President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto took their campaign to Trans Nzoia as the Jubilee Party sought to sway one of the opposition’s strongholds in their favour.
The county is one where most seats went to opposition parties in the last election, but on Thursday, the Jubilee Party brigade promised to turn the tide.
The team traversed four constituencies – Kwanza, Endebess, Saboti and Cherangany – holding a series of meetings along the roads where they enumerated their achievements over the last four years.
They promised more tarmacked roads, more households to be connected to electricity, and title deeds for the squatters in the county.
Their first stop was Kobos Secondary School in Kwanza where they were received by a huge crowd at around 1 pm. They were welcomed by Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba and Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa.
Only the President and Mr Ruto spoke.
“We want to continue with the development programmes we have started. We want to ensure our children learn for free from Class One to Form Four,” said Mr Kenyatta before they moved to Endebess.
He said the region was underdeveloped because of being in the opposition.
A huge downpour threatened to disrupt the campaigns but the President and his Deputy braced the heavy rains and addressed Kitale town residents after returning from Endebess.
The main rally was at Kitale ASK Showground where the President said the government had prepared 6,000 title deeds for squatters in the county, which were distributed.
He said another 120,000 were being prepared and would be distributed in the next six weeks.
“I have brought 6,000 title deeds but another 120,000 are being prepared in the Titling Centre. I will make sure in under six weeks they will be ready. I ask those who have received them to take care of them so they can be useful to your families,” the President, who was also accompanied by the Land Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri, said.
The Head of State said he was fulfilling a longtime promise to the residents who he said had been let down by previous regimes.
“I have come to fulfil a promise. We have made sure Trans Nzoia residents have the vital document to own their pieces of land,” he said at the showground.
To further entice the squatters, he said the beneficiaries will not be charged the stamp duty for the title deeds.
Politicians from the region have often blamed the Jubilee administration for failing to resettle thousands of integrated IDPs who were kicked out of their homes during the 2007/08 post-election violence.
However, on Thursday, the President said they would compensate them before the next elections, adding that they had started with those in Kisii and Nyamira and would now focus on the other 33 counties hosting them.
He also warned politicians against inflammatory remarks, saying what happened in the past should not recur.
“All tribes are in Trans Nzoia. Do not let anyone come here and divide you along tribal lines. I’m asking our youths not to be misled to fight each other. Leaders should not incite their communities to fight against each other. Our politics should be issue- based,” he said.
Mr Ruto said Trans Nzoia was one of the beneficiaries of the Last Mile electricity connection project with more than 70,000 residents being connected to the national grid since 2013.
“In 2013 only 21,000 residents had electricity but, today, more than 90,000 have power. Do you want development or vitendawili (parables)?” he asked.
Concerning the high maize flour prices, the President said it was as a result of the prolonged drought. He said the government will now further subside fertilisers to enable more farmers to plant maize in order to curb similar shortages next year.
Others who accompanied the President were Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, Governor Kenneth Lusaka and local MPs.