Kalonzo’s Ukambani political dominance tested as Raila, Ruto traverse turf

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 12 – Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka’s political stranglehold of the Lower Eastern region came under serious scrutiny on Friday after Deputy President William Ruto and ODM Leader Raila Odinga pitched camp in Kitui and Makueni counties in a bid sway voters to their side ahead of 2022 polls.

Ruto who was in Kitui, held three main rallies which kicked off with a woman empowerment drive at Zombe Stadium before proceeding to Mutomo and Ikutha where he led an empowerment drive for boda boda operators respectively.

During his day-long tour, the presumptive United Democratic Alliance (UDA) presidential candidate asked his competitors to come up with realistic proposals on how to curb youth unemployment instead of hoodwinking them with handouts.

Ruto appealed to Kenyans to rally behind the Hustler Movement’s bottom-up economic model which he claimed was Kenya’s best option for addressing the country’s challenges citing poverty, hunger and unemployment.

“Let us unite and vote in a government that will uplift our businesses, create jobs and support our farmers,” said DP Ruto.

On his part, ODM Leader Raila Odinga scooped the endorsements of three governors in the region who vowed to forge a joint alliance which will market his bid in the region.

Governors Charity Ngilu (Kitui), Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) and Alfred Mutua (Machakos) agreed to work with Odinga in his Azimio La Umoja clarion.

Speaking during a Azimio La Umoja Convention held in Wote, Makueni County, Mutua said they resolved to back Odinga because he has been preaching unity, peace and resounding notable strategies that will be tapped into the next government to gear up economic resuscitation plans.

“We will join hands with Raila Amollo Odinga for the 2022 elections of the Republic of Kenya. We recognize and support the commitment of Raila Amollo Odinga to address the economic development challenges in the region through expansion and value addition in agriculture, investment in manufacturing and up-scaling of social security protection,” the Machakos Governor said.

Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu offered to spearhead efforts to unite Odinga and the OKA principals to bury the hatchet and join hands towards clinching the presidency come 2022 general elections.

“I want to plead with you, Baba, please do not tire in your efforts to bring all leaders together. I want to see Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka, Alfred Mutua, Kibwana on the same table and I will be there too. If this convention gives the mandate of chairing that effort I will get to work and make it happen,” Ngilu charged.

Nominated MP Maina Kamanda and former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth who are accompanying the former Prime Minister noted that the most important thing for the region is to ensure its interests are secured.

Odinga told participants that his government will ensure devolution is strengthened as had been proposed in the  Building Bridges Initiative Constitutional Amendment which was annulled by the High Court and Court of Appeal.

“Devolution was introduced so that we could bring resources closer to the people. We succeeded in devolution, what is remaining is bringing resources and that’s what BBI was advocating for,” he said.

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