Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Tuesday, 28 Mar 2017 15:12 EAT
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s cancellation of two planned campaign rallies in Mt Kenya and Western in a row throws spanner into the works of the Jubilee Party campaign as the August 8 general elections draw near. According to information published in the Standard, the president's tour of Meru was called off following grumbling among local leaders which had turned the ground hostile.
State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu announced Monday that due to unavoidable circumstances, President Kenyatta would not be making the two-day visit to Tharaka Nithi and Meru counties starting today “as had earlier been indicated”. Mr Esipisu said Uhuru would, instead, make a visit to western Kenya later in the week in an itinerary that features Trans Nzoia, Bungoma, Busia and Kakamega counties.
Early this morning, State House said President Kenyatta had cancelled the Western tour as well, in order to deal with Jubilee Party’s nominations issues. The cancellation, however, could have been informed by other matters. Mr Esipisu noted in his press statement that parties have just till the end of this week to submit their lists to IEBC, and that had made the President to adjust his program to address emerging issues.
"The President wants nominees to focus on this important democratic process," the statement said. "He is keen to ensure that all processes are fulfilled as required by guidelines provided for by the necessary institutions mandated to ensure a credible nominations process." Obviously, the party nominations timetable has been out for months, and the president's handlers knew about the party issues yesterday when the itinerary was published.
An intelligence source told the Kenya Free Press that they had informed the president of plans to boo him in Meru and Tharaka counties. "It would be bad for the president to be heckled in his own backyard, so we intervened to have the trip postponed," said the source, who explained that Uhuru's association with two unpopular teams campaigning for Jubilee in the region had repelled many voters.
"This region is a Jubilee stronghold and will remain so in this election if the president plays his cards, and he has been advised to distance himself from the Kikali team (acronym for Kiraitu Murungu, Florence Kajuju and Mithika Linturi who are running for the governorship, women representative and senate positions).