Members of Parliament allied to Deputy President William Ruto have directed their anger and frustration at Raila Odinga over mega projects initiated by the government in parts of Nyanza.
Raila’s 3 mega projects that have angered DP Ruto’s camp
“They have been moving around claiming Ruto brings development. Why can’t they ask him to bring it to western? - Edwin Sifuna
The legislators, led by Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, his Matungu counterpart Justus Murunga, and former Kakamega senator Boni Khalwale openly expressed their frustrations, accusing Mr Odinga of using his influence to concentrate projects in his Nyanza backyard while ignoring the rest of western Kenya.
“Raila no longer values western where he claims to be the 13th grandson of Wanga King Nabongo Mumia,” said Dr Khalwale.
The three pointed out the various projects that have been implemented in Nyanza region following the handshake deal.
Among them is the revival of Kisumu Port which will be commissioned by Mr Kenyatta this week, the Kisumu oil jetty and the standard gauge railway.
Revival of Kicomi factory and the launch of a socio-economic zone in Kisumu is also underway in what the disgruntled politicians claim is part of the benefits of the handshake deal that should benefit the greater Western Kenya region.
The trio who were speaking at a public event in Matungu maintained that the former Prime Minister has given other regions that supported him a raw deal, alleging that he has instead opted to ‘take’ projects to his Nyanza home turf.
They demanded that Mr Odinga uses his close working relationship with the president to revive the collapsed Mumias Sugar Company.
Also on their list of demands is the expansion and upgrade of Kakamega Airstrip and the tarmacking of roads.
Similar concerns were echoed by Kinango MP Benjamin Tayari (ODM) who called on leaders from the Coast region to unite and push for the region’s agenda, stating that the handshake has not helped the region.
In the midst of the criticism, Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi has defended Odinga, clarifying that the so called 'handshake projects' are government projects.
Mudavadi dismissed claims that western Kenya had been sidelined, stating that the projects being referred to were initiated way before Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga started working together.
"Let me talk about what is erroneously being called ‘handshake projects’. I think sometimes we use terms in very strange ways,” Said Mudavadi in a recent interview with Nation.
"If you are talking about rehabilitation of the port of Kisumu, this is public expenditure programmed within the Ministry of Infrastructure and done through the Kenya Ports Authority," he added.
ODM secretary-general Edwin Sifuna and national chairman John Mbadi challenged the disgruntled MPs to seek Mr Ruto’s help in delivering projects to the region.
“They have been moving around claiming Ruto brings development. Why can’t they ask him to bring it to western? Raila is not in government but Ruto is,” Mr Sifuna said.
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