Raila’s forsaken you, Ruto tells Ukambani

DP Ruto Ukambani

Deputy President William Ruto addresses locals during a campaign rally in Kangundo, Machakos County.

Photo credit: Courtesy | DPPS

Deputy President William Ruto yesterday January 20 campaigned in Ukambani, where he sought to portray his opponent, Mr Raila Odinga, as having neglected the region despite residents voting overwhelmingly for him in the 2013 and 2017 elections.

This campaign stop held a lot of significance for the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), taking place in Machakos County where party chairman Johnson Muthama is seeking to become governor. The DP has endorsed Mr Muthama’s bid to succeed Governor Alfred Mutua.

Dr Ruto rallied the region, which voted for Mr Odinga in the last two elections when the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader ran on a joint ticket with his Wiper counterpart Kalonzo Musyoka, to back his presidential bid.

Dr Ruto spared Mr Musyoka and Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi from his usual attacks and instead led his troops in training their guns on Mr Odinga.

The DP took credit for the projects initiated by the Jubilee administration, asking the crowd what Mr Odinga had done for the region during his tenure as prime minister between 2008 and 2013.

“In Machakos County, we have tarmacked 350 kilometres of roads, installed medical equipment worth Sh1.2 billion at Machakos County Referral Hospital and Kangundo Sub-County Hospital, increased the number of households connected to electricity from 60,000 to 190, 000, and set up five new technical colleges. What projects can the man of riddles [Mr Odinga] show in Machakos County for the years he was prime minister?” Dr Ruto posed, adding: “Vote for a leader with a proven development track record.”

The DP used the rallies to promote UDA and his “bottom-up” approach to development. Exuding confidence of winning the elections, Dr Ruto promised to set aside Sh150 billion to cushion farmers and small-scale traders, who he hailed as a critical cog in the country’s economy.

He accused Mr Odinga of dishing handouts during his campaign rallies and claimed UDA was the only political party committed to uniting all Kenyans.

Dr Ruto sensationally accused Mr Odinga of being behind recent attempts to disrupt the DP’s functions.

“We want to ask ODM and its leader to disown violence. Violence cannot earn anybody votes in Kenya anymore. Those who have a track record of unleashing violence must assure Kenyans that they will not use violence and will concede defeat should they lose,” Dr Ruto said in Tala.

He challenged the ODM leader to publicly commit to shun violence during the electioneering period.

The DP was accompanied by Machakos Town MP Victor Munyaka, Mwala MP Vincent Musyoka, Kitui East MP Nimrod Mbai, Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, and (UDA) chairman Johnson Muthama.

They also addressed roadside rallies at Donyo Sabuk, Kangundo, Kivani, Kakuyuni, Kathiani, Mitaboni, and Joska townships.

“Ukambani has supported [Mr Odinga] for many years but he side-lined the region after reconciling with President Uhuru Kenyatta,” Mr Munyaka said.

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