NASA Leaders during a public rally at the Kapsabet.Show Grounds on 4th June, 2017 (PICTURE BY DENNIS KAVISU)
Opposition leaders asked Rift Valley voters to back Raila Odinga’s bid for the presidency.
The National Super Alliance (NASA) leaders led by Raila took their vote hunt to Nandi County, the perceived support base of Deputy President William Ruto, where they urged residents to embrace change and join NASA, saying it was destined to form the next government.
“It is time to embrace change; Kenyans can no longer afford to offer blind support based on the political whims of a so-called regional kingpin,” Raila said.
“Nandi County is the headquarters of the Kalenjin community’s politics. That is why we resolved to start our rally here – this is a dawn for change.”
The Opposition team held a two-hour long meeting with county and regional opinion leaders at a hotel in Kapsabet before holding a political rally at the Nandi showgrounds.
The NASA team, which included Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetang’ula and Isaac Ruto said the region should not be left behind but join other Kenyans on board the change train.
The rally was temporarily interrupted by heavy rain and also witnessed ugly scenes in which suspected Jubilee Party supporters attempted to disrupt the meeting moments after the NASA principals made their way to the showgrounds to address residents.
It took the intervention of police and private security personnel to repulse the Jubilee supporters, who waved UhuRuto placards and chanted Jubilee slogans.
Despite the disruptions, the five NASA heavyweights sent a clear message of political change. Leader after leader took to the podium to discredit Jubilee for its “poor performance” over the last five years.
The NASA team said the Jubilee administration was riddled with corruption and mismanagement of resources, which had seen Kenyans subjected to abject poverty.
Raila said Kenyans yearned for leadership change and assured that the NASA administration would fully implement pledges made to Kenyans unlike Jubilee that made empty promises. He cited the laptops project targeting primary school pupils and more employment opportunities for youths, neither of which he said had been realised, among other pledges.
He pledged to transform the agriculture sector, the main economic venture among Nandi residents, saying for a long time, food and cash crop producers had been subjected to poverty due to poor pricing.
“Milk and tea farmers are crying over poor prices for their produce. Farmers in Nandi earn as low as Sh15 per kilo in tea bonuses while in other regions, farmers are paid as high as Sh50 a kilo. As NASA, we will ensure that farmers generate better returns from their investments,” said Raila.
He pointed out that the cost of living was skyrocketing, adding that ordinary Kenyans could no longer afford the cost of flour, sugar, transport and other basic needs while corruption remained rife in the Government.
“We will ensure that the (New) Kenya Co-operative Creameries is reverted to farmers and also ensure more access to subsidised inputs in the agriculture sector,” said the NASA presidential flag bearer.
He added that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government paid maize farmers Sh2,200 per 90kg bag when they used to receive Sh3,200 during the Grand Coalition government.
The Deputy President received strong criticism from the NASA principals, who accused him of allowing the ruling party to sideline most regions including the Rift Valley.
They also accused Uhuru of running an “insensitive government” that had proved unsympathetic towards the needs of Kenyans. The Opposition further noted that Jubilee had concentrated on “stealing from country coffers through dubious corruption scandals” instead of governance.
“We are heavily disappointed with the Government’s track record. Jubilee is insensitive to the plight of Kenyans, who are now living impoverished lifestyles,” said Mudavadi.
He said NASA would advocate for peaceful rallies, with a call for democracy to be embraced. He likened the earlier heckling in Nandi to the snubbing of Raila by Uhuru and Ruto during Madaraka Day celebrations in Nyeri County.
At one point during the Opposition’s charm offensive in the region, Raila was once again crowned a Kalenjin elder.