What you need to know:
- The meeting established a four-member Mt Kenya economic revival committee and a three-member agriculture and livestock committee.
Deputy President William Ruto and his allies in Mt Kenya have agreed to develop a framework of engagement aimed at empowering residents if he is elected President in next year’s General Election.
The talks will start at the grassroots and will involve farmers, entrepreneurs, traders, cooperatives, other producer and business associations in the agricultural sector.
In a joint statement issued after a three-day meeting at the Maasai Game Reserve, the team on Sunday promised Mt Kenya residents that the engagement will be people-driven.
“We will tap into the huge reservoir of knowledge, talent and expertise available to inform our policy process with knowledge that is grounded in our economic reality,” the team said.
In an open dig at President Uhuru Kenyatta, Dr Ruto’s allies accused the Jubilee administration of frustrating the region’s economy.
They assured residents that they stand to benefit should Dr Ruto become President next year.
The retreat was a product of a meeting that took place at Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua’s home last week in which MPs, senators and governors resolved to have open talks with the DP.
At the meeting, which Mr Gachagua said was attended by 62 leaders, a decision was taken to establish teams to negotiate with the DP. These comprise an 11-member committee whose mandate was to lead overall negotiations with the DP on his programmes for the region.
They also established a four-member Mt Kenya economic revival committee and the three-member agriculture and livestock committee, which was to lead the negotiations on matters to do with the sector.
It is these groups that Dr Ruto hosted at the Mara from Friday until Sunday.
At the meeting, the DP’s economic advisers briefed the leaders on policy interventions his regime would institute to revive the region’s economy.
In their statement, the two sides said critical to the talks was the empowerment of small businesses, increasing farmers’ earnings and creating an enabling environment that rewards hard work, nurtures creativity and promotes initiative for everyone to prosper.
The talks will culminate in a national economic charter that embodies aspirations of, and the group’s commitments to Kenyans at the grassroots, especially the poor.
Dr Ruto, a wealthy man by any standard, has fashioned himself as a “hustler”to endear himself to the voters in the low cadres of the economy.
The group said the engagement will progressively cover all counties, regions and sectors of the economy.
Similar engagements have been planned with other regions across the country.
“This is a journey we must start now. It is a mission to bring on board Kenyans at the bottom of the pyramid and those pushed to the fringes on to an economic train that will guarantee upward mobility for everyone.”
Mr Kenyatta’s allies from the region have laughed off the plan, saying, it is a strategy is driven by selfish interests
Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu said the leaders who met the DP do not represent the region.