Kenya elections: Why farmers like William Ruto big ambitions

William Ruto for one campaign rally in June 2022

William Ruto for one campaign rally in June 2022

Na great farmer – na how some pipo wey gada for one small shopping centre for Kosachei town, western Kenya take describe Deputy President William Ruto, wey dey run for di presidency for di 9 August election.

Oga Ruto na one of Kenya biggest maize farmers. Im big farm wey dey close to di shopping centre, na evidence of im wealth.

Women dey buy vegetables, bananas and eggs from di farm and dey sell am for markets for nearby towns.

Men dey work as casual labourers on di farm.

Di farm wey dey behind one black metal gate dey heavily guarded by police.

Oga Ruto get very large pieces of land across di kontri and pipo don raise concerns on how e get some of dem.

For June 2013, High Court order am to surrender 100-acre (40-hectare) farm, and compensate one farmer wey accuse am say e grab di land during di 2007 post-election violence. E deny any wrongdoing.

For dat election, e support di presidential bid of Raila Odinga, wey be im main challenger now – dis show how di political alliances for Kenya dey constantly shift as leaders dey calculate how best to secure power.

Kenya Daily Nation newspaper say oga Ruto dey enjoy one cult-like following among im supporters. But di most recent nationwide opinion poll – wey oga Ruto don dismiss as “manufactured” – show say e dey come behind oga Odinga by 37% to 43%.

Kosachei residents dey hopeful say e go win, and help farmers increase diayields and make Kenya self-sufficient for food.

“He be good neighbour wey dey teach us how to farm. Back when e be di minister for agriculture, e reduce di price of fertiliser. Di price of fertiliser dat time bin high well-well. He be di only one wey understand di issues of farmers,” vegetable seller Mama Sasha tok.

Mama Sasha and her friends showcase cabbages outside her stall for Kosachei

Mama Sasha (L) and her friends showcase cabbages outside her stall for Kosachei

Oga Ruto farm dey for Uasin Gishu county alongside oda neighbouring counties – dey produce most of Kenya maize.

Plenty controversies on payment dey about im supply to di national cereal board.

For 2018, one company wey dey registered under di names of Mr Ruto wife and son bin dey under investigation on top di supply of maize wey worth millions of Kenyan shillings, but di anti-corruption agency cleared am.

Oga Ruto neighbours for Kosachei defend am, e say dem dey target am for manner wey no dey fair.

Dem no gree condemn am but blame di outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta – wey dey support Odinga afta e get fall out wit im deputy early in dia second term – for goment sake of failures.

For dem, Oga Ruto na di source of dia livelihood and “if e win na everyone win”.

“If a ‘mama mboga’ [vegetable vendor] no get capital to start business, dem go, go im farm to get produce and start dia business,” Mama Sasha tell us as she dey show off some cabbages and traditional vegetables from Oga Ruto farm.

Her mud-walled stall dey located metres away from oga Ruto farm.

E don promise cheaper loans to farmers to help dem meet di costs of production and provide ready markets for dia produce.

Edward Barngetuny for im maize farm

Farmer Edward Barngetuny want all taxes on farm implements to dey scrapped

One maize, dairy and sheep farmer, Edward Barngetuny, wey im 40-acre farm dey for di Salient area of neighbouring Nandi County, say di increase for di cost of fertiliser don make farmers reduce di size of di lands dem dey farm on.

Di price of maize dey regulated by demand and supply forces wey make am dey unpredictable.

Currently, one bag of maize dey sell for di highest price ever but some farmers for oga Ruto home area don already abandon di crop for sugarcane wey goment dey regulate di price.

“We go like am [Ruto] to remove all taxes on farm implements. Implements don become very expensive yet we want to mechanise to increase yield,” oga Barngetuny tok.

E ignore di recently announced subsidy on maize flour – wey go last for di next month – as election trick, e say e no go affect most growers as di next harvest na until December.

“Dis na just to entice Kenyans to vote for di upcoming elections,” e tok.

Dairy farming also dey huge for western Kenya and di Kalenjin community, wia Ruto dey hail say get traditional delicacy wey dem call “mursik”.

Mursik na milk dem ferment inside traditional gourd wey dey lined wit soot from branches of specific trees for preservation and flavour.

Nelly Kulei don dey mursik business for more than 20 years and e say dis year bin dey tough.

Nelly Kulei demonstrates how dem dey produce Mursik

Mursik seller Nelly Kulei says she has been hit by milk shortages

“Milk shortages and di rising cost of living affect us. We dey hope say tins go change after dis election,” one mother of five tok as she demonstrate how dem dey make mursik.

Di Kalenjin community don produce Kenya longest-serving president, di late Daniel arap Moi, wey rule for 24 years.

For Eldoret town, some group of residents dey regularly meet to discuss politics for wetin dem call “Bunge la Mwananchi”, Swahili words for Pipo Parliament.

One former aspiring MP Dan Langat tell dem about di need for di Kalenjin community to give dia full backing to Mr Ruto, wey go replace di late Mr Moi as di community kingpin.

“We dey hopeful say Mr Ruto go take di presidency and reinstate our position for di kontry,” e tell di crowd.

Dan Langat tok to group of locals in Eldoret town

Dan Langadon gada pipo to support William Ruto’ presidential bid

Eldoret don grow to become Kenya fourth largest town. Dem just build one new skyscraper for di hilly town.

Di town dey full wit traders, most of dem dey sell agricultural produce.

E also be home to major textile firms wey provide employment to thousands.

One of dem, Zaritex, wey di owner na Daniel Odhiambo come from Luo community, like Raila Odinga.

E say while Eldoret na violence hotspot during elections, im no get plans to travel back home to Kisumu e no get fear of being targeted because of im ethnic background.

E add say about 50% of im employees na locals from Kalenjin community and they dem dey relate well.

Second hand clothing business also dey sell well-well for Eldoret.

Oga Odinga bin cause controversy wen e tok say na pipo wey don die for Europe wear di second-hand clothes but later clear am say im go support traders wey dey sell am even as im dey find ways to grow di local textile industry.

Tabitha Mumbi, say di second hand clothing sector don offer a means of livelihood to millions of Kenyans.

Miles away for di rolling hills of Iten, wey dey known as di home of champions as na dia most of di kontri celebrated athletes come from, runners dey hopeful say Ruto victory go benefit di sport.


Iten dey famous for producing athletics stars

Kamariny stadium – wey Mr Ruto promise for 2017 say go dey completed in six months – still dey under renovation.

“Lack of support still dey for athletes wey wan compete for track events. Dat na why we dey see preference for road races. No facilities dey for athletes to take train for track events,” coach Peter Bii tok. He blame contractors for di delay in completing work on di stadium.

E say most athletes wey dey come Iten to train dey end up frustrated because of lack of support – and dem want better organisation.

“Mr Ruto go need to disband Athletics Kenya as di current composition dey full of retirees wey lack creativity,” e tok.

Di coach comments underline di high expectations wey Mr Ruto supporters get – but e go first need to show dem say im be winner by racing to victory.

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