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DP Ruto visited Meru on Saturday in the company of Senator Mithika Linturi and a host of local leaders/DPPS

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DP Ruto makes extensive Meru tour as State-imposed gag eases

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 18 – Deputy President William Ruto made an extensive tour of Meru County on Saturday hosted by Senator Mithika Linturi, days after the police cleared his Nyamira fundraiser suspended over concerns on breach of peace.

Ruto made the Meru tour two days after he visited Nyamira and held a series of events including leading a fundraiser for a boda boda sacco in Nyamira.

The Nyamira meeting initially slated for October 8 was disallowed by the police forcing Ruto to abandon the tour he was scheduled to make after attending a Cabinet meeting which adopted resolutions of the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC), requiring political leaders to seek clearance from the police three days prior to holding the meetings.

Subsequent to that, Ruto’s fundraiser in Mumias East was disallowed while his allies campaigning for an independent candidate he has declared support for in the December 15 Msambweni parliamentary by election were denied access to a campaign venue.

Former Senators Johnstone Muthama, Omar Hassan and Boni Khalwale – all known allies of the Deputy President – were stopped from accessing Diani Beach Hotel, the venue of their planned meeting on October 9.

During his meetings in Meru on Saturday, Ruto urged leaders to prioritize the needs of ordinary people amid constitutional amendment talks. 

He said it would be unfair to focus on the needs of a few leaders over those of millions of Kenyans living in poverty.

Dr Ruto said talks about the creation of leadership positions should play second fiddle to the needs of the people. 

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“There are those who want us not to talk about the needs of ordinary people. But we will not stop. We must change our leadership approach to be heavy on the lower part of the wealth pyramid,” he said.  

The Deputy President said it was time Kenyans moved away from tribal politics and instead focus on empowerment initiatives that would transform their lives. 

He asked leaders to direct their energy on addressing the various challenges affecting ordinary citizens 

“This time round, they should not tell us about tribes; they should tell us about the needs of ordinary Kenyans,” argued Dr Ruto.

The Deputy President spoke in Igembe South and Tigania West Constituencies in Meru County where he inspected various development projects and led several empowerment programmes.

Present were MPs Mithika Linturi (Meru), John Paul Mwirigi (Igembe South), Gichunge Kabeabea (Tigania East), John Mutunga (Tigania West), Rindikiri Mugambi (Buuri), Raheem Dawood (North Imenti), Beatrice Nkatha (Tharaka Nithi), Rehema Jaldesa (Woman Rep, Isiolo) and Cecily Mbarire (Nominated).

Others were Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), Lydiah Haika (Taita Taveta), Mary Seneta (nominated), Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Nimrod Mbai (Kitui East), Kimani Ichungwa (Kikuyu), George Theuri (Embakasi West) and Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira).

At the same time, the Deputy President said the Government was working on addressing the challenges facing miraa farmers. 

“This is a cash crop like any other that can transform our economy; we must rally behind the farmers and address the problems they undergo so as to up their revenues,” he said. 

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He said the government had set aside Sh1 billion for the construction of roads in Maua, which would help accelerate the movement of goods and services in the region.

Ichungwa said today’s politics is about the empowerment of ordinary Kenyans, devoid of tribalism and ethnicity.

He dismissed those demonising the hustler movement, saying they were pro-status quo.

“Our narrative is not poor versus the rich. It is about the empowerment of the poor; a movement of those who are enterprising against those who are entitled,” the Kikuyu MP explained.

Kuria asked those opposed to Dr Ruto’s empowerment programmes to challenge him by initiating better projects instead of empty talk.

He said: ” If Dr Ruto’s approach of giving wheelbarrows is wrong, give out cars instead.”

On his part, Linturi called on leaders not to derail the development agenda of the country due to competitive politics.

He noted that the country’s political path had changed to issues and development track record rather than ethnicity and hatred.

“Let us compete on ideas that would better the lives of Kenyans rather than engaging in stale politics that is heavy on dividing the country,” he argued.

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While pledging their support to Dr Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid, the leaders said no one would deny Kenyans their democratic right of voting for a leader of their choice.

Rigathi faulted leaders claiming to have made a decision on behalf of the people of Mt Kenya. 

“Anyone with an identification card is able to make their own decision,” he noted

His sentiments were echoed by Mbarire who said it is time we changed the conversation in our country with a renewed focus on the empowerment of the ordinary people. 

“A reconfiguration of our leadership approach from top-bottom to bottom-up will stimulate our economy and empower everyone,” said Mbarire.

Jumwa said they would not retreat from pushing for a change in Kenya’s leadership.

“Let them keep talking about BBI and political positions. Most Kenyans are not interested at that. We are after the fight against poverty,” she added.

Dr Mutunga and Kabeabea said Mt Kenya would back Dr Ruto in 2022, threats and intimidations against him notwithstanding.

“He is our choice. He is the man who would make us have a better life,” explained Dr Mutunga.

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