Deputy President William Ruto Saturday pleaded with Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi to join him in forming a political alliance to push for the presidency in 2022.
It was the first time Mr Ruto was personally seeking out Mr Mudavadi, who has also declared his interest in running for the presidency in 2022.
In his previous tours in the western region, considered Mr Mudavadi’s political stronghold, Mr Ruto has kept off the subject, leaving it to his lieutenants from the region to reach out to Mr Mudavadi.
But speaking in Sabatia, Mudavadi’s home constituency, the DP beseeched Mr Mudavadi to agree to a political pact that he said would propel them to form government in 2022.
In a move that could complicate Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s equation in a region he has previously held sway, Mr Ruto challenged the Amani leader to join him in a “winning team.”
Mr Ruto’s allies led by former Kakamega senator Boni Khalwale expressed confidence that should Mr Mudavadi get on board, the Ruto camp would “wipe out the Odinga remnants” from Western Kenya.
“We (the Ruto camp) are almost there. What the deputy president is doing is to tie the loose ends. With Mudavadi on board, we will sweep Raila out of the whole of western Kenya,” he told Sunday Nation.
In a more reconciliatory mood, he reminded the Amani leader that he campaigned for him and ODM leader Raila Odinga in the 2007 presidential election.
Mr Ruto further recalled that 2007 was his last visit to Sabatia and noted that their political journey at the time failed to yield the desired fruits after they lost to retired President Mwai Kibaki.
According to Mr Ruto, a political alliance between him and the Amani leader would lead to sure victory in 2022.
The DP was speaking at Nabwani in Sabatia, Vihiga County where he helped raise Sh5 million for an estimated 400 women groups. He gave Sh3 million, being his personal contribution.
Said Mr Ruto: "I am calling on Mudavadi to join this team so that we can form the government."
He went on: "I was here in Sabatia for the last time in 2007 and campaigned for Raila and Musalia. We did not make it at the time. I was their errand boy at the time."
In what was seen as a veiled reference to Mr Odinga, Mr Ruto added: "We have those with expertise to form government and others with expertise to form the opposition."
Mr Ruto also called on the Sabatia electorate to make a decision to be part of the 2022 government that he was seeking Mr Mudavadi to help in forming. "I am for the decision that we unite for development and to form the government. You the people of Sabatia should pray for me," he said.
Mr Ruto said he will in the course of this financial year launch the tarmacking of Mago-Mululu-Wangulu road the leads to Mr Mudavadi's rural home.
He noted that he wants the road improved because "this will make my friend Mudavadi get a road to his home and as an extension of a helping hand as this world is all about helping each other".
Before he arrived at Nabwani, Mr Ruto stopped at Sabatia trading centre where he launched a Sh15 million street lighting project.
He said this will help in lighting up the centre that is located on the Chavakali-Kapsabet road and spur business growth.
And while at Nabwani, Mr Ruto said; "I will return to Sabatia again this month to lead a funds drive in support of the church."
He said he is continually touring Mr Mudavadi's perceived political bedrock because he is the Deputy President and no one can stop him.
It is former Kakamega Senator Dr Boni Khalwale, Mumias East MP Mr Ben Washiali and Sirisia MP Mr John Waluke who started calls for Mr Mudavadi to consider a political pact with Mr Ruto.
They extended their calls to Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang'ula and reminded them that Mr Ruto holds the key to presidential victory unlike Mr Odinga, whom they had supported previously without success.
Dr Khalwale said: "The Deputy President has been to Hamisi, Luanda and Emuhaya. Now he is here in Sabatia, the engine of Vihiga County."
"The answer to attaining leadership is by making political friendship. Ruto has the opportunity of winning the election."
Added Dr Khalwale: "Ruto made Raila Prime Minister and Musalia Deputy Prime Minister in 2007. Ruto made Uhuru a two term president. This is an obvious answer that Ruto is the player who can score a goal."