The Battle for Mt Kenya votes is getting hot every day as Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga pitch tent in the region in an effort to woo voters ahead of the August presidential contest.
The two front runners for the August 9 presidential election are pulling all the stops to get a share of the vote-rich region which observers believe shall determine who becomes Kenya’s fifth president.
In the 2017 elections, the 10 Mt. Kenya counties had 4,983,519 registered voters, and the number could be higher now due to the continuous voter registration by IEBC.
ODM leader Raila Odinga and his Azimio la Umoja team pitched tent in Murang’a County on Sunday, January 29 where they held a mega rally at Ihura stadium.
Raila who has been on a charm offensive of Mt. Kenya, a region that has not supported him in his four previous presidential elections assured Murang’a residents that he will tackle the water shortage problem if elected the president.
“This area is predominantly a farming region but the sector has a lot of problems. Your leaders told me in detail the problems facing them such as the high cost of fertilizers and farming inputs and I will address them,” Raila said.
The former prime minister used the Ihura rally to warn Kenyans against electing DP Ruto and his team saying they are selfish people who cannot be trusted with the leadership of the country.
The Azimio la Umoja team hit out at their opponents for calling Raila a state project adding that the ODM leader can be trusted to finish projects initiated by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“I have heard people saying BABA (Raila Odinga) is a project, I want to tell them that BABA is a project for the people of Mt Kenya and the country at large,” said Francis Kimemia, the Governor of Nyandarua.
Murang’a leaders requested the former prime minister to pick former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth as his running mate.
As the Azimio caravan was in Murang’a, Kenya Kwanza traversing Embu County before holding their mega rally at Thiba grounds in Kiriinyaga County.
Deputy President William Ruto used his Kirinyaga rally, which happened same day and time with Raila’, to continue his attack on his political nemesis, accusing the ODM party leader of political conmanship.
The second in command and his allies alleged that Raila has over the years instigated violence that led to economic losses in the country.
“This country will be destroyed when we have the kitendawili project (Raila Odinga) because his track record is littered with destruction, deceit, and conmanship,” William Ruto said.
The Kenya Kwanza team (Ruto, Mudavadi, and Wetangula) used the occasion to continue with their gospel of ODM leader Raila Odinga being a project of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“We are telling the president to spare us the kitendawili experiment. The country of Kenya cannot afford the kitendawili project,
” Sisi tunamuunga mkono rais lakini project ya kitendawili haiwezekanini katika Kenya (We support the president but we do not support project Raila Odinga),” Ruto said.
President Kenyatta’s political direction for Mt. Kenya
Other leaders at the William Ruto-led rally slammed the handshake between President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga saying it brought more problems than benefits.
Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua who is being taunted to be the running mate to DP Ruto challenged the head of state to come clean on their difference with his Deputy.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is also expected to visit the mountain in what will be termed Sagana 3, where he is expected to give the mountain people some political direction.
Political analysts suggest that Uhuru’s opinion will greatly sway the political future of the region and more the dynamics of the August 9 election.
Only time will tell, who between Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta will bag majority votes from Mt Kenya in August