I’ll bring water to Ukambani region, says Raila


Azimio flag bearer Raila Odinga (right), Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka (second left),  Narc leader Charity Ngilu and Muungano’s Kivutha Kibwana at a rally in Mukuru Kwa Njenga, Nairobi.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya flagbearer Raila Odinga has pledged mega water projects in Ukambani as he seeks to boost his chances of bagging the 2.7 million votes in the region in the August 9 elections.

The former Prime Minister will prioritise rain harvesting and launch projects to tap Mzima Springs on the border of Makueni and Taita Taveta to alleviate water scarcity in Kitui, Machakos and Makueni counties.

Mr Odinga wondered why availability of water remains a major problem yet there are many rivers in the region. The government is building the Sh64 billion Thwake Dam at the confluence of Athi and Thwake rivers, which will supply millions of residents.

“Ngilu (Kitui Governor Charity) has told me that Ukambani needs water and not food aid. We shall roll out an aggressive rain water harvesting programme that entails construction of dams to spur agribusiness in Ukambani,” Mr Odinga said at Kibwezi Township in Makueni County.

He also pledged to fast-track the resolution of a longstanding boundary dispute between Makueni and Taita Taveta counties, if elected.

The dispute usually sparks tensions among the border communities, particularly during elections. “The boundary dispute is a small matter, don’t sweat over it. We shall form a commission to fix it,” he said.

This is the second time in a week that the Orange Democratic Movement leader is campaigning in the region that overwhelmingly voted for him in 2013 and 2017 when Wiper boss Kalonzo Musyoka was his running mate.

Cannot be trusted with leadership

He was accompanied by Mr Musyoka, Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli, former Unctad boss Mukhisa Kituyi and former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth.

Mr Mohamed said Deputy President William Ruto cannot be trusted with leadership while Mr Atwoli faulted the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for clearing the DP.

“I insist, Dr Ruto will not be the president. He should not have been cleared to vie,” said Mr Atwoli, adding that Dr Ruto has failed the integrity test required of presidential candidates.

He, however, exuded confidence that Mr Odinga would win the election and succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta. Mr Musyoka vowed to end his differences with Ms Ngilu and Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana for the sake of Mr Odinga’s presidential bid.

“No one is interested in anything else but making Mr Odinga the fifth President of the Republic of Kenya,” Mr Musyoka said at Mtito Andei Township.

On Sunday, Prof Kibwana and Ms Ngilu had cautioned Mr Musyoka against using Mr Odinga’s rallies to campaign for Wiper candidates.
A key highlight of the campaign stops at Mtito Andei, Machinery, Kibwezi, Nunguni and Kikima townships was winning the support of a section of Maendeleo Chap Chap Party (MCCP) candidates in the area led by former Machakos chief of staff Mwengi Mutuse.

In defiance to MCCP leader Alfred Mutua, who backs Dr Ruto, Mr Mutuse endorsed Mr Odinga at Kibwezi Township.

“The Azimio ticket breaks the omen of having the presidency revolve around two main communities,” said Mr Mutuse, who is vying for Kibwezi West Constituency in Makueni County.

Mr Musyoka, Ms Ngilu and Prof Kibwana celebrated Mr Mutuse’s move as a major boost to the Azimio camp.