Samboja launches campaign for Raila Odinga

Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja during a previous interview. 

Photo credit: Lucy Mkanyika I Nation Media Group.

Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja has started rallying residents behind ODM leader Raila Odinga's presidential bid ahead of next year's General Election.

The governor is among the region's key players in Mr Odinga’s 2022 campaigns as he aims to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.

During the Azimio la Umoja forum in Mombasa in September, he other leaders, including governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa) and Dhado Godhana (Tana River), settled on Mr Odinga for the top seat, saying he had a good vision for the region and the country at large.

Mr Samboja has launched a massive campaign to counter Deputy President William Ruto, who also wants the State House seat.

The DP has been making inroads across the region to popularise the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party.

The Coast region overwhelmingly voted for ODM in the past two General Elections but some leaders have already joined the DP's camp.

To back Mr Odinga's bid, Mr Samboja said the region is ready for his presidency and urged residents to back him ahead of the 2022 elections.

The governor said the ODM leader, who has for years enjoyed the region's support, will address their plight, adding that he will only be able to achieve that by taking the presidency.

"This man (Mr Odinga) has been persistent in the reforms agenda. We should give him our support to uplift the economic standards of this region," he told Mwatate residents.

"I urge you, in all humility, to vote for him. We should give him a five-year term to transform this country."

He vowed to ensure that he combs the entire county for votes.

To defend his seat in 2022, the governor has embarked on a series of grassroots rallies to woo residents.

He said his administration has transformed the county by implementing development in all sectors.

He cited the 160-bed Mwatate Sub-County Hospital, its Intensive Care Unit (ICU), the Mwatate modern market as some of his achievements since he took power in 2017.

"Since independence, we have never had an ICU in this county. Residents in need of special medical care were transferred to other counties for treatment. This is a huge achievement," he said.

Mr Samboja said the new hospital will offer more services to patients and minimise transfer cases by complimenting Moi County Referral Hospital in Voi.

Since the famous handshake between the President and the former Prime Minister, the region has warmed up to the Jubilee government.

On Monday, Wundanyi MP Danson Mwashako and his Mwatate counterpart Andrew Mwadime praised the Jubilee government for considering the county for several projects.

Mr Mwashako slammed DP Ruto’s “hustler” politics, saying it was misleading.

"Let no one lie to you that they will give you a wheelbarrow that will change your life. If you don't work, you will remain poor," Mr Mwashako said.

The Wiper MP said the region is behind the President and urged residents not to be misled by politicians who criticise the government and only ride on its successes.

"We are waiting for (President Kenyatta’s) signal to show us the way forward. I will come back here to tell you the way forward for 2022," he told his constituents.

The President has been vouching for Mr Odinga as his successor. Contrary to the MP's statement, his party leader Kalonzo Musyoka has vowed that he will not play second fiddle to anybody.

For his part, Mr Mwadime, who wants to unseat Governor Samboja, noted that the Sh2.2 billion Mto Mwagodi-Msau-Mbale-Werugha-Mgange-Bura road, whose construction was launched by Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, was among mega projects brought by the Jubilee administration.

"We never thought that this project would come this early. Apart from this road, we have the Voi-Taveta-Holili highway, which was also implemented by this administration," he said.

Mr Mwadime was elected on an ODM party ticket in 2013 and is likely to face off with the incumbent, who seems to have shifted his allegiance to Mr Odinga.

Mr Samboja was elected on a Wiper ticket but has never taken part in any of its activities.

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