- In Migori, Mr Ruto’s tour was boycotted by local ODM leaders, including MPs and Senator Ochillo Ayacko.
- Only Migori Governor Okoth Obado, former Nyatike MP Edick Anyanga, and MPs Mr Mathias Robi and Mr Maisori Kitayama, accompanied Mr Ruto.
- The visit came barely three days after the lunch meeting at the DP’s Karen home in Nairobi, attended by President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga.
Deputy President William Ruto on Monday traversed South Nyanza — the heartland of his political nemesis Raila Odinga — with a basket of development goodies.
However, the hopes of his lieutenants that Mr Odinga would throw his weight behind the Deputy President’s presidential quest, especially after the much-publicised lunch at Mr Ruto’s home over the weekend, proved to be, at best, premature.
Speaking in Nyeri at the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen said that, after attending the lunch at the DP’s Karen home on Saturday, he was now convinced that Mr Odinga could be useful in helping Mr Ruto clinch the presidency.
He went on to ask Jubilee MPs not to give Mr Odinga a hard time, saying: “I have asked Jubilee leaders to stop fighting Mr Odinga because President Kenyatta has brought him close. I went to lunch with Uhuru, Raila and Ruto, and from what I saw, Raila may help Uhuru push for Ruto’s presidency,” said Mr Murkomen.
In Nyanza, local political leaders pointedly boycotted the DP’s Nyanza visit yesterday, and Mr Ruto took a dig at unnamed people whom he described as not having a development agenda.
“You are bright people, let no one come here at the last minute without any development record to tell you ‘tibim’ for you to vote for him. Ask them what they did to deserve your vote,” said the DP in Kanyadhiany in Homa Bay. "Tibim" was a Nasa rallying call at the last election.
At the same time, Mr Odinga was sending mixed signals about his political plans. Just a day after he said in Siaya County that he will continue to participate in local politics, on Monday he issued a statement saying that he will not engage in the country’s succession politics, but will instead focus on his new assignment as the African Union’s High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa.
The ODM party leader also pointed out that he will be focused on uniting Kenyans through the Building Bridges Initiative, created after his handshake with President Kenyatta on March 9.
To add to the drama, Suna West MP Junet Mohammed sought to clarify Mr Odinga’s statement, saying the ODM leader had not changed his position about staying in politics, but was asking people not to engage in succession politicking for an election that is still four years away.
Leader of Minority in the National Assembly John Mbadi on Sunday evening dismissed the DP’s visit as “political posturing for 2022”, a pointer that Mr Odinga’s allies would not welcome Mr Ruto with open arms.
In Migori, Mr Ruto’s tour was boycotted by local ODM leaders, including Members of Parliament and Senator Ochillo Ayacko. Only Migori Governor Okoth Obado, former Nyatike MP Edick Anyanga, and two MPs from Kuria West and Kuria East — Mr Mathias Robi and Mr Maisori Kitayama, respectively, accompanied Mr Ruto. The two MPs did not address the meetings.
In Homa Bay, Deputy Governor Hamilton Orata and Karachuonyo MP Adipo Okuome were there to receive Mr Ruto. The other seven MPs did not show up.
The visit came barely three days after the lunch meeting at the DP’s Karen home in Nairobi, attended by President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga.