Home Kenya News William Ruto takes hustler crusade to Ukambani

William Ruto takes hustler crusade to Ukambani

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William Ruto takes hustler crusade to Ukambani

With barely 12 months to the August 2022 presidential contest, Deputy President William Ruto is spreading his political tentacles to Ukambani, the home turf of Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka.

The Star has established that Ruto has been in constant touch with MPs, professionals, businessmen, and grassroots leaders from the lower Eastern region for consultation on the bottom-up economic model which he is championing.

Ruto and his think tanks have identified prominent figures from the three counties of Kitui, Machakos, and Makueni to bolster the hustler movement campaigns.

The strategy involves getting respected high-ranking professionals and prominent business leaders to rally behind the DP for his State House bid in an attempt to enhance his vote numbers in the region that voted overwhelmingly for the opposition in 2017.

On Monday evening, Ruto flew back to Nairobi from Nakuru county where he was meeting leaders from Nyanza region to host 15 MCAs from Kitui county.

Sources who attended the meeting in Nairobi told the Star that the DP pledged that should he form the next government, he would roll out development projects in the region.

Ruto is said to have tasked the MCAs to come up with an economic blueprint for the region.

In return, the MCAs promised to campaign for the DP to overcome the strong tide of Wiper which is dominant in the region.

“We are gratified by our leader’s dedication to working together towards tackling challenges facing the ordinary people especially at the grassroots. We commit to the development of our country,” Ruto posted on his social media platforms after the “working dinner”.

With Ruto having made inroads in Coast, Western, and South Nyanza- regions considered to be ODM leader Raila Odinga’s strongholds, he is reported to be burning the midnight oil to eat into Kalonzo’s bastion.

As per the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, in 2017, the three Ukambani counties registered slightly above 1.5 million voters which voted largely for Nasa duo—Raila and Kalonzo.

Kitui had 474,512 voters while Machakos and Makueni had 620,254 and 423,310 voters respectively.

These numbers are expected to change slightly as IEBC is expected to carry out mass voter registration.

Some of the key leaders from Ukambani who are building Ruto’s network include former Machakos senator Jonhson Muthama, former Nairobi deputy governor Jonathan Mueke, MPs Vincent Munyaka (Machakos Town), Nimrod Mbai (Kitui East) and Vincent Musyoka (Mwala).

This team has been tasked to woo other politicians and businessmen.

There are also a number of religious leaders who are working behind the scenes campaigning and mobilizing for the DP.

On Wednesday, Mueke who said he will be seeking to dethrone Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu on a United Democratic Alliance party ticket, said they were dedicated to changing the way the politics of Ukambani is conducted to lean more on people-centered issues.

In a phone interview with the Star, Mueke, a former ally of Kalonzo said Ukambani leaders have chosen to back the DP because of his development agenda which he said will offer a lasting solution to problems facing the region.

“We have been there for long and we have seen all the previous regimes come and go with nothing tangible for the ordinary Kenyans. Deputy President has come up with an economic model which from our assessment, will unlock the full potential of every corner of this country,” he said.

“As a professional, a leader, and a businessman, the bottom-up economic model is the best ever. It is the only way to increase the tax bracket, create jobs and ensure that our people have money in their pockets,” he added.

Mueke who together with former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero lost to Mike Sonko in 2017, said it is Kenya’s time for economic liberation.

“We must fix in place a regime that will treat businesses with respect. For a long time, the discussion has centred around how to reward tribal kingpins with power and resources but this time round, it is about the ordinary Kenyans,” he said.

With the wind of Ruto’s plans to storm Ukambani, Ngilu has for the last three days put up a spirited onslaught against the DP discrediting his bottom-up and his track record.

Ngilu, a close ally of President Uhuru Kenyatta has heaped all the failures of the Jubilee administration on the DP, saying if indeed he was genuine with his plans, farmers across the country would not be suffering.

“Mr. Bottoms Up Economy, your economic model can’t be explained in concrete numbers with specific expected results because it is amorphous and meant to hoodwink unsuspecting Kenyans,” Ngilu wrote on her Twitter account on Tuesday.

She went on, “It did not occur to you that more resources directed to agriculture would have pulled millions of people out of poverty as the Chairperson of Intergovernmental Budgetary and Economic Council and Minister for Agriculture in the grand coalition government?”

-The-Star

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