Storm over Ruto offer to Wamalwa in western

Deputy President William Ruto

A promise by Deputy President William Ruto to name Water CS Eugene Wamalwa his running mate in 2022 has kicked off a political storm in Western Kenya.

The DP’s announcement last week during a tour of Bungoma County has ruffled feathers within Jubilee and the National Super Alliance (NASA).

NASA co-principal Moses Wetang’ula immediately dismissed the DP’s announcement. “Ruto was insincere and was only engaging in mind games,” he said.

Legislators Yusuf Chanzu (Vihiga – ANC) and Enock Kibunguchi (Likuyani – Ford K) argued that the community was not interested in the deputy president slot. Mr Chanzu described Mr Wamalwa as a desperate man associating with Jubilee for political survival. He cautioned the CS to tread carefully, saying he risked being politically irrelevant. Kibunguchi said the Luhya will not be swayed to blindly vote for Jubilee. But as the NASA leaders tore into Wamalwa and Ruto, Jubilee allies said the CS had what it takes to lead the region.

Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka and legislators Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), Boniface Otsiula (Bumula) and Dan Wanyama (Webuye West) accused the NASA team of undermining Wamalwa.

Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba said leaders supporting Jubilee should not be seen as lesser Luhyas. “We are community leaders just like Wetang’ula and Musalia Mudavadi. We have the capacity to steer Western in the right direction,” said Namwamba.

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Last week, Ruto claimed the region was in a better position to clinch the presidency by working with the Jubilee administration. He told Bungoma residents that he was sure of succeeding President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022.

“I ask you to support us because we are in this together. I will pick Eugene as my running mate and when I complete my term, I will support him to ascend to the top seat,” said Ruto.

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