Musalia, Wetang'ula hopeful Ruto will 'pay back' region in 2032

Speaker of the National Assembly Moses Wetangula and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Western Kenya political bigwigs Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula have hinted that President William Ruto could back a presidential candidate from the region after his anticipated second and final term in 2032.

The leaders, who were speaking in Bungoma during a thanksgiving ceremony for Tongaren MP John Chikati, said this would be realised because the region, perceived to be a Raila Odinga turf, turned around to give Ruto the slightly over 200,000 votes that saw him beat the Azimio leader in the last presidential duel.

“For this reason, we should stick with Ruto through his re-election in 2027 more than we did in the last polls so that the Luhya footprint in his government cannot be ignored as we head to the 2032 elections,” said Mudavadi who doubles as the Prime Cabinet Secretary in Ruto’s Cabinet.

“I take charge of Ruto’s Executive as Wetang’ula steers the Legislature and we are one with my brother Wetang'ula to ensure we reach our target,” he added.

Wetang’ula characterised Ruto as a true friend who would "for sure" return the favour the Mulembe nation gave him in the tightly fought election "at the right time” as he had proved himself by giving the region prime slots in his government.

“Everybody knows the presidential vote was decided in Western and particularly in Bungoma county, and no one can blame us for not backing Raila who is our neighbour. We’d done it more than three times with no success. This time we sat down with Mudavadi and decided to support Ruto and he is a man of his word, he is not a betrayer," said Wetang'ula.

"That is why Musalia is the Prime Cabinet Secretary (PCS), I am the Speaker, Susan Nakhumicha is health CS and many other people in our community are in prime places," he added.

Wetang’ula equally appealed to the region's voters to jealously guard them like other communities guard their kingpins, saying "that way we will ascend to the apex of the national leadership to the disbelief of our detractors."

The duo spoke after four MPs from Ruto’s Rift Valley backyard, Julius Ruto (Kesses, UDA), Julius Sunkuli (Kilgoris, Kanu), Samuel Moroto (Kapenguria, Jubilee) and Elgeyo Marakwet Woman rep Caroline Ngelechei (Independent) said the presidency was ripe for the Luhya nation after Ruto's exit.

The four pointed out that there was nothing unique with the two communities that had held onto the seat away from solidifying themselves behind a single unifying candidate.