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A section of Luhya leaders have formally backed William Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid saying he is best placed to lead the country. The more than 15 MPs said Ruto’s past performance in the Ministries of Higher Education and Agriculture was testimony enough that he can take Kenya to the next level.

In addition, they said the Deputy President was known for initiating development projects throughout the country. They spoke on Sunday in Malava and Mumias East constituencies in Kakamega County when they accompanied Ruto for interdenominational prayers. Those present were Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, MPs Malulu Injendi (Malava), Justus Murunga (Matungu), Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), John Waluke (Sirisia), Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo), and Dan Wanyama (Webuye West).

Others were Benard Shinali (Ikolomani), Moses Mabonga (Bumula), Charles Gimose (Hamisi), Elsie Muhanda (Woman Rep, Kakamega), Naomi Shiyonga (Nominated Senator), and former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale. Injendi said Western region can no longer afford to be divided and continue suffering in the political cold.

“This time around, we have to get it right by being at the centre of the formation of the next government. And the surest route to that is supporting the Deputy President. That way we would develop,” he said.

He said the calls for Western communities getting united to support their fellow Luhya is a tired line with no goodwill and numbers to back it.

His sentiments were supported by Barasa and Mabonga who said it is only Ruto who has the focus and energy to transform Kenya.

“It is a fact we are not strong enough to have our own presidential candidate. That is why we must rally behind someone with our interests at heart,” Mabonga said.

Washiali said Ruto had demonstrated his ability through hard work and initiating developments projects.

He said the Deputy President was also a loyal leader while Muhanda said although she was in ODM, he supported Ruto because of his development record, especially in infrastructural development and education. Shinali argued that the Luhya community alone cannot lead the country unless it works with others. He said Ruto was the best to lead after President Uhuru Kenyatta. On his part, Waluke said they had been worn out by promises that have “no impact on the welfare of our people.”

“We must strategise and make a decision to back someone who is a friend to this region. We have suffered in the opposition for long with nothing forthcoming,” the Sirisia lawmaker, whose sentiments were echoed by Lusaka, said. The former Kakamega Senator observed that he would push for both Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula and ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi to back Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid.

“We want to deepen our support to Ruto as a united community,” he said. While calling for unity among Kenyans, Ruto urged the youth to exploit the huge opportunities offered to them by the government to enrich their skills. He said all students joining technical training colleges will no longer be asked to pay fees as the government would pay up to Sh30,000 a year and offer a loan to them.

“We are growing the capacity of the youths so that they can help us in pushing for the realisation of the Big Four Agenda,” he noted. At the same time, Ruto said the government was working on finding lucrative markets for alternative cash crops so that farmers can no longer suffer in the hands of cultivating just maize, sugarcane, coffee, tea, among others.

To realise this, he said he would work together with the leadership of Kakamega county and other regions in Kenya. “Our focus is to ensure that no place in Kenya is left behind in terms of development. But we must change our way of politics. We should not tolerate tribal or divisive politics. Let it be competitive but for the betterment of Kenya,” Ruto said.

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