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President Kenyatta keeps off local politics in Mandera

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday told Mandera residents to choose local leaders from any party but vote for him in next month’s General Election.

His comments came shortly after one of his rallies was cancelled due to clashes between rival groups.

The President spoke in Mandera during his second campaign stopover in the northeastern region.

“Everyone has a duty to ask for votes peacefully and it is the voters who will decide who to vote for on August 8,” he said while condemning the chaos that marred his first rally in Takaba in Mandera West.

“It is up to you people to decide who will be your governor, senator, MP, woman representative and others but vote for me as your President,” he said.

The President’s first morning rally in Takaba ended after two rival groups clashed over political supremacy. “We have had chaos due to local politics but everything went on well. Several people have, however, sustained soft tissue injuries,” Mandera West police boss Andrew Muturi told the Nation.

Jubilee Party and Economic Freedom Party leaders are engaged in a supremacy battle in Mandera after Governor Ali Roba disobeyed a decree by elders barring him from seeking re-election. The elders chose to form EFP. He is facing stiff competition from EFP’s Hassan Noor Hassan in the governor’s race.

In Mandera, the second venue, President Kenyatta only delivered his message in a record two minutes. “We are going to open the Kenya-Somalia border so that those in business here can help build the economy of this county,” he said of the border closed in 2012 to lock out al-Shabaab militants.

PEACE APPEAL

The President appealed for peace and tolerance. He said democracy can only be realised through a peaceful electioneering process. “I know in Mandera there are both Jubilee and EFP youths but don’t be used to cause chaos because we want a peaceful election,” he said.

The President promised to finish tarmacking major roads in Mandera. “We have started working on major roads here in Mandera and in the next five years, they will be completed so that this county can be at the same level with the rest of the country,” he said.

His Deputy William Ruto told the crowd that the government was keen on improving the livelihoods of Mandera residents.

ROAD UPGRADE

While ignoring cheers and jeers from the crowd, Mr Ruto said Jubilee was keen on upgrading roads in Mandera. “We are ready to take Mandera to the next level unlike our competitors who always tell us riddles,” he said.

Local political candidates on either political party were denied an opportunity to address the crowd with Mr Ruto only introducing them.

Earlier in the day, supporters of Jubilee and EFP hurled stones at each other, forcing the police to shoot in the air to calm the situation.

And in Wajir, the President cited the installation of medical equipment in hospitals and issuance of identification cards as some of the achievements of his administration.

BORDER POSTS

Addressing residents at Orahey grounds, the President said the government would set up three border posts in Wajir, Mandera and Garissa to allow easier flow of business between Kenya and its neighbours.

“We have invested more than Sh400 million on improvement of Wajir Hospital and another Sh400 million in Habaswein sub-counties. The residents now don’t have to travel to other counties for medical services,” he said.

He said the government had approved the setting up of four districts in the county in order to bring services closer to the people after consultation with the local leaders.

MOHAMMED ABDI

The Head of State drummed up support for Jubilee’s Wajir gubernatorial candidate Mohammed Abdi.

Mr Ruto accused the Opposition of planning to stop the elections from being held on August 8.

“They have lodged complaints that are meant to stifle the electoral process. They first told us they have a problem with commissioners of IEBC, the voters register and ballot papers and they are now telling us they have a problem with the security. This shows they are not prepared for the elections,” he said.

Mr Ruto urged the security agents to be firm while carrying out their duties and avoid being intimidated by the Opposition.

They were accompanied by Eldas MP Adan Keynan, Tarbaj MP Mohamed Elmi, Wajir woman representative aspirant Halima Abdille among others

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