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Kenya Kwanza says state plans to manipulate polls

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Deputy President William Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza Alliance team yesterday stormed his Rift Valley backyard in a six-rally blitz that saw them comb through Uasin Gishu, Kericho, Baringo and Nakuru counties.

While the DP held a rally in Uasin Gishu and three more in Nakuru County, his running mate Rigathi Gachagua and Ford Kenya boss Moses Wetang’ula camped in Kericho while ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi led a separate team in Baringo.

In his Uasin Gishu backyard, the DP asked the region not to elect his critics in the forthcoming General Election, saying they had turned against him after riding on his wave in 2017.

The Kenya Kwanza Alliance team also demanded assurances by the electoral commission and the government on results transmission and the phone network coverage in the 52,000 polling stations, as they rubbished opinion polls placing Azimio la Umoja flagbearer Raila Odinga ahead of Dr Ruto.

“When we shall be sending Raila Odinga to Bondo in August, leaders including Mishra should be voted out. We gave him votes in 2017 but he has since become full of pride and arrogance,” said DP Ruto in Uasin Gishu.

Elgeyo-Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos, MPs Dr Swarup Mishra (Kesses), Silas Tiren (Moiben), Joshua Kutuny (Cherangany) and Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), among others, are perceived to be anti-Ruto and are facing an onslaught from his allies.

Dr Ruto, accompanied by Chama cha Kazi leader Moses Kuria, Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago and a host of MPs and UDA nominees from the North Rift, also asked voters to shun tribalism.

“We elected some of these leaders (his critics) without any bias and we gave them a platform to represent and work for wananchi. They have plundered public resources and some cannot even walk, time is nigh they are shown the door,” said the DP.

Dr Ruto pledged to create 50,000 jobs for residents of Uasin Gishu County if his Kenya Kwanza team forms government, saying his administration will put up 10,000 low-cost houses for Eldoret residents.

“Do not elect our competitors because they want to reintroduce the BBI reggae (Building Bridges Initiative) once they assume power instead of championing economic transformation. Kenya Kwanza has a deliberate plan to expand the economy by investing more than Sh100 billion to create more jobs for youths,” he said.

In Kericho, Mr Gachagua downplayed claims of a political contest between him and Narc Kenya party leader Ms Martha Karua, who was picked as former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s running mate.

“I have seen the media running the narrative that the contest in Mt Kenya and the country is between Ms Karua and I, but I want to clarify and set the record straight that the presidential competition is one between Dr Ruto and Mr Odinga,” said Mr Gachagua in Kericho Town.

Much as the contest is between the actual presidential contenders, the choice of running mate has the ability to add value to the race.

It was Mr Gachagua’s first tour of the South Rift region after being picked as a running mate.

“I have always wanted to face Mr Odinga in the campaigns, but he has been hiding behind my friend President Uhuru Kenyatta. I am happy President Kenyatta has stepped back, now we can face him in an issues-based contest,” said Mr Gachagua.

In the rally, Mr Wetang’ula accused Azimio—without providing any evidence—of seeking to influence voter perception with skewed opinion polls in a bid to sell a narrative that Mr Odinga was popular across the country.

“Our opponents are seeking to ride on fake opinion polls calculated to influence public perception ahead of the election. But the truth is out there for all to see,” said Mr Wetang’ula.

The Ford Kenya party leader said Kenyans were looking forward to electing a team of leaders keen on revitalising the economy.

In Baringo, the Kenya Kwanza team challenged Information technology Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to come clean on the network coverage in the polling stations.

Led by Mr Mudavadi, the team insisted that the IEBC should be left to oversee the polls without any interference.

“We do not want the will of the people to be annulled. Results should be relayed in the right manner and we are watching closely because we suspect some government ministries want to interfere with the process,” said Mr Mudavadi.

The ANC boss also took on Attorney-General Paul Kihara on why he is constantly going to court to block Kenyans from knowing the collateral that was used for the standard gauge railway (SGR).

In Nakuru, Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen also took on IEBC, alleging it was taking sides with some government officials who have been allowed to campaign for their preferred candidates, while others are being intimidated.

Reporting by Eric Matara, Fred Kibor, Florah Koech, and Vitalis Kimutai



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