Celebrations die down in Ruto’s turf as normality resumes

GSU officers deployed at the Sugoi home of President-Elect William Ruto in this picture taken on Tuesday August 16, 2022

GSU officers deployed at the Sugoi home of President-Elect William Ruto in this picture taken on Tuesday August 16, 2022.

Photo credit: Fred Kibor | Nation Media Group

The carnival mood witnessed across the North Rift counties the past two days following the declaration of Dr William Ruto as the President-elect has fizzled out, with locals resuming their normal activities.

In all major towns across the region regarded as Dr Ruto base, normal activities had been disrupted as locals thronged the streets to celebrate his win. Businesses were closed and streets deserted as people converged on specific streets and roads to celebrate.

Soon after Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati declared Dr Ruto the winner, thousands of his supporters poured into his Sugoi home and Eldoret to celebrate for two days in a row, with the mood extending to major towns across the region.

But the excitement died down following Azimio candidate Raila Odinga’s rejection of the results on Tuesday.

A celebration caravan that had been slated to traverse the North Rift counties on Tuesday, with all local leaders scheduled to attend, was put off at the eleventh hour. 

But organisers clarified on Wednesday that the postponement had nothing to do with Mr Odinga’s rejection of the results.

The event had been heavily publicised and the caravan was to begin in Kapsabet, Nandi County, and end in Kapenguria, West Pokot, through Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet and Trans Nzoia.

Uasin Gishu UDA coordinator Paul Kiprop said the thanksgiving caravan was postponed because of the inaugural UDA parliamentary group meeting held at Dr Ruto’s official residence in Karen, Nairobi, on Wednesday.

“The leaders will meet after the Karen meeting and give us a way forward for the celebrations. It was not cancelled because of Mr Odinga’s rejection of the presidential results,” Mr Kiprop clarified.

At Dr Ruto’s home in Sugoi, unlike the past two days when jubilant supporters had overrun the residence, only GSU officers could be seen on Wednesday when Nation.Africa visited, with their numbers considerably increased.

Ms Nancy Jeptoo, a neighbour of the Rutos, said the celebrations ended on Tuesday when people who had thronged the home went back to their homes.

“Normality has returned to the area and today, unlike the past two days, accessing Dr Ruto’s is now a security affair. We have gone back to our daily duties and now that schools are reopening tomorrow (Thursday), we are getting them ready,” she said. 

She was on her way to buy school items for her children.

Ms Jeptoo said people had celebrated enough and they had to go back to their daily duties.

She said the announcement by Mr Odinga that he would challenge the results dampened their hopes for more celebrations.

“But we are ready to celebrate again once the matter has been settled, maybe in court, and Dr Ruto is eventually sworn into office,” she said.

In Eldoret, locals have resumed their normal activities, with Uasin Gishu Police Commander Ayub Gitonga stating that over 90 percent of businesses were operating.

“Normal operations have resumed across the county with human and vehicular movement steadily stabilising. We have begun the scaling down of police officers who had been deployed in various areas and we shall fully withdraw as days go by,” he said.

He said arson attacks reported in parts of Uasin Gishu were not related to tribal animosity. Some of the fires were due to accidents and others were deliberately caused by owners in a fit of rage.

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