Deputy President William Ruto has dismissed ‘fake’ opinion polls that seem to suggest that Azimio la Umoja One Kenya flagbearer Raila Odinga is in the lead, saying they are part of a scheme to rig the August 9 elections.
Addressing supporters at a rally in Embakasi South in Nairobi Tuesday, the DP said he has the numbers to beat Mr Odinga decisively.
“They have tried all means. All that is left is the use of fake opinion polls and spread of propaganda that they shall steal my votes. Do I look like someone they can steal from?” he posed.
Dr Ruto said the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) won in the Juja, Msambweni and Kiambaa by-elections against candidates fronted by the establishment because Kenyans were tired of the ‘Handshake’.
“We will also win in August and there’s nothing they will do about it. They will not destroy the railway or swear themselves in since Kenya will move forward. This shall be the hustlers’ government,” he said, adding that he would set aside a Sh100 billion kitty to address youth unemployment.
He said the funds would go towards creating opportunities in agro processing, housing, value addition and manufacturing which will be amongst his government’s priority projects.
The latest opinion poll by Infotrak Research & Consulting showed Mr Odinga with a lead of four percentage points over Dr Ruto at 42 per cent against 38 per cent.
The two candidates were at a statistical dead heat of 42 per cent each at the beginning of May.
Dr Ruto and Mr Odinga named their running mates on May 15 and May 16, respectively. According to a Trends & Insights for Africa (Tifa) poll conducted on May 17, Dr Ruto’s ratings dropped to 35 per cent from 38 per cent in November last year and 39 per cent in April this year.
As for Mr Odinga, the poll showed he had moved up steadily from 23 per cent in November last year to 32 per cent in April and 39 per cent in May. The latest opinion identified 11 battleground counties where the vote could go either way and determine the outcome of the election.
They are Tana River, Kwale and Lamu in Coast; Turkana, Samburu, Nakuru and West Pokot in the North Rift; Narok and Kajiado in the South Rift and Bungoma and Trans Nzoia in Western Kenya. They have a total of 4.4 million votes.
According to Dr Ruto’s team, however, this analysis falls short of their own internal assessments that showed that they had eaten into Mr Odinga’s previous strongholds of Coast, Western and Nairobi, which they said were no longer leaning towards the former prime minister.
The Infotrak poll says Mr Odinga will lead in 20 counties from Coast, Northern, Lower Eastern, Western, Nyanza and Nairobi with 9.3 million votes. Dr Ruto will top in 16 counties from Northern, Mount Kenya and Rift Valley will cast their lot with Dr Ruto, translating to 8.4 million votes.
The DP promised to fix how small-scale business owners in Nairobi, including hawkers, work. He took a swipe at Mr Odinga for denigrating mitumba trade (second hand clothes).
“If you are used to wearing your suits, let us have our mitumba in peace. We have grown with these and it is the mainstay employment of millions,” Dr Ruto said.
Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi urged the county administration not to be intimidated to back one side of the political divide in the polls.
“We have a plan. We want to ask government officers, including chiefs, not to fear anything. President Kenyatta is now in his final touches clearing out of State House. Do not be intimidated into doing anything you should not,” he said.