By The Weekly Vision
President William Ruto is scheduled to visit Bondo and Gem constituencies in Nyanza this week to commission development projects. The President’s planned tour to Raila Odinga’s home turf seems to have elicited varied reactions, according to a section of residents who spoke to The Weekly Vision.
In Bondo, the president will be hosted by rebel ODM party MP Dr Gideon Ochanda while in Gem; he will be hosted by another ODM rebel MP Elisha Odhiambo. The two rebel MPs from Raila Odinga’s backyard have decided to work closely with President Ruto. The two MPs were not Mr Odinga’s choice for Bondo and Gem in the last elections. His choice for Gem was his cousin Dr Jalang’o Jakoyo and his village mate Andiwo Mwai for Bondo. It was only due to public pressure that they were handed the ODM nomination certificates after going through endless humiliations and court processes.
What seems to be worrying Mr Odinga and his Azimio are reports from the ground that the majority of Bondo and Gem constituencies plan to give President Ruto a heroic welcome. Sources say the two MPs are on the ground mobilizing residents to turn out in large numbers to welcome the head of state. This is being done against the wishes of Raila Odinga and his lieutenants.
It is not clear at the moment if President Ruto’s State House extended any invite to Odinga Raila to attend the presidential functions but sources say as a matter of protocol and show of respect, all political leaders from the region shall be invited including Raila Odinga, whether he attends or not is another matter altogether.
It is on record that Mr Odinga has maintained that he does not recognize William Ruto as the duly elected President of Kenya and as such attending Ruto’s function may be interpreted to mean he has changed tune and now recognizes his presidency under the Kenya Kwanza administration. Should the people of Bondo and Gem come out in large numbers to welcome Ruto as intelligence reports indicate, it will be a sad political day for Raila Odinga who is now believed to have lost control of his former loyal supporters in the region.