Violence ruins DP Ruto’s first day tour of Kisii
Robert Ochoro and Hillary Mageka
Violence marred Deputy President William Ruto’s first day of his tour of Kisii County yesterday.
The DP condemned the fracas, which he claimed was sponsored by opponents, as he pitched tent in the county on a vote-hunt mission for two days.
Ruto, who spoke after rival youth clashed at Suneka market which left a person seriously injured, challenged youth to shun leaders who were keen to incite them against each other.
Trouble started when Ruto arrived at Suneka and youth, wearing ODM caps, chanted the party’s slogans and heckled leaders.
“Do not be used to fight your own people. You do not deserve to be hooligans. We want peaceful campaigns,” Ruto said as United Democratic Alliance (UDA) supporters cheered him.
At Ogembo, Bomachoge Chache constituency, Ruto was booed by ODM youth as he addressed a gathering.
The youth also booed area MP Alfa Miruka for what they alleged was his poor development record.
At Suneka, Ruto braved rain to address the crowd. He was accompanied by MPs Joash Nyamoko (North Mugirango), Alpha Miruka, (Bomachoge Chache), Shadrack Mose (Kitutu Masaba), former South Mugirango MP Omingo Magara and Deputy Governor Joash Maangi. The DP appealed to youth to turn up and register as voters.
Maangi appealed to residents to support Ruto’s presidential bid, saying that his bottom-up economic model fits the Gusii community’s hard work.
“The People of Kisii County are hustlers naturally. We are people who believe in hard work and we identify with you,” Maangi said.
Ruto accused President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Handshake partner, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga of encouraging formation of regional parties which he claims are ethnic tools meant to create divisions in the country.
He said a flurry of activities by the President and Raila’s allies suggest they are not interested in uniting the country but segregating it into tribal groups.
Addressing a section of Gusii elected and opinion leaders at Kamel Park Hotel in Kisii County on Saturday night, Ruto said establishment of a national party is the only solution to drive out ethnicity, hate and division from the country’s politics.
“The only mechanism to get rid of ethnicity, hate and division is to establish a political party of a national character, that gives every citizen from every community, region and religion equal opportunity to become their best,” said the DP as he drummed support for UDA.
“I want to persuade the people of Kisii that the future of our country is secure, if we eliminate ethnicity and division from our politics,” he added.
But in a thinly veiled attack on Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, whose allies are mooting the formation of a regional party for the Gusii community, the DP said many lazy leaders form tribal political parties because it is easy, as they don’t need to persuade anyone using any other platform.
“There are very many political parties that conduct their National Executive Committee in their vernacular, those are ones planting seeds of division in our country and leaders of such parties should be ashamed,” he said amid cheers from the audience.
He added: “If you are a serious leader, don’t take a short cut but do the hard work to establish a national political party,.”
On September 23, at least 17 MPs out 19 from Nyamira and Kisii counties, while announcing Gusii unity declaration, said they will shepherd the community behind one party.
“We have been watching events unfolding in the Kenyan political space with keen interest.
It is now very clear to Kenyans that communities are having internal conversations on how to secure their interests ahead of the 2022,” the MPs said in a statement read by South Mugirango MP Sylvanus Osoro; a staunch supporter of DP Ruto.
The DP said such creations lack a national outlook and breeds ethnicity, suspicion and hate in politics.