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Cornered in Rift Valley, William Ruto dispels 'fallout' fears

Sunday February 17 2019

President William Ruto, Joyce Laboso, Paul Chepkwony, Samwel Tunai

Deputy President William Ruto (second right) with governors Joyce Laboso (Bomet), Professor Paul Chepkwony (Kericho, left) and Samwel Tunai (Narok) during the launch of Universal Health Coverage at Silibwet in Bomet County on Saturday, February 16,2019. PHOTOS | VITALIS KIMUTAI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

VITALIS KIMUTAI
By VITALIS KIMUTAI
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Deputy President William Ruto has sought to assure supporters in his Rift Valley backyard that there was no political falling out between him and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

In a bid to cool rising political temperatures in the region over his fate in the re-organisation of government, Dr Ruto told the region’s residents and their leaders to focus on development as he was firmly in government.

RUMOURS

“The President, myself and the entire Jubilee administration is solely focused on transforming the country by building infrastructure, industrial growth and creating job opportunities. We have no time for political sideshows,” said Dr Ruto.

“As a government, we will remain focused on delivering our pre-election promises and the Big Four Agenda on development. I can assure you that we will deliver on the promise,” said Dr Ruto.

He added: “Everything is OK in government; ignore the fake news; do not rely on social media and newspaper stories because we have no time for rumours and riddles that would not help us take the country forward in socio-economic development,”

In a thinly veiled attack on former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the DP said that leaders should avoid putting the country in an election mode all year round.

“The other leaders should stop their obsession about election, creating extra leadership positions whenever they fail to win an election as we cannot afford to be talking about it year in, year out,” said Dr Ruto.

Instead, he said, Kenyans want leaders to tackle issues relating to education, expansion and improvement of road networks, electrification, construction of markets for farm produce and creation of jobs for the youth.

Dr Ruto was responding to calls by the region’s residents to clarify on the repeatedly talked about falling out with the President under the Jubilee administration, and especially with the recent re-organisation of government where Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i was promoted to coordinate programmes in all ministries.

PROJECTS

Dr Matiangi is now the supervisor of all government departments, a seemingly subtle move in Jubilee to sideline the DP in the running of government. The CS, through a Presidential order, was made directly answerable to Mr Kenyatta.

The DP, at the same time, said tarmacking of Silibwet-Merigi-Kembu-Tegat-Chemaner road would commence next month, alongside the Chemenar-Longisa — Kembu-Kapkimolwo and Longisa-Kipreres road.

“There were procurement challenges which led to re-tendering, which is now complete. The contractor will be moving to the site from next month. Funds to construct the Kyogong — Sigor road will be factored into next year’s budget,” said Dr Ruto.

He said Sh1.5 billion had been set aside by the Lake Victoria South Water Authority for expansion of water projects in Bomet town to cover Longisa and Mulot trading centres.

The DP said issues raised by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) on the site for the Sh20 billion Itare water project had delayed its implementation, but the matter had now been settled and work is expected to commence this April.

Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso, Woman Representative Joyce Korir and Bomet Central MP Ronald Tonui had told the DP during the launch of Universal Health Coverage in Bomet county on Saturday at Silibwet that they would rally the people behind him even if he was sidelined in running the government.

ONSLAUGHT

Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony, Narok Governor Samwell Tunai, Bomet Senator Christopher Langat, MPs Gideon Koskei (Chepalungu), Brighton Yegon (Konoin), Beatrice Kones (Bomet East), Dominic Koskei (Sotik) and nominated Senator Alice Milgo also attended the function.

Dr Laboso said there was a need for the leaders from the region to rally the people behind the DP with the apparent political onslaught from his perceived 2022 Presidential election contestants and that he should craft a working pact with leaders from other regions in the country.

Professor Chepkwony said it is important for the DP to convene a meeting of Kalenjin leaders to discuss socio-economic and political issues affecting the region as the clock ticks towards 2022 election.

“These people are waiting for you to give them political direction should you feel the political wheels in Jubilee party are not turning in the right direction. We will ensure that in the 2022 General Election, you have a rock solid support in the region,” Mr Tonui said.

Mrs Korir said; “If the much hyped constitutional referendum debate is implemented, the people of Rift Valley will only wait for you to give them the green light on which side to support.”