Ruto set for two-day tour of Raila's Nyanza stronghold

President Ruto

President William Ruto. 

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

President William Ruto will tomorrow begin a two-day tour Raila Odinga’s Nyanza stronghold, his first this year, beginning with a visit to Homa Bay County.  

While his team has described the tour as a working visit, some observers see it an opportunity to endear himself to a region that did not give him a substantial number of votes in the last General Election.

Dr Ruto will also be visiting Kisumu and Siaya counties where he is expected to launch several projects in line with his administration’s bottom-up agenda that places a premium on economic transformation.

This will be his second tour of the region as President after his first visit in October last year when he made some pledges which he is keen on fulfilling when he comes on Friday.

State House Spokesperson Hussein Mohamed

State House Spokesperson Hussein Mohamed addresses journalists at Kisumu State Lodge on January 12, 2023. 

Photo credit: Tonny Omondi | Nation Media Group

While issuing a brief at the Kisumu State Lodge on Thursday morning, State House Spokesperson Hussein Mohamed stated that Dr Ruto will launch the first phase of the 5,000-unit affordable housing programme in Homa Bay tomorrow. 

“The project is expected to not only alleviate the housing deficit in the county, but also significantly boost the local economy. The project will ultimately cover several towns - Oyugis, Kendu Bay and Mbita,” said Mr Mohamed, adding that materials such as doors, windows and gates will be locally sourced from jua kali artisans to boost Nyanza's economy.

Homa Bay was the first county government to sign the Affordable Housing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in April 2018. The devolved unit has set aside 11.6 acres for the affordable housing project.

“All this is in line with the President’s commitment to reduce the housing gap, which currently stands at two million units. The target is to increase the supply from 50,000 to 200,000, a year,” said Mr Mohamed.  

Cumulatively, the programme has 376 projects in its pipeline as it expects to deliver over 599,000 housing units across the country which are at various stages of development.

Other projects 

Dr Ruto will also launch and inspect other projects in the region, including commissioning the newly completed Homa Bay Municipal Market. Others are the non-motorised transport system from Junction Kodoyo to Makongeni through Homa pier and a fish market which will be funded by the State Department of Housing.

The Head of State will spend Friday night at Kisumu State Lodge before heading to Siaya on Saturday where he will preside over the commissioning of the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST) Blue Economy Research Hub.

He will also be in Rarieda Constituency where he will attend the homecoming party of his ICT and Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary, Mr Eliud Owalo.

To crown his two-day visit, there will be discussions between Dr Ruto and local leaders who he will meet at the State Lodge on Saturday as well as addressing roadside rallies in all the three counties.

There are also reports that Dr Ruto will be attending a church service in Kisumu on Sunday before flying back to Nairobi.

It is not yet clear whether any local leaders allied to Mr Odinga's Azimio la Umoja One Kenya will accompany him on any of his visits.