Migori Governor Okoth Obado is set to host Deputy President William Ruto on Monday, in a move likely to heighten political tension between the embattled county boss and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leaders.
Mr Ruto will be in Suna West Sub-county where he will launch the construction of the tarmac road between Masara and Muhuru beach and later address a public rally at Masara trading centre.
Kuria West member of parliament (MP) Mathias Robi, who is a close ally of Mr Ruto, confirmed the DP will be in the county to commission the construction of the road as part of the Jubilee administration’s promise to develop all regions in Kenya.
"Mr Ruto is coming to Migori to launch the construction of the road. Jubilee is keen on developing all regions in Kenya," Mr Robi told the Sunday Nation.
Mr Nicholas Anyuor, the director of communication in the governor's office, also confirmed the trip, saying preparations to receive the DP were on course.
"We are all set to receive the DP for the development tour," he said.
But Mr Anyuor was quick to reject the perception of political undertones in the visit, maintaining it is meant to spur development in the region.
IN THE DARK
National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohammed, a close ally of Opposition leader Raila Odinga, appeared surprised by the news of the visit when reached for comment on Saturday.
“I am not aware. I am completely in the dark. But if it is true, it only confirms Obado and Ruto’s links ahead of 2022. It has nothing to do with development,” he said on the commissioning of the road to bitumen standards, a project that remained stalled for the last five years.
Mr Mohammed further dismissed the launch, saying the road was commissioned under the grand coalition government and that residents have been using it for the last three years.
“He is coming to launch a road that people have been using since 2016. It is not development. It is pure 2022 politics.”
The tour comes a few days after a trip by a group of over 200 delegates, from Migori to the DP's Sugoi home, failed to take place. The organiser allegedly failed to show up.
Monday's function will be Mr Obado’s first public engagement since he was released on bail after he was arrested and arraigned over the murder of his girlfriend Sharon Otieno, who was a student at Rongo University.
After a month in remand, the governor was released on bail with tough conditions that substantially restrict his movement in the county.
Besides Ms Otieno’s murder, the governor is being investigated by the Ethics and anti-corruption Commission for allegedly siphoning over Sh1.2 billion from the county through proxies.
The anti-graft body has so far frozen several accounts linked to Mr Obado and is investigating shady companies that were allegedly used to siphon the money.
Mr Ruto’s visit comes just about three weeks after the county’s senatorial by-election, which Jubilee Party opted out of, in support of the ODM candidate.