Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Friday, 24 Mar 2017 13:38 EATdmutua@kenyafreepress.com
With only four months left to the general elections, political rallies and campaign meetings are picking up at a high rate, with aspirants for various seats and political parties focusing on reaching many citizens, asking for votes. With party primaries set for next month, it’s all systems go as candidates from presidential race down to the MCA prepare for a do or die duel.
In the Jubilee Party, President Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto have been touring various parts of the country together, hoping to win over voters come Election Day. Today, the president and his deputy were in Nakuru County mobilizing their voters while the opposition team led by CORD leader Raila Odinga toured Nairobi area and addressed a public rally at Musinde Muliro grounds in the sprawling Mathare slums.
DP Ruto, however, has not been conducting any campaigns by himself in the recent past, raising speculation as to whether the former Eldoret North MP was downscaling his contribution to the president's re-election campaign. Mr Ruto has only been seen going hand in hand with the president for rallies around the country.
The DP last conducted a campaign on his own on 25 February at Lugari, Kakamega County where he went to launch the Last Mile connectivity project. The event was deemed political given the loaded statements Mr Ruto directed at members of the Luyia community to vote for Jubilee on August elections.
Speaking in Malava, Mr Ruto challenged NASA co-principals Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula to tell Kenyans what plans they have for the country. He wondered why, six months to the election, they are yet to decide who their presidential candidate will be. DP has only been held campaign blitz when individually invited to churches, funerals or when launching national projects in counties.
Lately in what is seen as an aggressive strategy by Jubilee technocrats, the DP is now commonly seen alongside President Kenyatta, hosting him at his rallies, an apparent attempt to solidify their bond in the eyes of the voters. The commaradie is seen as answering backlash orchestrated by Council of Kikuyu elders pushed the President not to be with his deputy in campaign rallies.
Yesterday, Ruto suspended most political events in his North Rift backyard supposedly to avoid interfering with the Jubilee Party nominations. Speaking at AIPCA church during an installation ceremony for their new bishop and church service at Kasarani stadium on Sunday 19 March, Mr Ruto spoke of unity before, during and after the August elections.
“Let us not divide the country along ethnic, religious or political lines during campaigns. We should always remember the country comes first”, said Mr Ruto, who promised government committmwnt to ensure a peaceful election. He was accompanied by MPs Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Ferdinand Waititu (Kabete) and Alice Wahome of Kandara. Murang’a Senator Kembi Gitura was also present.
According to a Jubilee Party source, Mr Ruto's absence from the campaign trail has affected the party's planning for the election. "The DP doesn't add much value whenever he appears at meetings with President. His own campaigns were more useful, but some in the party thought otherwise," the source said.