A project here, a prayer there at President Ruto’s thanksgiving services
President William Ruto will attend a thanksgiving service in Narok today, the sixteenth Sunday service held in different counties since he took office on September 13, 2022.
A Sunday Nation Newsplex analysis shows that since being sworn in, the President’s visits to regions that overwhelmingly voted for opposition Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition leader Raila Odinga have been dominated by development projects, compared to his strongholds.
His nationwide tours have seen the President launch more projects in Nyanza and the Coast than his strongholds of Rift Valley and Mt Kenya, which have been largely dominated by church services and thanksgiving events.
Save for three times when he launched projects, Dr Ruto’s 13 visits to the 10 Mt Kenya counties have involved church services, retreats and passing out parades of security officers.
The President attended only three religious functions out of his 13 visits to Nyanza, Coast and Western.
Tharaka-Nithi, Murang’a, Kiambu, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Nyandarua, Embu, Meru and Nakuru counties gave Dr Ruto nearly three million votes in the August 9 election.
Together with the North and South Rift counties, the regions gave him 4.5 million votes, which translated to 63 per cent of his total votes.
Serve all equally
“I will not let you down even if a majority of you did not vote for me. As the President of Kenya, I will not look at the ethnic community or party but will strive to serve all equally,” President Ruto said during the launch of a low-cost housing project in Homa Bay early this month.
He launched his first project as President in Kwale on November 18 when he was the chief guest at the opening of the Devki integrated steel plant.
President Ruto toured the port of Mombasa and met partners and potential investors of the Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone at State House, Mombasa on the same day.
His tour of the Coast continued with the launch of the Mtwapa-Kwa Kadzengo-Kilifi Road.
In Western, Dr Ruto made his first visit to Kakamega County where he commissioned the Kakamega Airstrip, inspected the County Teaching and Referral Hospital and met Western Kenya leaders at the State Lodge.
The President toured the expansive Galana Kulalu National Food Security Project in Tana River County on January 3.
Ten days later, he was in Mr Odinga’s backyard to launch the affordable housing project in Homa Bay town, attended the opening of the municipal market and toured the Pier fish market in the same town.
He inspected the construction of the Wagon ferry at Kisumu port on January 14.
President Ruto commissioned a Blue Economy Research Hub at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology in Siaya County on the same day.
He had been invited to the thanksgiving service of ICT and Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo.
The three religious functions he attended were at the African Inland Church in Homa Bay on October 2, New Year’s Eve celebrations at State House, Mombasa, and a service at Siloam Ministry Church in Bamburi the following day.
Kenya Kwanza PG
The President’s first engagement in Mt Kenya was three days after his swearing-in.
He attended the Kenya Kwanza Coalition Parliamentary Group meeting in Nakuru.
Dr Ruto was at the burial of Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s brother in Nyeri County on October 4.
He was in Nanyuki, Laikipia County, for the Kenya Defence Forces Day celebrations 10 days later.
When he returned to the region on October 30, it was for an inter-denominational church service in Kenol town, Murang’a.
President Ruto presided over the passing out parade of recruits at the Prisons Staff Training College, Kiambu County, on December 2.
A Kenya Kwanza lawmakers caucus at Windsor Golf Hotel and County Club on December 5 would be the next time he visited Kiambu.
A day before the caucus, President Ruto was at the University of Embu for yet another inter-denominational prayer service.
He would be at Wanjohi Primary School in Kipipiri, Nyandarua County, for a church service a week later.
The President’s first engagement in the region this year was a Cabinet retreat in Nyeri from January 5 to 8 where high-level officials met to discuss the government’s plan for the year.
On the last day of the retreat, Dr Ruto went for a church service at Nanyuki stadium in neighbouring Laikipia County.
He would return to Nyeri for the passing out parade of officers at Kiganjo Police College two days later.
The President’s latest visit to the region was last Sunday when he graced a service at Kerugoya stadium in Kirinyaga.
Dr Ruto would be back in Kiambu to lay the foundation stone for Ruiru affordable housing project on January 19.
His first project in Mt Kenya was on October 15 when he launched the Thiba dam in Kirinyaga.
More than a month later, on November 28, he attended the opening of the Twiga Foods Distribution Centre in Ruiru, Kiambu County.
Former Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu said the failure of Mt Kenya leaders to lobby for projects like their Nyanza colleagues is hurting the region.
“These (Nyanza) people know the campaigns and General Election is over. They admit that there is no ongoing political contest and rally behind each other for development,” Mr Wambugu said.
The former lawmaker urged Mt Kenya leaders to unite in articulating matters that need the attention of President Ruto.
During his visit to Homa Bay County early in the month, the President and his deputy held a two-hour closed-door meeting with Nyanza leaders at Tom Mboya University.
After the meeting, Dr Ruto and Mr Gachagua said the government has lined up several projects for the region.
“Now that campaigns and politics are behind us, I am ready to work with the leaders. It is time to develop the country,” the President said.
The Rift Valley counties of Baringo, Bomet, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kericho, Nandi, West Pokot and Uasin Gishu collectively gave Dr Ruto 1,602,807 votes.
The President has not launched any development project in the seven counties.
But he has announced an array of projects in the region – either in the pipeline or awaiting completion – after having been commissioned by the Uhuru Kenyatta administration.
Dr Ruto’s first visit to the region was on October 16 when he attended a church service at Kericho Green stadium.
He returned for another service in Baringo County on November 13.
President Ruto went back to the county for the annual goat auction and cultural fair on December 22.
He celebrated Christmas at his home in Sugoi, Uasin Gishu County, donating food to children’s homes. The President attended a church service in Eldoret on Christmas Day.
His first visit to the region this year was in Bomet for a service.