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ODM leader Raila Odinga (top picture) and DP William Ruto (bottom photo) campaign in Nyahururu and Isiolo respectively on October 10, 2021.

Kenya

Ruto and Raila scramble for Mt Kenya support

NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 10 – The supremacy battle for Mt Kenya by Deputy President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga intensified Sunday, as the two presidential aspirants traded barbs on who is likely to have a larger support base from the region in next year’s election.

While Ruto insists that he has been more close to the region due to his numerous visits since 2013 when he was elected in a joint ticket with President Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila has fired back saying has always believed in the region and its people.

Raila climbed the mountain long ago when he said, ‘Kibaki Tosha,” Odinga said in his tour of Nyahururu, “You remember that. I did not look at his tribe but as a Kenyan and that is what I am doing today. It is not that I didn’t know he was a Kikuyu.”

Odinga was responding to Ruto’s Saturday remarks that he is the political supremo of Central Kenya which appear to have a vacuum as President Uhuru Kenyatta’s second and final term in office draws closer.

“Some people have just discovered the mountain. I want to tell them that while they were away, I was in Mt Kenya and I have done a lot of development there,” Ruto said in an apparent reference to Odinga who was hosted two weeks ago by Mt Kenya Foundation tycoons who also met One Kenya Alliance (OKA) leaders Musalia Mudavadi (Amani National Congress), Gideon Moi (KANU), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) and Moses Wetangula of Ford Kenya.

Ruto, Odinga and the OKA leaders have intensified campaigns to succeed President Kenyatta, with latest attempts and meetings said to woe the OKA leaders to back Odinga who analysts see as a formidable candidate to compete with Ruto.

The tycoons said they are meeting presidential candidates to understand their vision for Kenya and their Mt Kenya region.

But Ruto has told them off saying, “vetting presidential aspirants in hotels in Nairobi will not help solve the problems facing Kenyans. The process will not provide a leader for Kenyans because Kenyans know what they want.”

Speaking in Isiolo town, on Sunday, the Deputy President said it is only by embracing the Bottom –Up economic model that problems facing millions of Kenyans can be addressed.

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“UDA, which is associated with the hustler movement is about providing jobs for the youth, cheap credit to small-scale businesspeople and conducive environment. It’s through these among others that lives of majority of Kenyans can be improved,” said Ruto.

He dismissed those who were engaging in boardroom interviews in the pretext that they are the ones with authority on matters of leadership, saying it’s Kenyans who have the final say on the governance of the country.

“As rich individuals continue to look for a leader who will protect their wealth after 2022, we are busy with the ordinary people looking for ways of creating wealth for them so that they can improve their lives,” said Ruto.

At the same time, the Deputy President, asked Kenyans to ignore leaders who were pursuing their own interests at the expense of focusing on pressing issues affecting millions of ordinary citizens.

“As youths, it’s time for you to make informed decisions. There are those who are prioritizing change of Constitution to create positions for few individuals and us in hustler nation who want to create wealth through change of economic model to bring equality among all Kenyans,” said Ruto.

The Deputy President said Jubilee had good plans to transform lives of Kenyans including those in arid and semi arid areas before the handshake replaced the Big Four agenda with change of Constitution, which has since been blocked by courts.

He said once the World Bank implements its resolve to give Sh 100 billion as part of efforts to transform arid and semi arid areas into an economic powerhouse, lives of many people in the region would be improved.

Governor Nanok urged residents in Isiolo to support the Deputy President for the top seat, noting that he has good plans on how to solve the challenges ranging from insecurity, lack of water and poor infrastructure in arid areas among other parts of the country.

“Dr Ruto has good plans on how to solve problems facing the pastoralists.  His development track record is clear. This is why I ask you to elect him as president come 2022,” said Nanok.

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MPs from the region said they would rally their people in supporting the leadership of Dr Ruto ahead of 2022.

Jaldesa told Isiolo residents to be wary of individuals who only toured the area because elections are around the corner.

“We have to stand with our brother Dr Ruto who has been here on several occasions on matters of development. I know we will from now on receive many visitors who have not set foot here in the past to participate on development,” she said.

She added: “We should not be confused by leaders who just want to come here to seek for votes ahead of 2022 yet they were nowhere when we needed them most.”

Gachagua urged pastoralists to support Dr Ruto for presidency, saying he was the only candidate committed to transforming lives of ordinary Kenyans.

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