Deputy President William Ruto yesterday began a weekend tour of central Kenya for a series of fundraisers in a political strategy that seeks to appeal to the support base of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Dr Ruto is campaigning to politically inherit the region, but he is up against a wing of the Jubilee Party that is allied to the President, with whom he has fallen out.
Yesterday’s visit to Murang’a came three weeks after two people were killed in chaos that preceded a church fundraiser at Kenol Town. A week later, the DP’s visits were postponed following a Cabinet meeting at Manyani.
The Nyeri and Kirinyaga tours, which are happening today, come a week after President Kenyatta’s address to Tumutumu residents, where he hit out at his deputy for opposing the BBI report and the promises by Dr Ruto and his allies that they would make things better once they win in 2022.
President Kenyatta referred to Ruto and his allies as “Mbaari ya Ngeeka”, which in Gikuyu loosely translates to the “clan of promises”, saying much of the challenges faced by Kenyans politically and economically would be addressed if the proposals in the report are implemented.
In the Murang’a meetings, Dr Ruto asked leaders to leave independent institutions out of their debates.
He told off ODM leader Raila Odinga over claims that IEBC can conduct a Sh2 billion referendum. He disputed Mr Odinga’s budgetary estimates, saying “he is not a professional budget expert and in the 2010 referendum, he was the prime minister who did not help the country not spend the Sh10 billion that was the budget”.
“Leave the IEBC alone because even the previous referendum cost us about Sh10 billion with 12 million voters. How do you then expect to spend Sh2 billion on a referendum with 19 million voters?” he posed.
Mr Ruto announced he is not concerned about the composition of the electoral agency ahead of 2022 as long as no one will play monkey business with his votes.
He said he is even ready to accept his perceived main competitor Raila Odinga to appoint any of his relatives to head IEBC, but be ready to commit himself to a transparent and coherent process.
Tomorrow, the DP will be in Tharaka-Nithi County where he will be accompanied by Senator Kithure Kindiki, his close confidant who was ousted as Senate deputy speaker.
The DP has the support of many MPs from the region who have defied pressure from the Kieleweke faction of the ruling party, which is opposed to his quest to succeed President Kenyatta.
In the past two months, Mr Ruto has turned his political guns on central Kenya with his strategists working to bring the close to 2.9 million central Kenya voters to his side.