The newly-formed opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) signalled its intention to rally its supporters to face the ruling Jubilee in the August polls at a well-attended rally at the Bomet Green Stadium.
Nasa leaders called on residents of the South Rift, a crucial vote basket, to abandon Jubilee and back it.
Hundreds of Bomet residents turned up to receive Nasa leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetang’ula and Musalia Mudavadi in the home turf of one of the foremost Jubilee critics and area Governor Isaac Ruto.
The politics of the controversial Sh38 billion Itare Dam located in the Ndoinet Forest in Kuresoi North, took centre-stage.
Kipsigis elder Edwin Kimetto urged the opposition leaders and the people to oppose it.
He said the project would cause 13 rivers to dry off. The waters of the rivers, he said, flow through nine counties of Western Kenya.
He said this would have a negative effect on tea growing which supports the economies of Kericho and Bomet counties.
Mr Kimetto asked why the Jubilee Government had proceeded with the project in January last year without seeking the mandatory approval of the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and the Water Resources Management Authority (Warma).
He said a meeting at State House planned to divert water from Ndoinet River towards Nakuru.
“We asked leaders in Kericho and Bomet to stop the project but they did not listen to us except Governor Ruto,” said Mr Kimetto.
RULE OF LAW
Mr Odinga, making what he described as the “Bomet declaration,” said the opposition leaders would lead in stopping the project and pledged to get rid of it in entirety if Nasa is elected into office this year.
“If the project is not stopped, it will affect many livelihoods in this area. President Kenyatta accused me of trying to deny the Kikuyu people living in Nakuru water by opposing the project but nothing can be further from the truth,” said Mr Odinga.
Mr Musyoka accused the government of implementing projects without involving the locals which, he noted, was against the constitution and said Nasa will kick out Jubilee in the election.
“What we did in 2002 shall be repeated. We have a problem with tribalism being used to hide faults in government.
“We will go to all parts of the country to seek support from Kenyans and we are assured of winning the presidency,” said Mr Musyoka.
Mr Mudavadi said the Nasa principals would soon declare the candidate who will fly the joint opposition flag in the August presidential election as the leaders pledged to remain united and shun any attempts by the ruling Jubilee to split them.
In the meeting’s resolutions which were circulated to the media after a heavy downpour cut short Mr Mudavadi’s speech – the final speaker’s speech – Nasa promised to provide democratic, transparent and inclusive governance if it ascended to power.
The resolution said that a Nasa administration would promote the rule of law, good governance, human rights, constitutionalism and inclusivity.
It added that it would based on transparency, accountability, participation, devolution of power and resources, equal opportunity and equity for all.
Nasa also promised to eradicate corruption, boost Kenya’s economy and have accountable leadership to restore hope in self-government among Kenyans.
Mr Odinga said the Jubilee Government had failed to deliver on any of its pledges to the citizens of Kenya.
He cited rising levels of corruption in government and the failed plans to build five stadia in the country and end the ongoing doctors’ and lecturers’ strikes.
“This is a sign that things are changing. The winds have gathered in Bomet today. Kenya is very sick and Nasa has the solution to that illness,” said Mr Odinga.
Governor Isaac Ruto, Chama Cha Mashinani leader, was at the rally, but he had said previously he would not join Nasa.
The Nasa principals invited him to join the opposition.
Mr Ranguma and Woman Representative Rose Nyamunga asked National Assembly Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso to go and seek a position in the lakeside city where she is married.
“I have brought greetings from your in-laws in Kisumu County and I am seeking the help of the elders to have Mrs Laboso return home in Kisumu,” said Mr Ranguma, echoing an earlier call by Kisumu East MP Shakeel Shabir.
Efforts by a group of rowdy Jubilee youth to disrupt the meeting were repulsed after they were overpowered by a group of Chama Cha Mashinani supporters working with the security officers.
Governor Ruto blamed the planned disruption on Bomet County Commissioner Bernard Leparmarai, who he accused of being deployed by the Jubilee Government to obstruct the opposition leaders’ meeting
“This is Jubilee nonsense and we will not allow it. We will defeat any efforts to stop this meeting.
“Jubilee must find another way of getting votes because it has no place in Bomet. We will continue with the meeting whether Jubilee likes it or not,” said the governor.
“All presidential hopefuls are at liberty to come here and campaign any time.”
Kilifi Women Representative Aisha Jumwa called on Odinga, Musyoka, Wetang’ula and Mudavadi to stick together.
“We are asking you to give us a strong candidate who will battle it out with President Uhuru Kenyatta. Not all of you can be president at the same time,” said Ms Jumwa.
Other leaders said the same thing.
VOTE THEM OUT
The presence of United Democratic Movement leader and presidential aspirant Philip Murgor at the meeting left many tongues wagging.
The Emurua-Dikir MP Johana Ng’eno excited the crowd with his calls for the removal of the Jubilee Party.
Also present at the meeting were governors Ali Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia), John Nyagarama (Kisii), Okoth Obado (Migori) and David Nkedianye of Kajiado.
Senators Boni Khalwale, Johnstone Muthama, James Orengo, Elizabeth Ongoro and Agnes Zani also attended the rally alongside a host of Members of the National Assembly.