Deputy President William Ruto is expected in Vihiga County on Saturday in what appears to be a scheme to infiltrate Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi’s political bedrock.
Dr Ruto is expected to attend a women’s function at Nabwani in Sabatia constituency, two weeks after he was chief guest at a similar event in Luanda in the same county.
The forays come at a time when his allies in the region have been packaging him as a “good neighbour” in a bid to endear him to the masses at the expense of Mr Mudavadi and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula.
In separate interviews, Dr Ruto's allies have been asking voters to embrace political leaders irrespective of tribe or parties ahead of the 2022 presidential race.
Speaking to the Saturday Nation, they warned the Luhya community that it risks remaining in the political cold after 2022 if it does not embrace a “formidable” candidate such as Dr Ruto.
Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa and former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale revealed that they had formed grassroots campaign teams in the five Luhya dominated counties of Vihiga, Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia and Trans Nzoia; as part of the strategy to upstage the Amani leader, the region’s foremost political leader.
Mr Barasa claimed that the campaign teams had made inroads in Kakamega, Trans Nzoia and Bungoma, but Vihiga and Busia were proving to be a hard nut to crack as they still support opposition leader Raila Odinga and Mr Mudavadi respectively.
The DP's allies in the region also include Mumias East MP Ben Washiali, Ikolomani's Ben Shinali, Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo), Charles Gimose (Hamisi), former Vihiga governor Moses Akaranga, former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa and several MCAs.
According to Mr Barasa, the grassroots campaign strategy targets key politicians from the region.
“Our strategy involves raiding the opponent’s camps in the region to win support. We are keen to work with them so that we have a formidable team backing the DP in western.”
On his part, Mr Echesa said the Luhya community had failed to ascend to power because of supporting Mr Odinga for a long time, adding that the vote-rich community stands to benefit by supporting Dr Ruto presidency bid.
He echoed Dr Khalwale’s sentiments that Dr Ruto is a “good neighbour,” who has done much for the community.
But Mr Mudavadi’s allies scoffed at the latest development, warning that the Amani leader will not fall prey to the DP’s provocation.
Mr Mudavadi’s private secretary Kibisu Kabatesi said Dr Ruto’s visit will only benefit those who invited him and not residents.
Mr Kabatesi said that Dr Ruto’s frequent visits to Vihiga are ere meant to divert Mr Mudavadi’s plans and provoke him into retaliating.
On Mr Mudavadi’s side is Sabatia MP Alfred Agoi, his Vihiga counterpart Ernest Ogesi, woman representative Beatrice Adagala, and Senator George Khaniri.