Don’t take your families away, Raila urges NASA supporters

NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga addresses supporters in Ruaraka, Nairobi. [Photo: Edward Kiplimo/ Standard.]

NASA presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga has asked voters to remain where they registered to exercise their right to vote on August 8.

Reports have emerged that some Kenyans were relocating to their rural homes for fear of election violence.

Raila also assured Kenyans that he would concede defeat if he loses fairly in the August 8 General Election and dismissed claims by President Uhuru Kenyatta who had challenged him to state his position.

The NASA flagbearer asked his supporters in Nairobi not to panic and transport their families upcountry ahead of the August 8 polls, a move he argued would deprive the alliance of the huge turnout they are banking on as they seek to dethrone Uhuru.

Rising tension

Speaking Friday during a campaign tour of Nairobi, Raila, who was accompanied by his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka, warned supporters not to fall prey to fears of emergence of violence in the run up to the polls.

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There have been reports of mass movement of residents, especially those living in informal settlements, due to alleged rise in tension amid suspicions along tribal lines.

“We don’t want you to fall into the tricks that there will be violence and ferry your families upcountry. We have heard that men are planning to stay in Nairobi and take their families to their rural homes,” Kalonzo said.

“This should not be allowed to happen for those registered in Nairobi. You must stay here with your families to vote.”

Raila said NASA has contingency plans to ensure all its supporters cast their ballots on Election Day, saying even the sick will be transported to polling stations and back to hospital.

“Our agents shall be marking the register and conducting a roll-call to establish who has not voted after every two hours so that they are mobilised from wherever they are. Even those in hospitals here in Nairobi, Governor (Evans) Kidero will provide an ambulance to get them from hospital bed to vote and then back,” he said.

The two who were accompanied by co-principal Musalia Mudavadi, Governor Kidero and his deputy Jonathan Mueke. Also present were ODM Woman Representative candidate Esther Passaris, Senator hopeful Edwin Sifuna and Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama who spoke as the entourage held several roadside rallies in the city to marshal support for their election. The Opposition leaders accused a section of the Jubilee leadership of sending youths to disrupt NASA’s campaign tour of Kiambu County on Thursday.

“I want to urge our youth not to be like those Jubilee youths who stoned us in Kiambu. You must maintain peace and allow everyone to campaign freely. Eventually you will know who to vote for,” Raila said.

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Radio show

Speaking on Thursday night during an interview on Radio Citizen, Raila said he would concede defeat if he loses fairly in the election.

“I am ready to concede defeat if I lose fairly. We need peaceful co-existence among Kenyan communities, both before and after the General Election,” said Raila.

He asked Kenyans to demonstrate political tolerance during and after the polls. “There is no need of heckling a politician. If you are not aligned to someone’s policies or campaign messages, you can simply skip his or her rallies,” he said.

He also accused Jubilee of using county commissioners to rig elections.

“The Jubilee government is using county commissioners to acquire national identity cards for rigging the elections,” said Raila.

The Opposition leader asked investors to support his bid, saying he will create an enabling environment for them if he wins.

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“I am committed to ensuring Kenya achieves great economic growth. My leadership will promote everybody who is interested in investing in Kenya,” said the ODM leader.

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