A section of leaders from western Kenya on Sunday reached out to Deputy President William Ruto to consider picking his 2022 running mate from the region.
Former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale asked Mr Ruto to choose either ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi or Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula as his deputy.
“We have made an early stand and it is well-known that we are supporting your presidency in 2022. Don’t do to us what Nasa leader Raila Odinga did to this community. Pick your running mate from western,” Dr Khalwale said in Mumias, Kakamega County.
They said they are endorsing Mr Ruto, hoping he will not sideline the region. Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa said he had pleaded with both Mr Wetang'ula and Mr Mudavadi to join the Ruto bandwagon to no avail.
“When Jubilee won the 2017 elections, I reached out to my two elder brothers and invited them to work with the government, but they were reluctant until Mr Raila left them and joined us.
"I again asked them to join Mr Ruto for 2022 elections, but again they became sluggish. Now Mr Odinga has joined the government before them,” he said.
And he assured to spearhead campaigns for Mr Ruto in the region “just like I worked for Mr Odinga during his 2007 and 2013 presidential bids”.
Mr Ruto was in Busia County on Saturday and is scheduled to tour Homa Bay and Migori counties today to inspect various road development projects.
His visit to Nyanza may not be rosy as some leaders already declared they will not accompany him.
Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka asked Mr Ruto to reward them for their support. "I know Mr Ruto is a generous man who doesn’t take favours for granted. I ask him to give his hand back to the Luhya community, which has declared to stand with him in 2022,” Mr Lusaka said.
Other MPs present included Benard Shinali (Ikolomani), Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo) and Dismus Barasa (Kimilili). They also pledged their support for Mr Ruto.
National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi said he will not accompany Mr Ruto to the projects in Homa Bay.
Mr Mbadi said he will boycott the event that will be held in Rachuonyo North today, saying he is not aware of the Deputy President’s agenda.
He also said the projects awaiting commissioning were not initiated by the Jubilee government.
“There is no need for me to accompany Mr Ruto to a project that he did not start. The project he purports to commission today was started by different regimes, including during the coalition government that was headed by ODM leader Raila Odinga and retired President Mwai Kibaki,” he said on Sunday at Sero Catholic Church in Homa Bay Town.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) national chairman accused Mr Ruto of extending his 2022 political campaign in Nyanza in disguise of launching government projects.
“The Deputy President is not my candidate in the next General Election. I cannot therefore go where he goes. I have other engagements that I will attend to,” Mr Mbadi added.
But he said he would accompany him if he is instructed to do so by Mr Odinga.