During his tour of Murang’a and Nyeri, the Jubilee Party leader did not help settle the clamour for his support by his party’s candidates and independents. Instead, he sent conflicting messages.
At a road side stop in Mukurweini, President Uhuru said he had no favourites but asked for the presidential vote.
However, he would later change tune at Kiriti Stadium in the town where he told voters that he needed a majority in Parliament and called for the election of his party’s candidates.
As a result, Jubilee Party candidates in Nyeri have been re-energised against their independent rivals given that in President Uhuru’s earlier visit he avoided making any endorsements.
But some independent candidates have interpreted the message differently.
Independent Woman Representative candidate Priscilla Nyokabi took to social media where she told her followers they shouldn’t be compelled to elect JP candidates.
“The President has made it very clear – vote for him as President and elect whoever you want for the other positions,” Nyokabi said on Facebook.
Uhuru made stops in Tetu, Othaya with the same message before crossing over to Murang’a where he appeared to soften the stance in favour of Senate Deputy Majority Leader Kembi Gitura.
Gitura is defending his seat as an independent against the JP candidate, Irungu Kang’ata.Kembi was handed a rare chance to address the crowd at Kangema where he campaigned for his re-election.
But the campaigns were not without the usual intrigues.
In Tetu banners with the words “Let The People Decide” were handed out as the Jubilee candidates addressed the crowd.
The phrase is the mantra of the Kenya Alliance of Independent Candidates (KAIC) and its Secretary General Ndung’u Gethenji who was absent from the rally in his constituency.
In President Uhuru’s visit to the county last month, Gethenji filed a report at the Nyeri Central Police Station claiming that County Commissioner Julius Karuku had threatened him against attending Uhuru’s rallies. Karuku denied the claim.
Similarly, yesterday, Mukurweini MP Kabando wa Kabando, despite being a member of Uhuru’s national presidential campaign strategy team was nowhere to be seen as were his posters and supporters.
Kabando said he had been contacted by Mukurweini Deputy County Commissioner Thomas Nyoro who accused him of a plot to disrupt the rally.
Kabando posted on Facebook the text message attributed to the DCC “…the security committee is in receipt of information that you have organised youth to disrupt the event. Any such attempt and you will be personally held responsible.”
“I am a friend and strong supporter of President Uhuru Kenyatta. This is why I am, like in 2013, in his national presidential campaign strategy team…I regard this petty posturing by a public official rather unfortunate,” he reacted.
In Othaya, outgoing MP Mary Wambui was forced to cut short her address after supporters of DP candidate lawyer Peter King’ara and Wambugu Wainaina (independent) heckled her offstage.
The crowd waved banners of the two candidates even as the Jubilee candidate Gichuki Mugambi was absent and recuperating after involvement in a road accident.
Nyeri County DP governorship candidate Munene Kairu had his moment onstage during the stop in Othaya.
Aside from that, the rallies were strictly a Jubilee Party affair with Kieni MP Kanini Kega ensuring so. Other JP candidates present were Rigathi Gachagua, Ephraim Maina, Rahab Mukami, Gichuhi Mwangi, Wahome Gakuru and Ngunjiri Wambugu.