President Uhuru Kenyatta made his final plea on Saturday for re-election using his track record and a promise to provide free government services to Kenyan children from the time they are born till a year after college.
The President and his deputy William Ruto, who made a return to Nakuru where they first made known their intention to jointly vie for office in 2012, said from September, parents will no longer have to worry about the welfare of their children.
They said the Government would increase the uptake of the free maternity programme to include private hospitals since all expectant mothers will receive National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) cover.
“Whether it is a government hospital or private facility, you will all give birth for free. Then we will pay for your children’s education up to university and then pay for a one year internship to those who finish college,” said President Kenyatta.
“If the government has decided it will pay for you to give birth, pay for your healthcare and take your children to school, my dear Kenyans, if I say your only job will be to give birth and take care of your children will I be wrong?” he asked.
The Jubilee duo promised to send Raila Odinga and his NASA team to retirement, saying he has been an impediment to the realisation of Kenya’s aspirations and dreams.
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“Jubilee is the only political party in Kenya that has a track record. The only thing our competitors have more than us is the number of years that they have been in public office,” said Ruto. “Our competitor has asked why we are connecting Kenyans living in grass-thatched houses with electricity. I want to tell Raila that everyone deserves electricity.”
The crowd, which started arriving at the stadium at 7am, was kept entertained by dozens of artists who had been ferried from all corners of the country. A helicopter branded in Jubilee colours circled the stadium a number of times as charged supporters waved the party’s flags and symbols in a show of might.
Nakuru town was painted red as aspirants from surrounding counties crisscrossed its streets with long motorcades and hundreds of supporters in tow. For the better part of the day, Kenyatta Avenue was turned into a mini-campaign area as those eyeing various posts in the town marched with their supporters. Boda boda operators temporarily stopped ferrying people and joined the convoys.
Nakuru, the President and his deputy said, is the capital city of Kenya’s politics. The county, which has 948,668 registered voters and is third to Nairobi and Kiambu in terms of voter numbers, has a special pace in their hearts.
“Jubilee started in Nakuru, and that is why we have come back here to ask you to allow us to complete our journey of changing Kenya,” said Kenyatta.
The President and his deputy landed at State House Nakuru at 4:30pm. They were then driven to an overflowing 25,000-seater Afraha stadium. They spent less than 30 minutes to make their appeal. Local leaders were not given a chance to address the crowds and were only allowed to greet them.
Kenyatta and Ruto avoided mentioning the challenges that their administration had faced—like the cost of living. Instead they dwelt on the future while promoting their achievements.
“In four years, we have raised the number of people connected to the power grid from two million to six million. We will connect every household to electricity by the end of our second term. We have constructed Technical Training Institutes (TTI) in every constituency. From next year, the youth who finish college will not be asked for work experience when looking for jobs because we will ensure they get internship paid for by us,” the President said.
Uhuru and Ruto said they have increased the state’s fertiliser production capacity and promised to construct 57 dams across the country to raise the amount of acreage under irrigation to 1.5 million acres.
In 2012, the two had promised to put a million acres under irrigation and drop the price of fertiliser from Sh3,600.
“We will drop the price of fertiliser to Sh1,200. So do you want us to stop with our development agenda or not?” asked Kenyatta to a thunderous “continue” response from the crowd.
The Jubilee duo said their industrialisation plan has brought 1,432 international companies to set up operations in Kenya and will create 6.5 million jobs in the next five years.
“Kenya has moved up 68 places in the ease of doing business because of the stability we have created and the structures and infrastructure that we have laid, including the Standard Gauge Railway. We will now move to the next step which is creating industrial parks, one here in Nakuru,” promised Ruto.
Ruto, who listed five key reasons why Jubilee should be elected, threw a jab at NASA, terming them as confused.
“Nasa is not even a registered party so don’t throw your votes away,” he said.