Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga wants Mt Kenya residents to reciprocate his support for former President Mwai Kibaki in the 2002 elections.
Mr Kibaki, who died in April, was bedridden following an accident near Machakos just over two months to the December 2002 elections that left him out of the campaign trail.
It was then that Mr Odinga, who had earlier rallied behind Mr Kibaki with his ‘Kibaki Tosha’ declaration, made the oft-quoted statement that “the captain is injured, but the match goes on”.
Mr Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua took Nyeri County by storm yesterday, where he urged residents to respond in kind to his 2002 gesture during the August polls.
Mr Odinga, who made whistle-stop tours of the agriculture-rich county — the home of Kenya Kwanza running mate Rigathi Gachagua and late Kibaki’s turf — recalled he took over the Narc leader’s campaigns when he was involved in an accident.
“I ensured that he (Kibaki) clinched the presidency. It is now your time to reciprocate that favour I did for Kibaki,” Mr Odinga said.
At Othaya town, Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, a close confidant of Mr Odinga, sensationally claimed that Deputy President William Ruto pressurised Mr Odinga to reject the results of the 2007 elections that led to unprecedented post-election violence.
This was after the Azimio brigade led by Mr Odinga’s running mate Karua took on Dr Ruto, terming him a temperamental person not fit to lead the country.
Mr Mohamed said: “This person, the Deputy President, has told us that he wanted to slap Mr Kenyatta in a bid to force him to reject the outcome of a court decision to annul the 2017 General Election. Let me tell you today that he is the same person who exerted pressure on Baba to reject the outcome of the 2007 election. You all know what happened after that. Is this person fit to lead Kenya?”
Ms Karua said, by admitting that he almost slapped President Kenyatta, Dr Ruto is a vengeful character who is likely to trample upon Kenyans’ rights.
“If someone is daring enough to confront the Head of State and even threaten to slap him, what do you think can happen to the ordinary Kenyan if such person is wielding presidential powers. He is likely to misuse those powers and trample upon your rights,” she said.
Mombasa Governor Ali Joho and Kieni MP Kanini Kega echoed Ms Karua’s sentiments, saying that by disrespecting his boss and threating to investigate him if he wins the election, the DP has proved that he cannot be trusted with the country’s leadership.
Ms Karua exuded confidence that Mr Odinga had ‘climbed’ the mountain and urged locals to back the Azimio candidate, saying a “vote for Raila is a vote for Martha”.
Read: Raila's path to glory
Parading Mr Odinga to Nyeri town residents, Ms Karua said: “This is the same Raila who said Kibaki Tosha. He is the same Raila who had a handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta and stabilised the country. Raila is a worker and is credited for the country’s infrastructure development during Kibaki’s tenure.”
Mr Odinga invited Congolese music crooner M’bilia Bel, known for her melodious songs, including ‘Nakei Nairobi’, ‘Boya Ye’, ‘Yamba Ngai’, ‘Shauri Yako’ and ‘Beyanga’, to thrill Azimio supporters in Nyeri town as he shook a leg before inviting Ms Karua to speak.
Mr Odinga promised to reduce the cost of living, build industries in each county, enhance water supply, ensure free education from nursery to university, give stipends to the poor, ensure universal healthcare through ‘Babacare’ and improve infrastructure countrywide.
Mr Odinga and Ms Karua promised to eradicate corruption to create ‘enough wealth’ to fully roll out their manifesto.
“There are those who have the tendency of stealing public funds and then proceed to donate the money to desperate Kenyans. That person donates Sh100 million monthly yet his monthly salary is only Sh2 million,” Mr Odinga said.
He promised to create wealth by establishing processing industries in all counties through the ‘One County One Product’ agenda.
Ms Karua said she will be at the forefront in fighting corruption to help Mr Odinga in rolling out development countrywide.
“We have made lots of promises to Kenyans. But we will only fulfill them after ceiling loopholes of corruption. We will not be biased towards anybody in the war against corruption. The fight against graft will be just,” Ms Karua said.
The Azimio team also toured Karatina, Mukurweini, Othaya, Giakanja and Nyeri towns.
Unlike Mr Odinga’s previous visit to Mt Kenya, he was not heckled in any of the rallies.
ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said the government is committed to have Mr Odinga clinch the presidency.
“I am in government and I have jointly been working with several other people. We have all decided that our votes belong to Raila Odinga and Martha Karua,” Mr Mucheru said.
“Fred Matiang’i, Peter Munya, James Macharia and I have decided to back Raila. Do you think this is something we are not sure of? We are willing to vote for him,” he said.