President Uhuru Kenyatta has defended himself against claims that he plans to use the military in the elections, saying such an act would be illegal.
The Head of State said he had taken an oath to defend the Constitution and maintain peace in the country, and would never involve the army in the polls.
Addressing residents at Kiriari Market in Manyatta Constituency, Embu County, on Sunday, Mr Kenyatta said as the Commander-in-Chief, he would not allow the army to be used in a way that would lead to a breach of peace.
He also dismissed as misguided allegations by the National Super Alliance (Nasa) that the army was being prepared to help rig the elections in favour of the Jubilee Party.
“I have no desire to use the army in ways that could lead to a breach of peace.
“The only duty of the army is to guard our borders and to ensure Kenyans are safe wherever they are. We are looking for votes from the public,” Mr Kenyatta said.
He accused Nasa leaders of propagating hate among Kenyans by making unsubstantiated allegations meant to cause anxiety among their supporters.
The President said the opposition leaders were running scared as the August 8 polls draw closer since they had not garnered enough support to help them win.
“That is characteristic of someone without any agenda. That is why every day, he (Nasa flagbearer Raila Odinga) only makes noise about this or that.
“If you go to the market and you don’t have any fruits to sell, you will spend most of the time making noise or abusing the person who has wares to sell. Nasa doesn’t scare me,” he said.
Mr Kenyatta accused Mr Odinga of destabilising the coalition government he co-headed with President Mwai Kibaki, through numerous squabbles.
“President Kibaki gave you free primary education and he would have given you free secondary education if it were not for the endless squabbles.
“I promise to ensure the milestone is realised,” he told the residents.
Mr Kenyatta also pledged to waive amounts owed to the Water Resources Management Authority by the residents who initiated an irrigation scheme, only for the water supply to be disconnected due to unpaid bills amounting to millions of shillings.
He also promised to ensure tarmacking of a 100-kilometre ring road in the area that is going on is complete before the end of the year.
Responding to queries by former Cooperatives minister Njeru Ndwiga, who had raised concern over failure by a local coffee society to pay farmers, Mr Kenyatta ordered immediate investigations into the matter.
He said the government had already offset loans coffee farmers in the region had taken, and promised to ensure the residents get assistance to make their activities profitable.
The Head of State ran into trouble after he urged the residents to vote for Jubilee candidates only, when the crowd shouted at him in disapproval.
This led Mr Kenyatta to remark: “Vote for me and give us good leaders.”
He had introduced governor candidates Kithinji Kiragu, Lenny Kivuti and Martin Wambora before allowing Jubilee contestants to speak.
The move appeared to have angered supporters of Senator Kivuti and Mr Kiragu, who both enjoy strong support in the area, and the crowd started shouting.
Governor Wambora had to cut short his address after the frenzied crowd’s shouts drowned the speech.
Also present were Mbeere North MP Muriuki Njagagua, his Manyatta counterpart John Muchiri, Woman Rep Rose Mitaru and candidates Kinyua Mugo, Gitonga Mukunji and Susan Nyaga.
Earlier, Deputy President William Ruto expressed concern that independent candidates in the Mt Kenya region were giving them a headache as most of them had an overwhelming support base.
“You are putting us in a fix since we are left in an awkward situation over how to deal with the situation,” he told Mr Kivuti while waiting for President Kenyatta at David King High School, Kamama.
In Machakos, President Kenyatta dismissed claims by the Opposition that the Jubilee administration was planning to use the military to rig the elections.
He spoke at the St Mary’s Primary School grounds after he handed over a bus he promised pupils during his visit last year.
Mr Kenyatta said opposition leaders were using insults and “all manner of excuses” in their campaigns and had failed to convince Kenyans that they can lead the country.
Additional reporting by Grace Gitau
They say Raila’s rigging claims are fabrications aimed at ensuring that polls don’t take place.