Deputy President William Ruto yesterday ramped up his tour of the Coast, promising to prioritise agriculture and food production to help address food shortage in the country.
Ruto was in drought-hit Ganze sub-County in Kilifi as he continued on his five-day tour of the region. He blamed Handshake politics for the current food crisis in some parts of the country.
The DP, in an apparent reference to ODM leader Raila Odinga, said the Jubilee government was distracted from its agenda on food security by the Handshake politics, which bred the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
“We had the Big Four agenda and food security was one of the the priority areas, but “that man of riddles” came in and destroyed plans. That is why we are suffering,” said Ruto, who has been uncomfortable with the 2018 Handshake between Raila and President Uhuru Kenyatta.
He said the Jubilee government’s food security agenda was shelved and replaced with BBI.
“Kenyans want seeds, fertiliser, water and a market for their produce. We must eradicate hunger and put money in the pockets of farmers,” he said.
He said he had been a victim of hunger and if given the mandate to lead the country, he would ensure that no Kenyan sleeps hungry.
“I have slept hungry before. There are leaders who have never slept hungry. That is why hunger problem doesn’t end in Kenya,” Ruto said.
“In our next government, we will emphasise food security that was disrupted by reggae when the Opposition joined the government.”
Ruto was accompanied by Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, her Kilifi North counterpart Owen Baya, Benjamin Tayari of Kinango and Sokoke ward MCA Thaura Mweni.
He said food donation was a temporary measure and not sustainable.
Mweni gave Ruto a proposal for the construction of a Sh36 billion multi-purpose dam, which he said would end hunger.
The DP donated 1,000 bales of maize to the residents of Vitengeni area in Ganze.
Ruto is at the coast for a five-day tour of Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Taita Taveta and Lamu counties.
Yesterday, ODM leaders at the Coast said the DP had failed to address issues close to peoples’ hearts.
“He has not said anything, especially on historical land problem and ongoing demolition of houses on the Mombasa-Lunga Lunga road,” said Kwale Woman Representative Zuleikha Hassa.
On Thursday, Ruto toured Taita Taveta County. Yesterday, a section of United Democratic Alliance leaders in Taita Taveta County said they were not involved in the planning of the tour.
Former Senator Dan Mwazo and Lawyer Stephen Mwakesi, the DP’s key allies in the region, skipped the meeting amid growing cracks in the party over who should be the region’s spokesman.
Elsewhere, Ruto’s allies yesterday said all presidential contenders were free to take their campaigns to the Rift Valley.
Speaking in Keben in Belgut constituency, leaders led by Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi dispelled the notion that the region has been hostile since the 2007 post-election violence, saying this had given Ruto a bad name.
Sudi said the leaders from the region had agreed to correct the perception that the region was a no-go zone for those with divergent political views.
By The Standard