Deputy President William Ruto’s tour of Migori County today has rekindled divisions in the cosmopolitan region and talks of 2022 politics.
Mr Ruto will only visit the minority Kuria community in what is dubbed as development tour, but largely seen as a key strategy to woo the over 70,000 voters from the community that have broken ranks on the ballot with the majority in the ODM stronghold.
Preparations were in top gear to welcome Mr Ruto, with his visit expected to cover Kuria East and Kuria West constituencies.
Area legislators, Mr Marwa Kitayama and Mr Mathias Robi, both elected on Jubilee party ticket, have been mobilising supporters to receive Mr Ruto.
According to the leaders, Mr Ruto will open the Kuria East CDF offices and the regional police headquarters in Kegonga before attending a funds drive to help boda boda riders from the constituency to buy over 100 motorbikes.
In Kuria West, Mr Ruto will commission Sh350 million World Bank funded Isebania Water Project started in 2016 through Lake Victoria South Water Services (LVSWS) to draw water from River Hibwa at Sorore centre, Kuria West constituency. The project can produce over 30,000m3.
He will also attend a funds drive in aid of Masaba Secondary School.
But Mr Kitayama downplayed the perception that Mr Ruto’s visit is part of the 2022 politics, insisting the meeting was purely for development.
“The visit is not about politics right now or in 2022, he is visiting Migori for development,” Mr Kitayama said.
The MP, who is seen as the de facto leader of the Kuria community, has in the past openly campaigned for Mr Ruto's 2022 presidential bid and said the community will vote for him.
A month ago, when Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang'ula was campaigning for his 2022 bid at Kegonga, Mr Kitayama caused a stir when he told him and other leaders that the Kuria vote is reserved for Ruto.
During the repeat presidential elections, Kuria region voted despite six other constituencies dominated by ODM skipping the exercise.
In the August presidential poll last year, whose results were nullified by the Supreme Court, President Uhuru Kenyatta garnered 65 percent while National Super Alliance presidential flag-bearer Raila Odinga 34 percent.