Anti-Ruto protests break out in Kisii town ahead of DP's visit

Anti-Ruto protests in Kisii

What you need to know:

  • Protests have broken out in Kisii town ahead of Deputy President William Ruto’s visit today.
  • The protests have been staged by a pro-handshake team but the DP’s supporters have come out to counter.

Protests have broken out in Kisii town ahead of Deputy President William Ruto’s visit today.

The protests have been staged by a pro-handshake team, but the DP’s supporters have come out to counter.

Dr Ruto is Thursday expected to visit Kisii County as the Gusii vote continues to attract the interest of politicians eyeing the country’s top seat in the 2022 General Election.

The visit comes two days after the DP hosted another consultative meeting with a section of elected leaders from the region, at his Karen residence in Nairobi on Monday.

Police officers seek to restore calm in Kisii town after morning protests by people opposed to a visit by DP William Ruto.

Photo credit: Ruth Mbula | Nation Media Group

The DP will be hosted by his point men in the region -Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi and South Mugirango Member of Parliament Silvanus Osoro. The two led the Kisii delegation that met the DP on Monday.

This was the fourth time DP Ruto was hosting a delegation from Gusii this year alone. He has also visited the region twice.

Scheduled another meeting

Sources said the DP has scheduled another meeting with Gusii leaders later next month.

As the DP intensifies his presidential campaigns, supporters of his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta, are also fighting for control of the region.

The protests are being organised by pro-handshake team, but DP Ruto's supporters have come out to counter.

Photo credit: Ruth Mbula | Nation Media Group

There has also been growing interest around Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i amid a push to have him run for the presidency in 2022.

On Thursday, the DP is expected to meet boda boda riders in Kisii town before moving to South Mugirango constituency for a meeting with women groups.

During the Monday meeting, DP Ruto hosted some current and former Members of the Kisii County Assembly (MCAs), youth leaders and bloggers.

Deputy President William Ruto supporters countering protests against the DP in Kisii Town on September 9, 2020.

Photo credit: Ruth Mbula | Nation Media Group

Mr Maangi told Nation that Monday’s meeting was part of a plan by the DP to win the support of the over 1.5 million voters in Gusiiland, which is made up of Kisii and Nyamira counties.

“The meeting at the DP’s official Karen residence was for ground mobilisers—MCAs- and the DP plans to camp in the region,” said Mr Maangi.

“The MCAs have often accompanied MPs in previous meetings and complained of being overshadowed. This was meant to give them an audience."

In January this year, a delegation from Gusii visited Dr Ruto’s home in an apparent effort to pledge their loyalty. The delegation included politicians, professionals and grassroots leaders.

Expanding his support base

Sources indicated that the quick move by Dr Ruto was aimed at expanding his support base after ODM leader and his political nemesis, Raila Odinga, and Interior CS Fred Matiang’i led a powerful group to assert BBI’s mission in Gusii.

Mr Maangi, who is Dr Ruto’s point man in Gusii region, MPs Joash Nyamoko (North Mugirango), Shadrack Mose (Kitutu Masaba), Vincent Kemosi (West Mugirango), Mr Osoro (South
Mugirango), Alpha Miruka (Bomachoge Chache) and nominated senator Millicent Omanga (Nairobi) attended the meeting.

In July, Kisii ODM chairman Samwel Omwando was in a group that paid the DP a courtesy call in his Karen residence and declared that they would campaign for him in the 2022 presidential election.

The DP met about 60 opinion and political leaders from Kisii county. The delegation, organised by Mr Osoro, was described as ‘inter-parties meeting’ and it led to the formation of the grouping ‘DP’s Foot Soldiers’.

More pro-Ruto supporters who came out to counter the protests.

Photo credit: Ruth Mbula | Nation Media Group

In August, Dr Ruto hosted another delegation of 10 civic leaders from Nyamira County at his Karen residence, a week after meeting another team from Kisii County.

As the DP held his meeting, another group of 25 MCAs allied to Dr Matiang’i, who is President Kenyatta’s point man in Gusii, congregated in a parallel gathering in Nakuru.

Each group claimed to represent the government and that their mission was to discuss development on behalf of their people.

Those at Ruto’s Karen meeting included Mr Mose, Mr Nyamoko and Mr Kemosi. There were also about 10 MCAs.

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