Campaign tracker: Six things you need to know about the election today

William Ruto and Raila Odinga

Deputy President William Ruto (left) and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leader Raila Odinga.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

1. Raila at the Coast

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party presidential aspirant Raila Odinga today heads to Kwale County on the third day of his four-day campaign blitz in the 1.9 million-vote-rich Coast region.

Mr Odinga started the tour with a series of political rallies Wednesday in Garsen, Bura and Hola towns in Tana River, before heading to Kilifi on Thursday. He is expected to hold rallies in Mombasa’s Tononoka grounds on Saturday.

2. Ruto in Nairobi

Dr Ruto took his campaigns to Nairobi County on Thursday evening, rallying residents behind the alliance’s governor candidate, Johnson Sakaja.

3. Ruto, Raila tied at 42 per cent: NMG poll

Dr Ruto and Mr Odinga are in a dead heat, according to a Nation Media Group opinion poll conducted last weekend.

The poll showed each of the two main presidential aspirants commanded 42 per cent of the popular vote.

According to the poll, Mr Odinga is strong on the Coast, with 55 per cent of the vote against Dr Ruto’s 29 per cent. 

This is a different picture from the 2017 figures that showed the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader led solidly with 73 per cent of the vote against President Uhuru Kenyatta’s 26 per cent.

The DP has improved marginally from the 2017 Jubilee ticket numbers, but Mr Odinga’s tally has markedly declined in a region his team considers a safe ground. Unless the undecided 15 per cent come to his side, there will be cause for concern for his team.

4. Raila, Ruto running mate search

And as Mr Odinga continues with his Coast tour, all eyes are on him as he searches for a running mate.

On Thursday, May 12, a panel he appointed to suggest candidates suitable for the role said they had sent him three names in a sealed envelope from where to pick his deputy.

The electoral commission has set Monday, May 16, as the deadline for presidential candidates to name their running mates.

Dr Ruto, on the other hand, has kept his cards close to his chest on the issue, only saying it was one of the “easiest choices”, compared with other policy issues his coalition is tackling.

An NMG opinion poll shows that former vice-president Musalia Mudavadi and 2013 presidential candidate Martha Karua are the most preferred running mates for DP Ruto and his main challenger Mr Odinga, respectively.

The survey, conducted last weekend by Infotrak Research, shows that Ms Karua, the Narc-Kenya leader who was among the 11 interviewed for the job, has a 41 per cent approval rating among those who say they will vote for Mr Odinga.

Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, who has insisted that he is the best person to deputise Mr Odinga on the Azimio One Kenya coalition ticket, having been his running mate in 2013 and 2017, comes in a distant second at 27 per cent.

5. Uhuru, Ruto meet in Cabinet for the first time in over a year

Dr Ruto came face to face with his boss President Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi, on Thursday when the Cabinet met for the first time in over a year

6. Sonko to join Nassir in Raila Mombasa rally

Mike Sonko

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko addresses journalists at Whitesands Beach Resort in Mombasa. Mr Sonko has shifted base to the coastal city.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group 

Former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko, now flying the Wiper flag in the Mombasa governor’s race, has said he will join Mr Odinga and ODM candidate Abdulswamad Nassir at a planned rally at the Tononoka grounds today.

Mr Sonko has already declared that he will use all his resources to campaign for Mr Odinga ahead of the August 9 General Election.

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