tour of the Western region.

Excitement has greeted the president’s tour, with a section of local leaders joining cane farmers in urging the president to fulfill his earlier pledges to the people, including reviving the ailing sugar industry.

Ruto is also expected to inspect some newly implemented infrastructural projects and meet local leaders at the newly constructed Bungoma State Lodge.

The projects include the renovated Matulo airstrip and kilometres of roads tarmacked.

The president will lead Kenyans in Madaraka Day celebrations at the newly constructed Masinde Muliro Kanduyi stadium in Bungoma town.

Ruto landed at the Matulo airstrip in Webuye where he was received by local leaders before proceeding for dinner at the Bungoma State Lodge.

Addressing locals at the airstrip, the president said no part of the nation would be left out of his development programme.

“Bungoma is a bread basket and I will keep supporting the farmers from the region with subsidised farm inputs, like I am already doing, so that the cost of flour goes down,” said Ruto during the official opening of Webuye West Technical and Vocational College, Machakha.

He challenged the locals to encourage their children to take up technical courses as there was a gap in the market.

He donated 100 computers to the college where locals will be allowed to learn computer basics after 4pm to  become computer literate.

Ruto also announced that his government was on course to connect over 600,000 individuals, especially in rural areas, to the power grid in the last mile connectivity programme.

Speaker of National Assembly Moses Wetang’ula urged locals to turn up in large numbers at the stadium tomorrow to mark Madaraka Day.

Wetang’ula lauded the president’s move to hold the Madaraka event in Bungoma saying it would boost national cohesion and integration.

Ruto is once again focusing on the Western Region, where his two trusted lieutenants, Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi and Wetang’ula, are facing resistance from a section of local politicians, including MPs and some governors.

The leaders continue to remind them to advocate for their pre-election pact of securing 30 per cent of the benefits from the Ruto’s administration.

Bumula MP Jack Wamboka (DAP-K) has criticized the duo for their statements implying that Western Kenya is benefiting from the government.

“Our people are struggling economically, questioning why Kikuyu constituency received Sh1.2 billion for roads, more than Busia, Vihiga, Kakamega, Bungoma, and Trans Nzoia combined. How can we claim to be in government when our own regions are neglected?” Wamboka questioned.

Wamboka, along with other bold lawmakers, confronted the president during his visit to Bungoma in February, rejecting his proposal to lease five state-owned sugar mills, including Nzoia Sugar.

The leaders insisted that the president fulfills his pre-election promise to provide a new crushing machine for the factory established in 1978 and appoint a new board, similar to what former president Kibaki did, to restore its profitability rather than leasing it out for 30 years.

Vihiga senator Godfrey Osotsi has also piled pressure on Wetang’ula and Musalia, urging them to demand the 30 per cent share they were promised.

But Sirisia MP John Waluke (Jubilee) argued that the region has benefited significantly from the Kenya Kwanza regime.

“We need to assess  development projects objectively,” he said.

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