Inside President Ruto’s meeting with Nyanza ODM MPs

President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua with some Members of Parliament from Nyanza at State House, Nairobi, on February 10.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

President William Ruto’s extensive tour of Luo Nyanza dominated the conversation when he hosted some Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) MPs at State House, Nairobi, on Tuesday afternoon.

President Ruto met Dr Gideon Ochanda (Bondo), Caroli Omondi (Suba South), Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), Paul Abuor (Rongo), Felix Odiwuor ‘Jalang’o (Lang’ata), Mark Nyamita (Uriri) and Kisumu Senator Prof Tom Ojienda.

Also present were ICT and Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo and Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo.

Writing on his official Twitter handle, President Ruto said he intends to work with all leaders regardless of party, tribe or region.

“We will work with leaders across the country without reservation or discrimination regardless of political affiliation to deliver services to the people. This is what the Constitution demands and what all Kenyans deserve,” said Dr Ruto.

He did not go into details of the meeting with the MPs from Azimio leader Raila Odinga’s turf.

The meeting comes ahead of the President’s planned tour of Homa Bay and Siaya counties next week.

The Head of State is expected to be in Suba South and Karachuonyo constituencies on July 23 and later in Mr Odinga’s backyard of Gem and Bondo on July 24.

He will be hosted by Mr Omondi in Suba and later proceed to Oriwo Boys High School to grace the thanksgiving ceremony of Interior PS Omollo.

Dr Omollo’s event was scheduled for July 15 but has been rescheduled to July 23, according to Mr Omondi.

Road projects

“The President will be in Suba South to commission various road projects, new administrative units and ICT projects, among others. The road and ICT projects will form the basis of his tour which will cover both Suba South and North constituencies comprising of Rusinga, Mfangano, Mbita and Karaungu,” said Mr Omondi.

He will spend the night at Kisumu State Lodge where he will meet a number of guests and elected leaders.

The following day, he will be hosted by Mr Odhiambo in Gem and Dr Ochanda in Bondo, where he is expected to launch several projects.

The visit was confirmed by Dr Ochanda, who is the chairman of the team that decided to work with the President, Mr Omondi, Mr Odhiambo and other local leaders.

They said the State House meeting was purely to plan for Dr Ruto’s visit and also to follow up on the status of development projects they have been pushing for in their constituencies.

“It was a normal development meeting between us and the President and of course his possibility of coming to the region. We looked at the progress of some projects and what should be done to fast-track them,” said Dr Ochanda.

He told the ‘Nation’ that some of the projects he discussed with the President include the completion of the Kisian-Usenge-Osieko road, the tarmacking of the Odongo-Uhanya road, which was tendered five years ago, and the Bondo-Lihanda road.

Read: Fight for Gusii land: Ruto moves to snatch Kisii from Raila’s grip ahead of 2027 polls

He also raised concerns about the under-utilisation of the Yala Swamp, the exploitation of fisheries potential and a permanent solution to the harassment of fishermen and their safety.

Mr Odhiambo said the President would present some cheques and also launch development projects in his Gem constituency.


“We are planning to welcome him to Gem where he will commission some projects including the construction of the Gamba Technical Training Institute,” said Mr Odhiambo.

Mr Owalo and Dr Omollo, however, were tight-lipped about the deliberations, preferring to make it clear that it was about development.

According to Mr Owalo, the meeting focused on the development of the Lake region, while the Interior PS said they assessed the ministerial and overall progress made by President Ruto’s administration to improve living standards through a people-centred approach to service delivery.

“To fully realise the government’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda for a better life, there is need to consolidate efforts and support development policies and projects across the country,” said Dr Omollo.

Mr Silas Jakakimba, a former Raila aide turned Ruto ally, said the region is ready to welcome the President.

“We welcome President William Ruto to tour Kavirondo Belt/Nyanza region next week. In the same vein, we are fully aligned and supportive of his government’s development agenda for the Lake region. Machiegni, Mr President,” said Mr Jakakimba.

Political affairs

The President’s tour will, however, run parallel to Mr Odinga’s ODM events, which the party’s director for political affairs Opiyo Wandayi said had nothing to do with the Head of State’s visit.

However, President Ruto’s meeting with the rebel MPs at a time when the opposition has announced the resumption of public rallies, demos and civil disobedience has raised questions as to whether it is a mere coincidence.

Mr Wandayi said ODM has planned a series of rallies in the area, a continuation of their recent tours of Kabondo Kasipul, Gem and Nyatike constituencies.

He said a meeting of ward officials from Ugunja constituency and public engagement at Asango trading centre, presided over by Mr Odinga, was part of their elaborate plans to meet their supporters in the region.

“On July 15, we will meet our party delegates from Kisumu East constituency and hold a public engagement at Nyamasaria-Mowlem bus park before heading to Suna West constituency for a similar event on August 5, 2023,” Mr Wandayi said.

On Saturday, August 12, the ODM brigade will head to Nyando constituency for a meeting with party delegates from the ward level before holding a public engagement at Othoo.

“These are our meetings and they have nothing to do with what our colleagues from the other side are planning. This is our stronghold and we have the right to meet and talk to our people at any time,” Mr Wandayi said.

He noted that Mr Odinga, as the leader of the ODM party, reserves the right to attend their meetings whenever he sees fit.