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Friday, July 15, 2011
RUTO GOES HUNTING IN NYANZA FOR RAILA VOTE
FRIDAY, 15 JULY 2011 00:04 BY ISAAC ONGIRI AND GEOFREY MOSOKU
ON THE RAMPAGE: William Ruto. Photos/Samuel Simiti.
ELDORET North MP William Ruto enters the lion's den of Nyanza Province in his foray into Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s turf this weekend. Ruto will campaign for his UDM party and the G7 alliance in Kisumu, Rongo, Awendo and Kehancha where he will address a number of rallies.
Ruto will be accompanied by the rival Luo Council of Elders chairman Riaga Ogalo and presidential media adviser Raphael Tuju. Ruto, who officially is still Deputy Leader of ODM, was in Kondele in Kisumu two months ago for a youth harambee but did not hold any rallies.
Ruto has been working with Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka to build the G7 Alliance with support from all parts of Kenya. The G7 wants Ruto to lead its campaigns in Nyanza as well as the Rift Valley. Campaigners often shy away from Nyanza because of Raila's perceived dominance there.
An advance team led by a senior ally of Uhuru arrived in Kisii on Tuesday and has been meeting community elders, women, and youth leaders. “His visit to Nyanza is important. William (Ruto) doesn’t want Nyanza left out of the next government like has been happening previously and that is why he considers the people of Nyanza vital partners in his 2012 plan,” Cherengany MP Joshua Kuttuny told the Star.
Kuttuny said that there is nothing wrong with Ruto speaking to his Kisumu supporters as the Prime Minister is always in the Rift Valley on similar missions. Today the Eldoret North MP will be in Borabu in the morning to attend the funeral of Gladys Osero, a sister of his long-time friend, ADC Director Patrick Osero.
Later in the day Ruto and his team will head for Nyamache in Bobasi constituency where they will be hosted by Luka Mogoa for a youth fundraiser. Tomorrow Ruto will be hosted by Engineer Justus Mochoge at Iranda sportsground in Kitutu Chache to raise funds for youth groups in Marani and Mosocho Divisions.
On Sunday Ruto will head to Kuria in Migori country where he will address rallies in Rongo, Awendo and Migori before a major rally in Kehancha. “We want to popularise our alliance across the country and such tours are part of this strategy,” former South Mugirango MP and G7 leader Omingo Magara said yesterday.
The former ODM Treasurer said that they intended to build a formidable force to take them to State House next year. Yesterday Foreign Affairs assistant minister Richard Onyonka said Ruto’s Kisii tour, including a visit to his Kitutu Chache constituency, does not threaten anyone. “He like any other leader or Kenyan is free to visit any part of the country including my home constituency,” Onyonka said. “I was not invited by the organizers or Ruto and so I will not be attending but I hope the money raised will be used for the intended purpose,” Onyonka added. Onyonka said that he could not see Ruto’s foray into Nyanza as weakening anyone’s political grip.