ODM elected leaders from Homabay County boycotted President William Ruto’s maiden trip to the region yesterday where he attended a prayer service at the AIC Church in Homabay town. After the service, the President held a roadside rally in the town. Homabay County governor Gladys Wanga said on her Facebook page that she was made aware of the president’s visit to the county but explained she could not be available to welcome him because of other engagements.
“I wish to extend a warm welcome to The President on behalf of the great people of Homa Bay County and request him to feel at home,” she said. “I am however out of the country on official duty and will therefore be unable to join him for the church service, I have communicated the same to His Excellency” she added. The governor was not the only elected leader absent; the county Senator Moses Kajwang claimed he had not received the invite to join the president on time for the function. “I got the information late, there should be a proper communication channel,” he said.
Homabay Town Constituency Member of Parliament George Peter Kaluma who was also absent claimed he was not sent an invite. “President William Ruto visits my constituency for worship. I don’t have information about the visit and I’m therefore unable to attend as I’m in Nairobi! His handlers who owed me information cried that I was not in Homa Bay to receive Ruto. Kwani am I The Holy Spirit? ” he asked.
The leaders’ absence during a church service has been criticized by some, the secretary to the Supreme Council of Kenyan Muslims (SUPKEM) Nuhu Masud in Homa Bay said it would have been in order if a section of leaders welcomed the president. “Not a single leader was present yet it was the first visit the president was making to Nyanza. It is a sign that our leaders do not recognize the current president,” he said.
According to sources President Ruto’s visit, his itinerary and his security arrangements were made public on Saturday evening. During his visit, the head of state promised residents that he would work with everyone, including regions where he faced hostility during his campaigns. “My government will work for everyone. That includes those who did not support us. I love all of you,” President Ruto said.