DP Ruto makes final submission to Mt Kenya residents

Deputy President William Ruto at Kerugoya Stadium in Kirinyaga

Deputy President William Ruto addresses wananchi at Kerugoya Stadium in Kirinyaga during a Kenya Kwanza campaign rally on August 3, 2022.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

After five years of courting the vote-rich region, Deputy President William Ruto Wednesday made a final plea to Mt Kenya residents to help him win the top seat as he wound up his campaigns in President Kenyatta’s turf.

On the last day of his campaigns in the region ahead of Tuesday’s elections, Dr Ruto made numerous stops in Kiambu County, which — with 1.2 million — has the second highest number of registered voters in the country, and Kirinyaga, the home county of his main opponent Raila Odinga’s running mate, Ms Martha Karua.

The DP — who fell out with President Kenyatta, who has accused him of inciting the region against his administration in premature campaigns largely concentrated there since their re-election in 2017 — is banking on the vote-rich region that opinion polls have consistently shown sides with him.

Preferred successor

Mr Odinga, President Kenyatta’s preferred successor, is also looking to win a significant fraction of the region’s vote to tilt the scales in his favour, with latest opinion polls suggesting a neck-and-neck contest between the two erstwhile allies-turned-bitter foes. 

In a way, yesterday was a momentous point in Dr Ruto’s presidential campaign, as he can only wait for Tuesday to know his fate, whether the region he wrested from the president, has invested most of his efforts in, really means its support for him or has been taking him for a ride all along.

The nine Mt Kenya counties — Nyeri, Kiambu, Murang’a, Kirinyaga, Embu, Tharaka-Nithi, Laikipia, Meru and Nyandarua — collectively have 4.7 million votes.

Symbolically, Dr Ruto yesterday chose to conclude his campaigns by visiting the twin sides of the region — Mt Kenya East with 1.3 million registered voters and Mt Kenya West, with 3.4 million registered voters — represented by Kirinyaga and Kiambu counties.

Voter turnout

His messaging was to rally the region, which recorded the highest turnout in 2017 when they sought re-election with President Kenyatta, to better the record with an even higher figure.   

Dr Ruto said he was President Kenyatta’s loyal deputy, and that his boss’ move to side with his challenger, Mr Odinga, was to betray the people who stuck with him.

He told Mr Odinga to be prepared for a humiliating defeat on Tuesday.

The DP dismissed opinion polls showing Mr Odinga ahead of him as fake, saying only the people will have the final say in the August 9 polls.

“I was a loyal deputy. I helped Kenyatta clinch the presidency twice but surprisingly he is campaigning for Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua who fought him,” he said.

Exercise in futility

Dr Ruto said President Kenyatta’s push to have Mr Odinga succeed him will be an exercise in futility.

“President Kenyatta thinks 10 million Kenyan voters are fools and that is why he is trying to impose Odinga on them. The Head of State is wrong,” said the DP.

Speaking in Kerugoya town, Dr Ruto made a passionate appeal to the residents to turn out in large numbers and help him win the polls to revive the economy.

In a bare-knuckle attack, Dr Ruto accused Mr Odinga of clinging on the coat of President Kenyatta ‘because he knows he has no majority following across the country’.

“This man knows that he has no agenda and Kenyans can’t vote for him. That is why he reached out to Kenyatta to campaign for him,” he said.

He added: “Raila should be prepared to go to his Bondo home next week. I will send him home using a wheelbarrow.”

Presidential debate

Dr Ruto described Mr Odinga as a coward who should not be given a chance to lead Kenya.

“Odinga skipped the presidential debate because he feared to face me and answer hard questions. Such a leader can’t even be able to fight al-Shabaab who are a thorn in the flesh of Kenyans and he should forget the presidency,” he said.

Dr Ruto said only his government could slay the dragon of corruption and pleaded with Kenyans to give him votes to get rid of the vice.

He promised to create jobs for five million youth idling at home due to lack of employment.

Dr Ruto reiterated that he will allocate Sh200 billion to establish industries where the young could be employed to eke out a decent living.

He also pledged to set aside Sh50 billion to revive small enterprises.

His running mate Rigathi Gachagua promised to ensure farmers from Mt Kenya region benefit from Dr Ruto’s government. “We shall ensure that prices of coffee and tea go up so that farmers can reap maximum benefits,” said Mr Gachagua

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru told Mr Odinga not to expect any votes from the region.

“Kirinyaga is Kenya Kwanza zone and Odinga should not waste time campaigning here,” she said.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi accused President Kenyatta of going against his promise.

“It was Kenyatta who publicly announced that he will rule for 10 years and then back Dr Ruto. He has now forsaken Dr Ruto in favour of Odinga who is known to be a trouble-maker. President Kenyatta is being unfair to his deputy and his Odinga project should be rejected.”

Dismissed opinion polls

In Thika, Dr Ruto said their coalition is headed for an early win while dismissing opinion polls as inconsequential.

“Our competitors know we are winning this election and that is why they are publishing opinion polls everyday showing they are leading. This is an excuse to reject the results because we are going to beat them hands down,” Dr Ruto said.

In Kiambu, the Kenya Kwanza team traversed Thika, Lari, Kabete and Zambezi areas wooing the voters in the final stretch ahead of next week’s polls.

Reporting by Simon Ciuri, George Munene and Diana Boyani


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