Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Saturday, 15 Apr 2017 15:20 EAT
President Uhuru Kenyatta signaled further today his inclination to support non-Jubilee Party candidates provided supporters of rival parties promote his own re-election campaign.
A week after supporting opponents of Jubilee Party candidates in Wajir County, the president today hosted at State House in Nairobi a key group of businessmen from Muranga County who have snubbed Jubilee's preseumptive nominee Peter Kenneth and endorsed Nairobi governor Evans Kidero for re-election.
The president hosted officials of Rwathia Group of Companies, an influential group of old businessmen whose careers go back to the founding of the Kenyan nation and their successors at a meeting that was also attended by Governor Kidero. The group is campaigning for both the president and Mr Kidero under the ‘Uhuru, Kidero Tena’ slogan.
The president at a discussion with the businessmen. On his immediate left is Governor Kidero.
Hosting the team that was led by the company’s chairman Gerald Gikonyo, the president sent the message that he supported the ‘Uhuru, Kidero Tena’ campaign agenda and would not mind the re-election of Governor Kidero provided his own campaign machinery remains intact.
Jubilee gubernatorial candidates Kenneth, Mike Sonko, Margaret Wanjiru and Dennis Waweru have failed to agree on a line-up and are expected to face each other during the Jubilee nominations slated for April 21. Sonko has accused the Jubilee Party leadership of favouring Mr Kenneth.
The State House visit comes in the heels of Mr Gokonyo's leadership of business community from Murang’a county in endorsing Dr Kidero’s re-election, a story that was exclusively covered by the Kenya Free Press.
At today's meeting, the president shared with Dr Kidero the symbolic 'key for Nairobi' with which he had honoured Mr Gikonyo. The key will allow the businessman to park his cars free of charge for the rest of his life, attend all county and national governments functions and have a road named after him besides other benefits.
Mr Gikonyo is the fourth person to receive the award after the late Cardinal Maurice Otunga of the Catholic Church, former Tanzania President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete and Nobel laureate, late Prof Wangari Maathai.
Mr Kidero's endorsement by the team has sent alarm in Peter Kenneth's election campaign which views it as part of an acknowledgment that the former Gatanga MP would not beat Dr Kidero in the election.
"The development was bad enough, but the fact that the president has lent this group credence will undermine Mr Kenneth's campaign a great deal," said a journalist working at the Jubilee Party secretariat.