Coast leaders’ demands as Ruto seeks to woo region ahead of his 2022 presidential bid
Deputy President William Ruto pitched camp in Kilifi County where he met political leaders and professionals from six coastal counties as he intensified his efforts to win the region ahead of 2022 presidential elections.
During the two-day retreat that happened through May 21-22, the DP sold his bottom-up economic approach to the leaders from the six counties.
"The Coast region's development blueprint will present a fresh start to millions of the residents through its emphasis on the optimal exploitation of tourism, agriculture, maritime and other key economic sectors," Ruto said.
The retreat brought together delegation from Mombasa, Taita Taveta, Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, and Tana River.
"Anchored on the bottom-up economic approach, the new plan touching on all the wards in the region will generate more jobs, cut poverty levels and move up the socioeconomic ladder many ordinary people," he added.
During the two forums, Coast leaders tabled an 18-wish list of demands that would form the basis of their engagement with the DP ahead of next year's presidential elections.
The leaders identified investing in the special economic zones, the blue economy, mining, housing projects, value-additions, special economic zones, tourism, agriculture and job opportunities for the coastal residents at Mombasa port.
Former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar said the Coast would support Ruto's presidential ambitions on certain terms which he has promised to meet.
"We will cascade it down to villages. It will be a people's plan. We are happy tha the DP wants to become president on certain terms. In the last three days, we have come up with the plan for the Coast," said Omar.
Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, who was one of the speakers in the forum, said: "We want a partnership. We will partner with you and see whether you will meet all our demands and if you do so, we will be with you all the way."
The DP said the region's economic plan was not final.
“A lot of input must come from the people. The plan will be taken to the wards and villagers because it is about them and not us politicians,” Ruto said. .
In attendance were: Benjamin Tayari (Kinango), Owen Baya (Kilifi North), Mohammed Ali (Nyali), Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), Faisel Baidel (Msambweni), Senators Anwar Loitiptip (Lamu) and former Senator Hassan Omar.