Raila is bad for Kenya economy, says President

President Uhuru Kenyatta greets Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua on arrival Kianyaga in Kirinyaga county on November 29, 2016. PHOTO| JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Ms Karua recently told supporters that they are free to support Mr Kenyatta’s re-election bid but should back her for the governor’s seat.
  • The President warned residents of Murang’a and Kirinyaga not to be misled by what he called propaganda from Cord.
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta made it clear that he had no favourite candidate for Kirinyaga governor's seat.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday escalated his attacks on opposition leader Raila Odinga as he assured Kenyans that he would not allow the unending criticism of his government by the opposition to interfere with Jubilee’s key projects.

As he wound up his two-day Central Kenya tour which took him to four counties the President and his deputy William Ruto described the Opposition leader as an “idler who has nothing else to do but criticise Jubilee.

“Only an idle person cannot see what we have done. Even if he asks his neighbour in Bondo whom we have connected with electricity, they will show you our achievement. But I forgive him because he is idle,” said the President.

He warned residents of Murang’a and Kirinyaga not to be misled by what he called propaganda from Cord, saying if Cord came to power or joined any coalition government, it would slow down economic growth.

“When Kibaki was in power, the economy grew by close to eight per cent in 2007. When Raila joined the coalition government in 2008, the economy contracted to 0.5 per cent. This is not a man you want in government,” he said. 

Mr Ruto also blamed the former PM for the decline of the economy in 2008; “Huu mganga anajua tu kuongea uwongo na vitendeawili za mpira. (He only knows how to lie and entertain people with football analogies.”

The President came face to face with the two tough yet asymmetrical rivals for the Kirinyaga governor’s seat and said he favoured no aspirant in the Mt Kenya region in the 2017 elections.

He first met Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, his critic-turned-supporter, at Kerugoya Stadium and gave her a hug in a rare show of the political bond that has been growing between the two in recent months.

“Ms Karua is a warrior and I want to tell her to join Jubilee if she wants to work with the government. We must be in one party, Jubilee,” said the President.

When she was invited to greet the crowd by Mr Ruto, they cheered her but shouted that she joins Jubilee. But Ms Karua flashed her party’s two-finger salute and climbed down from the dais. She later attended the rally in Kianyaga.

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“I have no problem working with the President,” said the Narc Kenya leader.

But the Head of State made it clear that he had no favourite candidate for the seat of governor in the region.

“I’m not endorsing anyone for the position of governor or any other seat. It is the people who will choose the governor of Kirinyaga. The residents will also democratically decide who will be their woman representative, ward representative or MP,” he said.

Ms Karua recently told supporters that they are free to support Mr Kenyatta’s re-election bid but should back her for the governor’s seat.

Later in Kianyaga, the President met and greeted with both hands former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, who made a dramatic exit from the Cabinet over a Sh791 million scandal at the National Youth Service. Ms Karua who was also present, received a second hug.

The President delivered his basket of goodies including waiving coffee debts worth Sh2.4 billion, commissioned Sh3 billion roads in Kirinyaga and Murang’a counties and medical equipment at both Murang’a and Kerugoya county referral hospitals.

Analysts say the President was trying to energise his base by blaming everything on Mr Odinga.

He consolidated the central vote in 2013 by embarking on an anti-Raila campaign that painted the opposition leader as a stooge of the West and an enemy of the region.

He was then facing cases against humanity at the International Criminal Court at the Hague.

President Kenyatta also warned contractors that they risk losing opportunities to work with the government if they fail to meet deadlines or did shoddy jobs.

“Do not tender for a job that you cannot do. Any contractor who leaves or abandons work halfway will be blacklisted,” he said.

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