Ruto’s Kakamega henchmen give his forays a wide berth
A number of Deputy President William Ruto’s allies in Kakamega county have gone underground, triggering debate that they may have switched camp.
Concerns came to bear at the weekend when the leaders gave his Saturday visit to Malava and other areas a wide birth with the DP, who is usually surrounded by a host of them, cutting a lonely figure at a local church.
Ruto was in Kakamega at the invitation of leaders of the African Church of the Holy Spirit for a fundraiser.
Even Malava MP Malulu Injendi in whose constituency the event was taking place was a no-show.
Ruto was only accompanied by Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali out of his 12 colleagues.
Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, his deputy Prof. Philip Kutima who hails from Malava, Senator Cleophas Malalah, Women Rep Elsie Muhanda and a majority of Ward Reps did not attend the function.
Several public stop-over meetings that had been lined up for the Deputy President in several trading centres were also cancelled.
Injendi and Benard Shinali of Ikolomani and Navakholo’s Emmanuel Wangwe were once staunch allies of the DP but they have lately aligned themselves to different political camps. Wangwe has been in the Jubilee Handshake group that saw him appointed National Assembly Majority Whip.
Shinali raised eyebrows when he joined Wangwe at an ODM meeting presided over by party leader Raila Odinga a week ago.
A section of leaders yesterday told People Daily they were no longer interested in the DP’s forays in the county and other parts of Western region because they had not yielded any development.
“The Deputy President has been here a couple of times but we never see the fruits of his visits other than seeking to hoodwink our people to blindly support his presidential bid,” said Lurambi MP Titus Khamala.
“He has made several promises that he never fulfilled, including in my own constituency where he pledged a bus for Mwangaza Secondary School but it was never delivered. I was forced to acquire through the National government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF),” he added Bishop Khamala, the Amani National Congress Kakamega chairman, said residents were focused on Musalia Mudavadi as their presidential candidate.
Ruto is also said to have made promises in other constituencies such as a bus for Shiveye Secondary School in Ikolomani, which he has not fulfilled to date.
Area MP was compelled to purchase one using NG-CDF funds.
Political analysts feel the unfulfilled pledges would have contributed to the DP’s dwindling fortunes in the county.
Former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, who has become the face of Ruto’s campaigns in the county and is the United Democratic Alliance vice-chairman, defended the DP, saying he had done a lot for Kakamega.
He said the absence of elected leaders at the ceremony was not a cause for alarm because the DP was engaging directly with the common voter.
Khalwale claimed some leaders were secretly backing Ruto but would make it public once their terms come to an end.
“Our strategy is very different from those of our competitors because we engage both leaders and directly with the voters. A majority of those young aspirants that accompanied the Deputy President will be elected MPs and MCAs,” said Khalwale.
“They represent the new, fresh leadership as per the ideals of the hustler movement,” he went on.
Malulu said he was busy elsewhere and that he was not invited to the fundraiser. He said he attended several events including funerals in the constituency.