Ruto, Raila in 10-day campaign blitz as elections draw closer

William Ruto Raila Odinga during campaign rallies

Kenya Kwanza's William Ruto (left) and Azimio's Raila Odinga during campaign rallies on July 27, 2022. Both have lined up rallies in a 10-day campaign blitz that ends on August 6.

Photo credit: DPPS & Pool

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition flagbearer Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto are in a race to the wire, both lining up rallies in a 10-day campaign blitz that ends on August 6.

Dr Ruto, the Kenya Kwanza Alliance candidate, has lined up 20 rallies in the 5.1 million vote-rich Mt Kenya region as well as in Western, Nairobi and the Coast.

Mr Odinga, on the other hand, has lined up 11 rallies, choosing to hold them in stadiums in strategic towns, instead of the stopover, vehicle sunroof politics that both campaigns have taken to in the last two months.

The official campaign period for the 2022 General Election kicked off on May 30 and will end at 6pm on August 6, being 48 hours before the August 9, 2022 polls.

Last rallies

To wrap up their campaigns, both Mr Odinga and Dr Ruto have planned their last rallies in Nairobi, which has 2.4 million voters. In 2017, President Uhuru Kenyatta polled 791,291 against Mr Odinga’s 828,826 votes.

Mr Odinga, who had previously insisted on holding his last rally at the Nyayo Stadium, has now said his last submission will be at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

An analysis of Mr Odinga’s campaign itinerary for the next 10 days shows he is targeting counties with high numbers of votes to raise his chances of ascending to the country’s top seat after the four failed attempts.

Azimio Secretary-General Junet Mohammed said that they are targeting at least 15 million votes.

“Our grand Azimio team has scheduled a series of rallies across the country as part of this historic journey to a fair, just, prosperous and inclusive nation,” said Mr Mohammed, who is also Suna East MP.

UDA chairman Johnson Muthama yesterday told the Nation that they have a tentative programme where the DP will hold rallies in Meru, Embu and Tharaka-Nithi, happening just days after his opponent Mr Odinga camped there.

“What we have now is a proposed schedule that will have some adjustments made at the last minute. In politics, you cannot continue with a political plan fully because of certain reasons,” said Mr Muthama.

Mr Odinga will Thursday camp in Nakuru, which has 1.05 million registered voters and voted overwhelmingly for Jubilee .

Following his political bromance with President Kenyatta, the former Prime Minister is banking on that relationship to increase his votes in the county after he garnered 110,857 votes in 2017 against the President’s 639,297.

‘Political deceit’

He’ll be in the county just a day after President Kenyatta camped in county for two days rallying the residents to vote for Mr Odinga while accusing his estranged deputy of what he described as “political deceit”.

Tomorrow, Mr Odinga will head to Machakos County in Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka’s Ukambani backyard, which now has a total of 1.7 million votes.

The former Prime Minister will then head to Narok on Saturday before raiding DP Ruto’s home turf of Uasin Gishu and Nandi on Sunday.

On Monday, August 1, Mr Odinga will head to President Kenyatta’s backyard of Kiambu. He will then proceed to Kisii on August 2, before heading to Kakamega’s Bukhungu Stadium on August 3.

Last Nyanza rally

On August 4, Mr Odinga will hold his last rally in his Nyanza backyard at the Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Kisumu.

These 11 counties that Mr Odinga will be camping in from today have a total of 9,474,177 votes.

The DP, on the other hand, will today be in Meru, Embu and Tharaka-Nithi. He will then go to Nandi, Busia and Bungoma on Friday, before holding rallies in Garissa and Mombasa on Saturday.

And as Mr Odinga camps in Dr Ruto’s political bastion of Nandi and Uasin Gishu counties on Sunday, the DP will be in Vihiga and Kakamega counties before proceeding to Uasin Gishu and Baringo on Monday.

He will then go to Laikipia, Nyandarua and Nakuru on August 2 before heading to Nyeri and Murang’a the following day.

City rallies

Next Thursday, the DP will be in Kirinyaga and Kiambu then be in Nairobi for the last two days of the campaigns, Friday and Saturday, as he tries to elbow out the ODM chief who has always led in the city.

While DP Ruto’s camp wants to marshal as many votes as possible in Mt Kenya, Mr Odinga’s camp is interested in getting just 40 per cent of votes, which they now say they have.

 “Baba na Martha are at 39 per cent while that other camp is 40 per cent. The Kikuyu feel more included in Azimio than in Ruto's camp because of Martha,” said former Water Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki.

“We are at an average of 49 per cent to 50 per cent and that tells you that Baba is winning with a margin of more than 50 per cent,” added Kieni MP Kanini Kega.

Multi-pronged approach

Mr Muthama said Kenya Kwanza has embarked on a multi-pronged approach to ensure that they win with a landslide.

“We have made vigorous campaigns in various corners of this country. In every ward, constituency and every county where we have candidates. With just 10 days to election day, we intend to maintain the same and even go a notch higher to make sure that we win the upcoming elections. We are not slowing down or reducing our speed,” he said.

According to DP Ruto’s presidential campaigns boss Governor Josphat Nanok, they have deployed all strategies to ensure that they get as many votes as possible in different parts of the country.

Intensify campaigns

“We will intensify those campaigns. We will use all legal means and all strategies within what is required in law, including mobilising people to vote and protect the votes,” Mr Nanok said.

But with DP Ruto covering at least three counties in a day, political pundits have raised concerns over the efficiency and effectiveness of such meetings that last only for 30 minutes or less.

Prof Masibo Lumala of Moi University said that most rallies have witnessed language barriers, arguing that when politicians decide to use English, many who do not understand that language are left out and remain unconvinced.

“We have seen these politicians addressing crowds in English when in rural areas, who are they addressing? It means that they use those meetings to address people who are far from where they are, making their campaigns ineffective,” he said.