Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Saturday, 03 Dec 2016 17:36 EAT
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s tour of Central Kenya early this week changed the political atmosphere in the region and defused worries in the Jubilee Party’s ranks about voter apathy in 2017 polls. The tour also saw the president offer tangible developmental ‘goodies’ to the residents including a write-off of Sh2 billion debt owned by the region’s coffee farmers.
Before the trip, there were fears that CORD leader Raila Odinga’s rising popularity across the country would compromise the president’s re-election chances should voters in Central Kenya not turn up in large numbers during the upcoming 2017 elections. Kikuyu voters’ apathy, it was widely held, was the major challenge the president faced.
However, Uhuru’s swift move saw the region rally behind Jubilee Party as expected, with tens of thousands of residents turning up for his rallies in Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Muranga and Laikipia counties. He received assurance that the region remained intact irrespective of the challenges the government has faced over corruption and ineptitude.
In the many rallies the president and his deputy William Ruto addressed, Raila was the subject, vilified for his criticism of the government. The opposition leader was accused of sabotaging the economic growth by raising incessant questions about government accountability.
During the campaign blitz, the President rallied the community behind his re-election bid and moved to unite rival aspirants especially those seeking the gubernatorial position in Kirinyaga County pitting former cabinet secretary Ann Waiguru, Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua and the incumbent Joseph Ndathi.
The president’s declaration that all other parties in the region should dissolve to join Jubilee Party was rejected outright by Ms Karua who has declared that she will run in her own Narc Kenya party for the Kirinyanga gubernatorial seat. Ms Karua attended all the two rallies the president addressed in the county, with the two hugging each other.
During the tour, the president gifted Laikipia, Murang’a and Kirinyaga with major infrastructure projects. These include the launch of Naromoru-Nairuta-Ngobit road will reduce the distance travelled between Naromoru and Kiganjo.
The president also opened the Mukurweini-Othaya Water and Sewerage Plant that will serve approximately 200,000 people in both constituencies. He inspected the ongoing construction of the 29km Kutus-Kianyaga-Kimuthungu Kithure-Kibubgi road as well as launching the Murang’a-Mukuyu-Gwathamaki road in Murang’a.
The president also visited Kerugoya Hospital, Murang’a Level 5 Hospital and Nanyuki Level 5 Hospital where he commissioned the completed installation of the equipment used in theatres and in radiology.
In Nyeri, while launching construction works on a market hub, the president said: “The Jubilee agenda is one of development and not divisive politics. The works we have rolled out are for the benefit of every Kenyan and those who oppose these projects do so to the detriment of the livelihoods of Kenyans”.