President Uhuru Kenyatta (centre) receives one of the defectors as National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale (left) looks on during a public rally at Orahey Grounds in Wajir town.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday took his re-election campaign to Wajir County, a region that largely voted for the Opposition in 2013.
But it was not so rosy for some leaders who have defected from the Opposition as they got a hostile reception from the crowd when the President received them Jubilee during a rally in Wajir town.
The President and Deputy President William Ruto seemed to read the mood of the residents and pledged to work with whoever the people will elect.
“Jubilee will work with anybody elected by the people. When you elect me, my government will work with those you want and have chosen,” President Kenyatta said.
“Our agenda is for you to elect those in government and close doors for those in ODM. They will park and go home.”
Although majority of the leaders were heckled when addressing the gathering, the President appeared unmoved.
He affirmed that Party of Development and Restoration (PDR) is an affiliate of Jubilee and they will work together.
“Whoever is elected in any of these parties will be part of my government,” said the President. He rubbished claims that his government has been profiling and sidelining Muslims.
“If that was the case, then how come my Cabinet has four ministers and a number of PSs from this region? My government has brought change and development in the three counties of North Eastern,” he said. Despite dishing out goodies, ranging from infrastructure and water development to youth employment, controlling the charged crowd was not easy.
The programme was rushed after security officers unleashed terror on the crowd, prompting Ruto to intervene to calm the situation. The security officers struggled to control the crowd struggling to get a glimpse of the President and his team on the podium.
The President and his entourage arrived in Wajir at 11am and were received by Governor Ahmed Abdullahi, who later stayed away from the event. Uhuru began his vote hunting mission by officially opening the new Jubilee county office.
His entourage then sneaked its way into the parked Karohey Grounds for the main rally before ending with a meeting with area leaders.
“I am overwhelmed by the huge turnout. It means you have agreed to work with us and form the next government,” said President Kenyatta.
“Our agenda is to unite Kenyans and bring development. What my government has done in the first term in office in Wajir and other parts of the country is remarkable.”
He said the funds devolved to counties are from the national government and governors are just managers.
“Counties don’t have funds, the Jubilee government has disbursed over Sh1 billion,” he said.
He said to demonstrate their commitment, he has signed into law the Equalisation Bill and Wajir will get an additional Sh1 billion.
Ruto, CSs Sicily Karuiki (Gender Affairs), Adan Mohammed (Industrialisation), Najib Balala (Tourism) and Eugene Wamala (Water) and National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale all rooted for Jubilee’s re election.
“Contrary to the past historical injustices meted on the people of Northern Kenya, the government has initiated many development projects by allocating resources to the county governments,” said Ruto.
“The people of Wajir should decide their leaders. Recently, we were informed that the leadership decided to work with President Kenyatta and Jubilee without the blessings of the electorate. Is it true or false?”
He told the people to make informed choices at the polls and it is their right to know the priorities of the leaders.
Among the leaders President Kenyatta received into JP are senators Adbdiraham Ali (Wajir) and Halima Abdille (nominated), MPs Adan Keynan (Eldas), Abdikadir Ore (Wajir West), Ibrahim Sane (Wajir North), Mohammed Elmi (Tarbaj), Deputy Governor Abdihafid Sheik Yarow and Speaker Bishar Omar.
Elsewhere, some aspirants urged President Kenyatta and Ruto to give a commitment to Jubilee supporters in the region that none of the sitting MPs in the county will be handed a direct ticket, and the county elections board will conduct free and fair nominations.
“We want the President to make it clear that the nominations will not be skewed, otherwise the people may not believe in the party manifesto,” said Mohamud Hassan, an aspirant for Wajir North parliamentary seat.