Uhuru, Raila turns to 1.2 million undecided voters

 

tudpsvmd9zsr59778a08959aa Uhuru, Raila turns to 1.2 million undecided voters
NASA Co- Principal Kalonzo Musyoka, Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior during their campaigns in Kikima, Mbooni Constituency Tuesday. (PICTURE BY DENNIS KAVISU)

The rival coalitions have narrowed their campaign strategies to rallying large voter turnout in their perceived strongholds and swaying an estimated 1.2 million undecided voters.

The campaign schedules for the final 12 days to polling day for both Jubilee and the National Super Alliance (NASA) focus on regions where they are popular but also target ‘hostile’ areas with a view to boosting their slice of the vote there.

Close race

Opinion polls have suggested a neck-and-neck race for the presidency between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his main challenger, Raila Odinga.

It is against this background that campaign teams seem to have crafted the candidates’ last tours around perceived strongholds to rally high voter turnout and regions where, though not as popular, they feel they have made inroads.

But the battle is also for the about 6 per cent of the 19.6 million registered voters who, according to opinion polls, have yet to settle on the candidate they will vote. Pollsters have indicated that the about 1.2 million undecided voters are sufficient to tilt the scales either way.

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However, the calculation that this election could be won and lost, for either camp, on record high voter turnout was evident yesterday as Uhuru and Raila pitched camp in central Kenya.

While campaigning in Nyeri County, one of his strongholds, Uhuru pleaded with the residents to turn out in large numbers so as to hand him a second term in office.

“I am asking you to turn out in large numbers and vote us back because our goal is to have a united and developed country,” Uhuru said.

Raila was in Embu, Meru, and Tharaka Nithi counties yesterday, where, though considered Jubilee areas, NASA hopes to increase its slice of the vote.

Uhuru and Raila continue to make repeated forays into the Mt Kenya, Gusii, and western Kenya regions.

The western region’s four counties of Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma, and Busia have hosted the two leaders at least five times since May this year.

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Both Uhuru and Raila have been to Kisii and Nyamira at least three times in the past three months.

Jubilee strategists say they are working to secure at least a quarter of the votes in western Kenya, while NASA has focused on Meru, Tharaka Nithi, and Embu as regions to boost their tally.

Uhuru has lined up at least 29 counties, with a combined 14.3 million registered voters, to visit in the remaining campaign period. Some of the targeted counties in the last-minute dash are perceived Jubilee strongholds.

Raila and his camp have listed at least 17 counties in their tentative campaign schedule, with a combined 7.3 million registered voters.

“These meet-the-people visits will see the President traverse 30 counties, making stops at more than 200 campaign places. Deputy President William Ruto will be visiting dozens of counties as well, making another 200 campaign stops,” said State House yesterday in a statement.

Uhuru has attended at least 14 radio interviews and is targeting another 40 interviews in the remaining period.

Raila on Monday had interviews on Radio Jambo and Ghetto FM as the battle for votes goes full throttle.

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Apart from the two candidates pulling out all the stops to make sure their supporters cast their ballots, they have lieutenants running campaigns in their respective strongholds with the sole single brief of ensuring that people come out to vote.

NASA’s adopt-a-polling-station strategy, apart from guarding votes, is intended to ensure that no registered voter stays away.

Uhuru and Ruto plan to make more than 400 stopovers across 29 counties in the last-minute rush to woo voters.

The NASA camp has earmarked a meet-the-people tour in at least 35 counties. Its five co-principals will each visit three to four places in three counties every day. 

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