Nairobi set for high-octane politics as curtain falls on poll campaigns

Johnson Sakaja

Lang’ata MP Nickson Korir, Nairobi senator Johnson Sakaja and Westlands MP candidate Nelson Havi address the media at Nyayo National Stadium on August 5, 2022. 

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

Nairobi is set for high-octane politics today as the two main rival camps in Tuesday’s General Election pitch camp in the capital city.

The Raila Odinga-led Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party and Deputy President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance will hold their final rallies on opposite ends of the city on the last day of campaigns.

Azimio’s closing rally will take place at the Moi International Sports Complex, Kasarani, while across town Kenya Kwanza will be at Nyayo Stadium. The two campaign teams yesterday inspected their respective venues.

DP Ruto got his wish to hold his final rally at Nyayo Stadium after the court granted him orders against Sports Kenya, which had earlier cancelled the coalition’s application for the venue.

As the teams prepare for the final rallies, Saturday Nation has also obtained details of underway security preparations ahead of the election. Some 150,000 police officers will be deployed to provide security. The officers are drawn from the Kenya Police, Administration Police, General Service Unit, and others co-opted from the Kenya Forest Service and Kenya Prisons Service.

Unconstitutional

The security personnel will be coordinated by the National Police Service Election Secretariat under the leadership of Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai. The IG sits in the National Multi-Sectoral Consultative Forum on Election Preparedness.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in November 2021 withdrew from the Forum, terming it unconstitutional and claiming it infringed on its independence.

Members of the committee include Interior CS Fred Matiang'i and his PS Karanja Kibicho, Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, Chief Justice Martha Koome, Treasury CS Ukur Yatani, National Intelligence Service director general Philip Kameru, Mr Mutyambai, and Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.

Though the IEBC withdrew from the committee, it appears the committee has carried on with its task. It will be reporting to the National Security Advisory Committee, which, in turn, reports to the National Security Council, whose chairperson is the President. Deputy President, by law, also sits in the council.

Sh90 million

The National Police Service set the budget for policing the general election at Sh90 million, though the IEBC is required to provide allowances and three meals per day to officers guarding election materials at warehouses, polling stations and tallying centres and is also fuelling vehicles used by the police to escort election materials.

Mobilisation for the two rallies in the city were in high gear yesterday. Azimio secretary general Junet Mohamed said all was set for their final rally at Kasarani.

Speaking during an inspection tour of the venue, Mr Mohamed said they expect dignitaries and other senior officials to grace the ceremony, alongside hundreds of Mr Odinga’s supporters. He said Mr Odinga will use the event to make his final pitch to the country, and explain the importance of electing the Azimio ticket.

Jubilee vice chairman David Murathe could not confirm if President Uhuru Kenyatta will attend the rally. The President chairs the Azimio National Council, which is the highest decision-making organ of the coalition party. He said “the president has done his part.”

In Kenya Kwanza, United Democratic Alliance leaders in Nairobi, led by gubernatorial candidate Johnson Sakaja, urged Kenyans to show up in big numbers. Briefing the media on the state of their preparedness, Mr Sakaja said they had already put in place measures to ensure the success of the event. “Our presidential candidate has gone through many obstacles in his bid. Tomorrow (today) will be a prayer and thanksgiving opportunity for Kenya Kwanza and Kenyans who believe in our dream. We urge the youth to maintain peace during the event,” he said.

Lang’ata MP Nixon Korir urged the people who will attend the meeting to maintain peace. “We are all Kenyans and we want them to embrace peace. We have had a conversation with the security agents in this location and police officers will be deployed to maintain security,” he said.

Westlands MP candidate Nelson Havi and Starehe MP candidate Simon Mbugua were among other leaders present.

By Walter Menya, Silas Apollo and Ndubi Moturi

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