Jitters as Raila starts Mt Kenya tour

Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga campaigning in Chaka, Nyeri County on July 5, 2022.

Photo credit: James Murimi I Nation Media Group

Nyeri Narc-Kenya Senate candidate Kabando wa Kabando has hit out at the county’s Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition campaign team, saying it has been infiltrated by individuals “who are aimed at precipitating infighting”.

Shortly before the visit by the coalition’s brigade began in the county, the former Mukurwe-ini MP complained that some local leaders on the team were fighting him and the Ms Martha Karua-led Narc-Kenya party.

“Azimio in Nyeri is hijacked by greed, crudity. Crooks do it during election time – money, brokerage. These captives to [the] miasma of deceit will never learn that power is with the people; every vote counts. They messed up Martha's last visit. They’re fighting Senator Kabando and Narc-Kenya,” Mr Kabando said.

Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate, Ms Karua, were expected to hold a meet-the-people tour today in Chaka, Karatina, Mukurwe-ini, Othaya, Giakanja and Nyeri towns.
Mr Kabando protested the push for a six-piece voting pattern in the August 9 elections.

“Nyeri doesn’t vote “suits”. 2017 was 1988 when [the] shortest lines were declared longest! We're working hard & smart to convert masses to trust #BabaNaMartha safest duo. On all other slots ‘Let the people decide! We are capable of fighting our own local vote battles,” he posted.

Mr Kabando and former Nyeri woman representative Priscilla Nyokabi (Jubilee) are contesting the county Senate seat against Mr Wahome Wamatinga of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) that is led by Deputy President William Ruto.

Welcoming Mr Odinga and Ms Karua to Nyeri, Mr Kabando said that among issues affecting locals were desperation due to school fees, hospital bills, hunger, alcoholism, mental illness, dangerous drugs and unfinished projects.

He said leaders should talk about new policies and “new systems to assist our people [and] rescue our youths”.

Mr Odinga and Ms Karua’s tour comes amid growing discontent in the Kenya Kwanza formation and growing Azimio popularity in the region.

Mr Odinga’s campaign press secretary Dennis Onsarigo said the Azimio brigade will kick off their campaigns in Nyeri County on Tuesday as Mr Odinga’s bid for President reaches the home stretch.

The tour will take them to Kiambu and Kirinyaga counties on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

Mr Odinga’s tour comes as his nemesis, DP Ruto, faces a rebellion from his Kenya Kwanza parties in the vote-rich region that allege non-UDA candidates had been sidelined in the campaigns.

At least four leaders of parties in the region affiliated to the alliance have trained their guns on Dr Ruto’s running mate, Rigathi Gachagua, whom many are referring to as a ‘dictator’.

The Mathira constituency legislator has been urging supporters to vote for only UDA candidates and not those of smaller parties in the coalition

This has rubbed some leaders the wrong way, with William Kabogo of the Tujibebe Wakenya party accusing Mr Gachagua of being a dictator and unfit to deputise Mr Ruto.

Mr Mwangi Kiunjuri, the leader of The Service Party (TSP), has also expressed his misgivings about the sidelining of small parties.

If complaints from small parties in Kenya Kwanza are not resolved, pundits warn, this will affect voter turnout in Mt Kenya.

In May, after keeping Kenyans guessing for months, the two leading presidential contenders named their running mates from Mt Kenya, indicating how crucial the region’s 5,122,020 votes are in determining the next President.

The entry of Ms Karua, who hails from Kirinyaga County, has proved to be a game changer, with some locals switching to Mr Odinga’s camp.

During a recent tour of her home county, Ms Karua drummed up support for Mr Odinga, saying the Azimio ticket is the best to deliver what Kenyans have been yearning for.

On Tuesday, Mr Odinga’s campaign caravan criss-crossed Nyeri County amid renditions of “Lero ni Lero”.
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