Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga’s lieutenants in Western have told off Deputy President William Ruto over his numerous trips to the region, saying they would not bear him any fruits.
The leaders, who included ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna and nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi, told Mr Ruto that the region is “behind Mr Odinga”.
Mr Sifuna said DP Ruto has no chance in Western “regardless of how many time he comes calling”.
“The people of Western know which leaders have their interests at heart, and it is not Ruto,” he said.
On his part, Mr Osotsi said: “The DP and his cronies should re-evaluate what they are calling inroads in Western after their highly-expensive trips. How many key leaders have they acquired from our side? I think they can only brag of Boni Khalwale … . but then Khalwale defected to Ruto’s Jubilee in a small ceremony in his house in Malinya and not Bukhungu stadium or Muliro gardens where major political declarations are made,” Mr Osotsi said.
He said ODM supporters are simply on “a political go-slow because President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed them to avoid aggressive politics and support their agenda of all-inclusive Kenya and fight against corruption”.
Mr Odinga, while speaking during the burial of ex-Minister Hezron Manduku in Kisii on Friday, told Kenyans not to be preoccupied with 2022 politics at the moment.
“We sat down with Uhuru and decided to lower the political temperatures and unite Kenyans, then other things will come later,” he said.
The DP has been criss-crossing the country popularising his 2022 presidential bid, even though he has often maintained his trips are purely meant for development.
He has visited Western region almost 10 times in the last six months and political pundits say he could be scavenging for a running mate from the region.
Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala and his Vihiga counterpart George Khaniri told Mr Ruto that the region has its leaders who are capable of ascending to the presidency.
Pro-Ruto leaders, including former senator Khalwale, Trans Nzoia Woman Rep Janet Nangabo and Kakamega County aspiring woman representative Khadija Nganyi on Saturday hosted Mr Ruto’s personal assistant Faruk Kibet at Buchenya in Butere, where they urged residents to support the DP’s 2022 presidential bid claiming he is the frontrunner.
“While a presidential candidate from Western can depend on five counties to kick-start his campaigns, Ruto has 15 counties plus a lot of support across the country,” said Dr Khalwale.
Dr Khalwale also challenged poll losers to accept defeat, explaining that he contested the county gubernatorial seat in the last election but lost to Wycliffe Oparanya and accepted the verdict.
“This is the way to go if we have to avoid confrontations after elections,” he said.
Ms Nganyi said Mr Ruto has built roads, schools and electricity in western and deserves appreciation.
She urged Nyanza residents to support a candidate from outside their region. “It’s high time Musalia Mudavadi and Raila Odinga supported William Ruto because he has stood with each one of them in their past campaigns,” said Ms Nganyi.