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Uhuru to visit Ruto’s backyard

President Uhuru Kenyatta plans to tour Deputy President William Ruto’s Rift Valley home turf to launch development projects.

Rift Valley has been described as enemy territory by Uhuru backers after he fell out with his deputy.

The tour will be next month as Uhuru races to cement his legacy.

The visit will also cover Ruto’s Uasin Gishu home county at a time when the President and the DP are deeply alienated.

It remains doubtful whether Ruto will accompany the President.

During the tour, Uhuru is expected to issue title deeds to thousands of residents and launch several road projects.

Ruto’s troops have claimed Uhuru abandoned Rift Valley after his handshake with Opposition chief Raila Odinga on March 9, 2018, and instead bestowed benefits on opposition zones.

However, with only 13 months in office, Uhuru has been going flat out to get multi-billion projects completed or launched.

On Monday, Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny told the Star the President will tour the Rift Valley “sometime in July”.

“The exact date is yet to be fixed but we have agreed that he will visit Rift Valley in July. It could be mid or end of the month,” Kutuny said.

The MP said the President will issue title deeds in Trans Nzoia county. In Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet counties, Uhuru will commission road projects and inspect ongoing works.

“He will be in Anabkoi constituency in Uasin Gishu, then in Elgeyo Marakwet where he will commission projects. We look forward to hosting him,” Kutuny said.

The lawmaker rubbished claims Uhuru had abandoned Rift Valley, saying about Sh30 billion projects are going on in the North Rift alone

“The likes of [Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba] Murkomen are now cry babies. They should be telling us all these projects we are seeing in Rift Valley and Mt Kenya are implemented by which government. In North Rift alone, we have projects worth over Sh30 billion,” he told the Star on the phone.

He added, “The only projects that have not taken off are those that were interfered with by pro-Tangatanga leaders who wanted kickbacks. The President means well for every part of this country.”

Apart from Kutuny, other leaders allied to Uhuru in the wake of political differences between the President and his deputy include Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos, MPs Silas Tiren (Moiben), Swarup Misra (Kesses) and William Chepkut (Anabkoi) as well as Uasin Gishu Senator Margaret Kamar.

Sources said Uhuru will be visiting every part of the country to commission development projects that will define his legacy.

Early this month, Uhuru commissioned several projects in Raila’s Nyanza backyard including the revival of the Kisumu Port.

Over the weekend, the President was in Mombasa where he unveiled the Sh10 billion Kenya Marine Fisheries socio-economic development project aimed at uplifting the income of the fishing community.

This week, Uhuru was expected in Ukambani but there are reports the trip has been pushed forward. He visited Kitui county last week.

Just last week, Ruto poured cold water on Jubilee’s second term performance saying government delivery went down after he was shoved aside from the heart of power.

“I can tell you for free that if I had the same latitude as I did in our first term, the story would be very, very different,” Ruto said during an interview on KTN.

Uhuru has largely kept off Rift Valley since his fallout with Ruto in 2018.

A section of leaders from Rift Valley claims Uhuru’s government has systematically stopped funding projects in Ruto’s home turf.

Soy MP Caleb Kositany Yesterday told the Star that development projects have now been skewed to favour supporters of the handshake between Uhuru and Raila.

Kositany who spoke to the Star during a phone interview said “several projects have stalled in Rift Valley and parts of Mt Kenya due to bad politics being played by Uhuru.”

“Several projects that were earmarked and were promised during the Jubilee campaigns have stopped. When you visit various counties in Rift Valley and Mt Kenya, you will see projects that have stalled midway,” the ex-Jubilee pasrty deputy secretary-general said.

He added, “He (Uhuru) does not care anymore for the regions that voted for him. He has kept off visiting Rift Valley and he only goes to Mt Kenya to read the riot act. But we will exercise patience for the 14 months that are remaining.”

The last time the President was in Ruto’s backyard was in June 2019 where he commissioned the ultra-modern Rivatex East Africa Limited and the laptop assembly factory in Eldoret town.

The President would later in August 2019 visit South Rift for the funeral service of former Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso.

Ruto’s allies have been unhappy with the stoppage of the Kimwarer and Arror dams that were rocked in multibillion scandals that led to the sacking of Treasury CS Henry Rotich.

In September 2019, a technical committee chaired by Infrastructure Principal Secretary Paul Maringa and comprising of Quantity Surveyor Julius Matu, Benjamin Mwangi and John Muiruri recommended the cancellation of the Sh22.2 billion Kimwarer Dam project.

The committee said the dam was overpriced and that the project was neither technically nor financially viable.

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said the implementation of government projects should not be based on the relationship between the President and the elected leaders from a particular region.

Speaking to the Star, the former Senate Majority leader said some development projects in Rift Valley have been stopped because some state operatives thought they were giving the DP undue credit.

“We want to see the President and the Deputy President meet leaders from every region to discuss development. We have the Jubilee manifesto and the pledges we made to our people. Those of us from Rift Valley would want to discuss the stalled projects, economy and the issues touching on farmers,” Murkomen said.

He added, “Now that cancellation and completion of projects depend on personal relations with the President, what will happen to the people of Rift Valley who despite voting for Uhuru have been shunned and despised? No wonder projects like Arror, Kimwarer, Itare, Bosto, Keben, Londiani Referral Hospital have been killed.” 

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