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Coast counties back Raila for Nasa flag-bearer in election

ODM leader Raila Odinga stormed back into the campaigns with a well attended solo rally at Mombasa’s Tononoka grounds and immediately turned his guns on President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Mr Odinga, who campaigned without the other Nasa leaders — Mr Kalonzo Musyoka of Wiper, Mr Moses Wetang’ula of Ford Kenya and Mr Musalia Mudavadi of Amani National Congress — was endorsed to run for President.

Mr Odinga and the other three are fighting to be torchbearer for Nasa, the opposition alliance.

At the Tononoka rally, ODM supporters from six coastal counties vowed to support Mr Odinga for the presidency.

In what was dubbed “the Coast Declaration”, Governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Amason Kingi (Kilifi) and John Mruttu (Taita Taveta) said although the region was in Nasa, they preferred Mr Odinga to run for president.

The declaration, read by Mr Mruttu, said that only Mr Odinga could protect the interests of locals, unite Kenyans, end tribalism, uplift the economy and protect devolution.

In his speech, Mr Odinga said the Jubilee leadership had failed to fulfil its promises to Kenyans and should prepare to go home in August.

He accused Jubilee leaders of setting a new record in corruption, saying Kenya was now in “the Super League of graft”.

“President Kenyatta has promoted Kenya from lower league in graft to top league only compared to Nicaragua and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” he said and dismissed claims by Jubilee leaders that the government had built 7,500 kilometres of roads, calling it “a lie”.

He accused President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto of launching roads that were not budgeted for to hoodwink Kenyans into voting for them.

“The tractors and earth movers are usually removed from the site once the leaders leave,” Mr Odinga said, adding that the prices of fuel and maize flour had skyrocketed under Mr Kenyatta’s leadership.

He accused the President of launching county government projects such as the Mtongwe ferry, and harassing governors.

“A governor is not like a provincial commissioner,” Mr Odinga said and accused Coast regional commissioner Nelson Marwa of undermining Mr Joho.

ILLEGAL AWARD

Mr Odinga also used the rally, and an earlier press conference, to raise questions about the award of a tender for the management of the second container terminal at the port of Mombasa.

He said a soft loan given by the United Arab Emirates was a “bribe” so that the UAE’s port management company, Dubai Port World, can get the tender to run the terminal.

“This loan looks more like a bribe to senior persons in government than a loan. This so called loan leaves more questions than answers and we want specific answers from none other than President Uhuru Kenyatta,” Mr Odinga said at a news conference at Tamarind Restaurant in Mombasa.

But Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia dismissed the claim, saying there was no concessional agreement between the Government and Dubai Port World.

“There is no financing agreement between UAE and the Government. There is no loan and there is no port management deal,” said Mr Macharia on the telephone.

Dubai Port World is one of the best port management companies in the world and runs more than 77 marine terminals across six continents.

READ: Raila questions Sh28 billion UAE loan

Mr Odinga claimed that the UAE Government agreed to offer the loan as a sweetener to secure the tender to manage the terminal.

Dubai Port World won the tender to manage the terminal although in Mr Odinga’s opinion, the other 12 port operators, who had tendered, “were more qualified”.

“Can President Uhuru Kenyatta prove to Kenyans that the so-called loan was not a bribe to sway the contract in favour of Dubai? Can he explain how he ended up giving the job to Dubai instead of the more than 10 firms that came out top?

“What was the purpose of the tender when the job ended up being given to a defeated bidder,” asked Mr Odinga.

SELF-INTEREST
But in Malindi, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale dismissed the bribery allegations as propaganda.

“All the loans have been used for various projects in the country after being approved by the National Assembly,” he said during a Jubilee rally at Malindi Stadium in Kilifi County.

Mr Odinga argued the case for a Chinese consortium, PSA International, which had partnered with Multi Hauliers, a Kenyan company, and which he said “emerged top in the bids for the tender but was denied the contract”.

“A whiff of corruption hangs over this so-called loan as it leaves more questions than answers,” he said.

He also said the Japanese Government had funded and built the project, expecting to be given the chance to manage and operate it, did not win the contract either.

Mr Odinga claimed there was direct conflict of interest in the matter and asked the President to assure Kenyans that he had no personal reasons in having the Middle East firm manage the port.

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