Will Kiambu’s warm reception translate into NASA votes?

Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga addressing members of public at Kiambu town, Kiambu county on 4/7/17. photoby BEVERLYNE MUSILI

The rousing welcome National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate Raila Odinga received during his visit to Kiambu County will certainly embolden his candidature as he seeks to reap from Jubilee strongholds.

Raila attracted huge crowds in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s backyard, with cheering crowds keenly listening as he spelt out his plans to revive the once vibrant agricultural sector – a key economic mainstay for Central Kenya.

Large crowds were witnessed in all major towns where Raila campaigned, a significant boost in his attempt to make forays in Jubilee zones where he has always performed dismally during elections.

Among the areas he toured were Limuru, Gitaru, Wangige, Ruaka, Kiambu and Ruiru towns, where he tore into the Jubilee government for failing to cushion people against food insecurity, high cost of living, unemployment and corruption.

Raila used the visit of his rival’s political backyard to confront perception his opponents have exploited to undermine his bid, that if elected he would weaken the region’s economic activity, revenging for perceived ills he has suffered under the presidency of both Uhuru and his predecessor Mwai Kibaki.

Demystify myth

ALSO READ:

No chance to rig this time, NASA tells JP

ALSO READ:

No chance to rig this time, NASA tells JP

The NASA presidential candidate, however, took the chance to sell his manifesto and demystify the myth that he was an enemy of Central Kenya communities, saying his manifesto recognised the importance of national unity.

He added that should he be elected president, he would protect all Kenyans regardless of their background. Raila also promised that Central Kenya would feature prominently in his government. “NASA will revive tea, coffee and dairy industries and also establish a fund targeting co-operative societies. Githunguri Dairy cooperative society will be one of the beneficiaries,” he said. He accused his rivals of casting him as a person who hated the Kikuyu community. He said he had been brotherly towards President Uhuru because of their past and that he also had ties with the community through marriage. “I always refer to Uhuru as my younger brother because of our past. Our two families are friends and even my late son Fidel was married to a woman from this region. I cannot harm my in-laws,” he said.

Leaders from the Kikuyu community who accompanied the ODM leader, led by Koigi Wamwere, Mumbi Ng’aru (the ODM member in the East African Legislative Assembly, EALA, ODM Nairobi Women Rep aspirant Esther Muthoni Passaris and businessman Peter Kuguru called on residents to support Raila saying he was the kind of a leader the country needed. “As a community, it is high time we reciprocate to the Odinga family. His father agitated for Jomo Kenyatta to be released from detention and actually supported him to become the first President. His son Raila said Kibaki Tosha in 2002,” said Koigi.

However, a section of local MPs have poured cold water on the tour saying it had no impact.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria said Kiambu remained a Jubilee stronghold adding the visit by the NASA presidential could not change that.

During the 2013 elections Raila performed dismally in Kiambu and the larger Mount Kenya region.

In Kiambu, Raila only garnered 61,700 against Uhuru’s 705,165. Political observers are waiting to see if Raila’s recent forays to the President’s backyard will bear fruit and enable him capture more votes.

[Kamau Maichuhie]

Vets want action over export tariffs

Joseph Nkaissery’s death probe; police grill 10