Deputy President William Ruto cast the figure of a lonely man during his weekend overtures at the Coast region after area legislators gave his events a wide berth.
The Daily Nation on Monday, September 16, reported that DP Ruto’s events at the region were widely absconded, with only one coast MP attending the first day of his tour on Thursday, September 12.
On Saturday, his forays into Kwale were graced by only 3 area MPs, most notable amongst them being Malindi’s Aisha Jumwa and Nyali’s Mohammed Ali.
What painted grim prospects was that even though the DP visited Kilifi, Tana River, Kwale, and Taita Taveta counties, none of the governors from the regions graced his ‘development-driven’ events.
This time, Ruto was flanked by Malindi’s Aisha Jumwa, Mohammed Ali (Nyali), Paul Katana (Kaloleni), Benjamin Tayari (Kinango), Badi Twalib (Jomvu), Ali Wario (Garsen, Wiper), Kassim Tandaza (Matuga, ANC), Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga, Jubilee), Christine Zawadi (Jubilee, Nominated) and Athman Shariff (Lamu East, Jubilee).
Professor Hassan Mwakimako, a Coast-based political analyst told the Daily Nation that the absence of the Coast MPs from the region was due to ODM cracking the whip on ‘rogue’ party MPs asking them to toe the line or risk being kicked out.
“We saw the MPs being summoned and actions threatened against them. This move by ODM made others feel afraid of accompanying the DP, but his (Ruto) absence also saw him lose the base he had created for himself,” he stated.
Initially, DP Ruto enjoyed the support of many MPs from the coast region, led by Msambweni Member of Parliament Suleiman Dori, who is the chair of the Coast Parliamentary Group (CPG).
In August 2018, however, Raila ordered that the party undertakes disciplinary action on MPs who were going against party directive by supporting DP Ruto.
Dori rescinded his decision to support Ruto in March 2019 and returned to the party folds.
In July 2019, Kilifi North MP Owen Baya, another key supporter of DP Ruto, also denounced his support for the deputy president stating that he had always been in ODM.
Professor Mwakimako also stated that the reason that the DP was at the coast was to seek to solidify the base that he previously had a grip on.
“It is a fact that Ruto had made inroads in Coast before ODM launched disciplinary action against his supporters and scuttled the team. He is back to gather and strengthen the team and march on,” he was quoted.
ODM’s decision to punish Jumwa and Dori is reported to have cost the deputy president 15 legislators from the region