Deputy President William Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid has gathered steam at the Coast with several leaders, many of them from Raila Odinga’s party, promising to rally voters behind him.
On a day when the DP urged politicians against introducing divisive politics in the unity pact between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga, he was showered with praise and support despite his call to focus on development after bruising poll.
The DP said the electioneering period had ended and that it was time for the leaders to get down to work and deliver on their pledges regardless of their political affiliations.
“We should shun hatred, wrangles, tribal and party politics. Let us all unite, work together and bring development to Kenyans,” he said
Mr Ruto asked politicians to let Kenyans make their own political decisions.
“Kenyans are very intelligent people. They know the decision they will make when the time comes,” he said.
The DP also urged all the arms of government to work together to eradicate corruption in the country.
“The fight against corruption is the work of the government. The Executive, Legislature and Judiciary must team up so that we can effectively work against those who undermine our development and our progress through corruption,” he said.
“This is a fight for the development of our nation and therefore all of us must stand on the same side.”
The DP urged leaders to steer clear of petty issues and focus on fighting corruption.
“There are only two sides in the war against graft, those who are on the side of integrity fighting corruption and those who are not,” he said.
He was speaking at Kwale Show Grounds during an Iftar dinner hosted by Msambweni MP Suleiman Dori.
Coast politicians allied to National Super Alliance (Nasa) present at the function vowed to continue supporting Mr Ruto’s bid for the 2022 presidential bid despite threats from their affiliate parties.
The lawmakers, majority of them from Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) said no amount of threats will stop them from supporting Mr Ruto.
Led by Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, the lawmakers said they are simply extending a handshake initiated by Mr Odinga and Mr Kenyatta.
“We have already built bridges, what we are doing now is that we are walking on them. That is why we are crisscrossing the country to preach peace and promote unity,” she said.
Ms Jumwa said the region had remained in the cold for supporting the opposition and now they need to rally behind Mr Ruto so that they can be part of the next government.
She urged all politicians from the region to support Mr Ruto’s presidential bid.
“Will we keep on voting and remaining in opposition? We must be in the next government that will be formed by Mr Ruto. Let us remember him at the ballot,” she said.
Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani urged opposition party politicians to join Mr Ruto’s camp, telling them not to be afraid of sanctions.
“We have been there before. We have been threatened with sanctions but it failed miserably. The journey will be long, bumpy and rocky but do not give up,” he said.
Mr Dori told off ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna for threatening disciplinary actions against legislators who have endorsed Mr Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid.
“We are not the kind of people to be threatened, we need to be respected,” he said
Mr Dori wondered why ODM party has not sanctioned Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho after his handshake with Kanu Chairman Gideon Moi.
“Mr Ruto is Kenyan and we will continue supporting him. We want to work with him so that we can bring development at the Coast. We should not be questioned by anyone when we declare our support for him,” Jomvu MP Badi Twalib said.
More than 10 legislators across the country who attended the function vowed to support Mr Ruto in his 2022 presidential bid.
Other MPs present include Owen Baya (Kilifi North), Jones Mlolwa (Voi), Kasim Tandaza (Matuga), among others.
The legislators called on all leaders across the political divide to unite for the sake of the country’s peace and stability.
Taita Taveta Senator Johnes Mwaruma and his Mombasa counterpart Mohamed Faki called for unity and asked leaders to embrace peace.
Mr Mwaruma told the DP that Taita Taveta residents were warming up to receive him.
“The residents are talking positively about you. They are eagerly waiting to welcome and receive you,” he told Mr Ruto.
Senator Faki said unity was key to driving the country’s development agenda forward.
Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya assured the DP that the Coast voters were solidly behind him