Coincidence? Ruto and Raila will be in Gusii region at the same time

President William Ruto and Azimio leader Raila Odinga.

President William Ruto and Azimio leader Raila Odinga. 

Photo credit: Nation Media Group

President William Ruto landed at Gusii stadium, Kisii County on Thursday afternoon for a three-day regional tour that will see him launch some projects and attend the homecoming ceremony of Education CS Ezekiel Machogu. The Head of State will also be in Gusii region at the same time as his political nemesis, Azimio leader Raila Odinga, the Nation has established. 

While Dr Ruto tours the region, Mr Odinga will be a few kilometres away at a burial event for one of his long-time friends.

"It's true, we will be in Kisii tomorrow for a burial," Mr Odinga's spokesman Mr Dennis Onyango confirmed. 

Kisii Senator Richard Onyonka said that Mr Odinga is free to attend the burial while Dr Ruto will continue with his planned function. 

"This is a coincidence. I see no controversy. Both functions will proceed. Mr Odinga will attend Otegi's burial, his late father's friend," said Mr Onyonka. 

Kisii, Nyamira and Migori have been Azimio zones, and political observers are keen to see whether they warm up to the ruling United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party after the tour.

Helb cash

President Ruto is on a three-day working tour of Gusii and Migori counties, his first in the region since taking office last year. After landing in Kisii Thursday, he officially opened the Konza Digital Skills Laboratory at Kisii National Polytechnic.

While at the institution, he announced that the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) had been furnished with funds to last two weeks. This comes a day after the agency told Parliament that some 140,000 students in public universities and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges have missed State loans after it ran out of cash. 

Helb told Parliament on Wednesday that the students will have to wait till the Treasury releases Sh5.7 billion for onward disbursement to them.

But on Thursday, Dr Ruto reassured learners across the country that Helb had received some cash. He also said 2,000 teachers will be hired for TVET colleges. 

Statehouse Spokesperson Hussein Mohamed said the President will inspect and commission several projects in line with the government’s bottom-up economic transformation agenda.

“The President will launch the upgrading of the 33.3 kilometre Gekano-Rigoma-Amabuko Road, the upgrading of Nyabohanse – Kumumwamu Road and Nyaburu-Oboke-Ragwe roads,” said Mr Mohamed in his address to the media at the Kisii National Cereals and Produce Board on Wednesday. Dr Ruto's team was at NCPB because they wanted to witness the distribution of subsidised fertiliser to farmers.

“The President will also hold several meetings with the people and leaders from the region,” he added. 

Former Kisii deputy governor Joash Maangi, who is the chairman of the committee that organised the president's visit, welcomed Dr ruto to Gusii region.