Ruto Western Tour

President William Ruto during a working tour to Emuhaya Constituency, Vihiga County on Tuesday, August 29. 

| Courtesy | PCS

Luhya leaders: Ruto has promised to back us for presidency in 2032

An alleged pact between president William Ruto and Western region leaders to back one of their own at the end of his second term in 2032 has stirred a hornet’s nest in Kenya Kwanza Alliance.

The 2032 succession talk triggered by Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale seems not to sit well with some leaders in the ruling alliance, who feel it is premature to discuss president Ruto succession, barely a year in office.

With Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua hoping to succeed his boss, the alleged pact brought to light by Dr Khalwale could only stir the political waters in the coalition.

Western region leaders believe Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi and National Assembly speaker Moses Wetang’ula are better placed to fight for the Kenya Kwanza alliance flag and would be at a vantage point to win election with president Ruto’s support.

Dr Khalwale who had initially protested ahead of president Ruto’s recent tour of the region, on the exclusion of Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula from a State House visit spearheaded by UDA Secretary General Cleophas Malala, disclosed that during their discussions with the president,  Dr Ruto promised to back a member from the Mulembe community to succeed him when his time expires.

“We asked our people to support William Ruto because we knew he would bring development to this region and he holds the key to a Luhya president. We expect this by 2032,” said Dr Khalwale.

He alluded to a meeting between the president and a section of leaders from the region during his recent five-day tour of the area, where Dr Ruto reportedly made the promise.

A delegation of leaders drawn from Western region pose for a picture with President William Ruto at State House in Nairobi on August 19, 2023.

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But the statement seems to have not gone down well with other Kenya Kwanza legislators, who have poured cold water on the sentiments by Dr Khalwale.

The statement could also amplify the cold war between Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi, both who are touted as president Ruto’s possible successors.

Nandi Senator Samson Cheragei and Mathira MP Eric Wamumbi dismissed Dr Khalwale’s statement, arguing that the president was not keen on his succession, barely one year in office.

The legislators pointed out that president Ruto is committed to turning around the country’s economy and delivering on his pre-election pledges, and cannot be held back by succession politics at the moment.

“This is not the period for politicking. Let’s give President Ruto a chance to deliver. Those discussing future arrangements are just being mischievous,” Mr Cherargei told Nation.

He said leaders should be more concerned with development of the country instead of politics, adding that 2027 and 2032 politics will be about numbers and not just talks.

“At this point in time we are aware we have a Deputy President who is also helping the president deliver his programs and numbers will become key in any succession arrangement.”

“For now the President’s mind is singularly focused on delivering for Kenyans and is not interested in any political patronage and agenda,” the Nandi Senator added.

He noted that the only guarantee for Kenya Kwanza to win future elections is ability to deliver to Kenyans and not through “gossip and pedestrian talk.”

President William Ruto with Cotu boss Francis Atwoli

President William Ruto with Cotu boss Francis Atwoli (left), Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu  Namwamba (second left) and Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi during a meeting with Western Kenya leaders at Kakamega State Lodge.

Photo credit: Courtesy | PCS

Mr Wamumbi cautioned that leaders should not focus on the “next election but next generation,” through proper service delivery.

“2032 is quite too far to focus on and as leaders from Mt Kenya we are concerned with economic empowerment of our people, how to increase our roads in terms of kilometres tarmacked and how we can revive the economy,” the Mathira MP said.

Mr Wamumbi who is DP Gachagua’s MP said the people of Western region can discuss 2032 but that will “only come with how much shares they will invest in 2027.”

“The Deputy President has said that he has no business leading economically unempowered people and that's why we are focusing on service delivery to the people first before issues of election can come in,” the MP told Nation.

Western Kenya leaders are reportedly rallying behind Mr Mudavadi as president Ruto’s successor in 2032, while Mt Kenya region bets on DP Gachagua.

Dr Khalwale said the president has already picked a team of people to help him consolidate his Western command for 2027 as he prepares the region to succeed him in 2032.

The political leadership from the region led by governors Paul Otuoma (Busia), Fernandes Barasa (Kakamega), Kenneth Lusaka (Bungoma) and Wilbur Ottichilo (Vihiga) accompanied the President during his recent tour in the region promising to support him and his bottom-up transformative agenda.

“Kenyans are looking at us as their leaders to make their life better. The recovery of our economy does not know the political differences we have as Azimio or Kenya Kwanza. We shall, therefore, back the President and help him lead the nation into economic freedom,” said Mr Barasa.

Mr Otuoma commended the national government for its continued support of development projects in the region aimed at rejuvenating the economy.

The governor said his administration will continue to partner with President William Ruto’s administration on key priority areas to spur growth.

“We must support the government of the day to actualise development and growth of the economy,” said Mr Otuoma.

He said his ward-based economic transformative activities go in line with President Ruto’s bottom-up economic model and that two modules are good to change the development plan for Busia.

“This can only be achieved if I work with the national government and President Ruto who holds the knife for sharing the national cake,” said Dr Otuoma.

Bungoma Governor, Mr Lusaka asked those criticising leaders from Western region who are working with the President to stop and give the elected leaders ample time to steer the country’s economy.

“I call upon those criticising us to loosen up because we are on the wheels for transformation. We will not relent on our resolve to change the lives of our people. We will continue working with the national government for the sake of development to improve the livelihoods of our people,” said Mr Lusaka.

Apart from Mr Lusaka of Bungoma (Ford Kenya) and George Natembeya of Trans Nzoia (DAP-K), the three other governors were elected on ODM tickets under the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition.

President Ruto met various leaders and groups at the Kakamega State Lodge between August 27 and August 30 where politics and development issues were discussed.

Vihiga Woman representative Beatrice Adagala, who also doubles up as ANC Deputy Party Leader argues that Western region’s support for president Ruto was already paying off due to State appointments from the region and development projects being undertaken by the government.

Mr Milemba, the Emuhaya MP on his part said they remain focused on development agenda, and expect a discourse on how to develop the sugar industry which is the backbone of the region.