Eyes on 2027 as Ruto visits Mt Kenya, brands Raila main competitor

Ruto Mt Kenya Tour

President William Ruto greets Pastor Dorcas Rigathi at Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri ahead of a thanksgiving service on August 6, 2023. 

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

President William Ruto's Mt Kenya tour, which started on Saturday, August 5 and ends on Wednesday, has turned out to be his second term re-election campaign where he has ‘picked’ Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition boss Raila Odinga as his main rival.

While addressing the public on the first and second day of his tour, his entourage made it clear that the agenda was to launch President Ruto's second term bid.

"We want to make it very clear that this is our President who was elected in broad daylight and in accordance with our legal institutions... He is the one we in the Mountain support now, in 2027 and beyond," Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said.

Together with National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung'wa and Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, they led other elected leaders from the region to make it clear that their common enemy was Mr Odinga.

They referred to him as "Kîmùndù kîu", loosely translated as "that flawed person", and declared that he would not be allowed to enjoy the comforts of government.

"He will not be accommodated in our government, he is working overtime to enter the government through the back door and we assure our President that we will continue to guard him for the next 10 years," said Mr Ichung'wa.

The president announced in Kirinyaga County that "I now have only one task left, to take this man to Bondo", a slang term used to declare his intention to end Mr Odinga's political career through retirement.

At 79, Mr Odinga will be 84 by the time of the 2027 general election, and should he contest for a sixth time and miss it, he will be 90 by the next election in 2032.

Ruto Mt Kenya Tour

President William Ruto accompanied by other leaders at Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri for a thanksgiving service on August 6, 2023. 

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

In Karatina town, Mr Gachagua announced: "We are here to install this man as our President and escort him to Sagana State Lodge which will serve as his home for the next 10 years."

Governors Kimani wa Matangi (Kiambu), Irungu Kang'ata (Murang'a), Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga) and Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri), who are co-hosting the tour with Mr Gachagua, have all pledged to help the President win a second term in 2027.

Uhuru projects

To add value to his campaigns, President Ruto has chosen former President Uhuru Kenyatta's legacy projects as a venue to project himself as development conscious.

Similar to his presidential campaigns, which he launched immediately after becoming Deputy President in 2013, he now seems to be following the same script of using existing projects to curry favour.

While between 2018 and 2022 he capitalised on portraying the then Mt Kenya kingpin - Uhuru Kenyatta - as negligent for not developing the region, many are now wondering why he is commissioning the very projects the former president initiated.

Smarting from what she described as deceit and injustice against the former president, his ally and blogger Pauline Njoroge issued a statement warning the mountain people that President Ruto may soon commission the Thika Superhighway, which was completed by the Mwai Kibaki regime.

"He started by commissioning Githurai market in Ruiru Sub County which Mr Kenyatta did between 2019 and 2022 at a cost of Sh827.17 million, then the Sh1.2 billion Githurai water supply project which started in March 2020 and was completed in November 2021," Ms Njoroge cautioned.

She added that the President will also inaugurate the World Bank-funded Sh230 million Naromoru Level Four Hospital which was completed in 2021 and commissioned by Mr Kenyatta in July 2022 when he donated Sh300 million in equipment.

The President also commissioned the Sh1.4 billion Kirinyaga bulk water supply project, which started in 2018 and was completed in 2022.

During his visit to Murang'a County on July 21, the president commissioned projects such as porridge for nursery school children as well as backstreet roads funded by the county government.