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Leaders push for high turn out to secure first round victory

Posted on 1st Jan 1970 01:00:00 in

President Uhuru addresses his supporters during Jubilee rally at Uhuru Park in Nairobi. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta hopped across three counties as he made his last plea for re-election, as the 2017 presidential campaign entered the home stretch.

The Jubilee team was rallying supporters to turn up on Tuesday in large numbers to vote for them and ensure a decisive win, “which cannot be contested in courts or on the streets” by their National Super Alliance (NASA) rivals.

Ahead of today’s close of official campaigns, Kenyatta toured his Kiambu backyard where he told Jubilee supporters that high voter turn out is crucial to ensure a first round victory.

Swing counties

The President then flew to Narok County – largely considered a swing vote area – and urged the electorate to grant him another chance citing the Jubilee administration’s development record and appointment of locals to government jobs.

The Head of State returned to Nairobi where he addressed a rally at the historic Uhuru Park grounds. He heads to Afraha Stadium in Nakuru today where he is scheduled to hold the last campaign rally.

In Nairobi, Kenyatta told supporters that his administration had delivered on majority of the promises made to Kenyans in 2013. He said he should be given another five years to roll out more projects outlined in the Jubilee manifesto. See Also: IEBC faces more hurdles in court two days before poll

The President said his performance had surpassed what had been done by past regimes and that the country was on a positive trajectory.

“We have had an opportunity to go around the country telling people what Jubilee has done for the last four and a half years. In Lamu, we have installed their first connection to the national power grid. In Garissa and other parts, they have tarmac roads for the first time. Electricity connections have gone up from 32 to 58 per cent,” the Head of State said.

He also cited free maternal care, the National Hospital Insurance Fund and the scrapping of the national examination fee as some of the signature achievements of his administration, even as he promised more if re-elected on Tuesday.

The President and his running mate William Ruto told supporters that it was crucial that they return a clear win against their opponents and this can only be achieved if their voters turn up in large numbers.

“You must help me send our competitors to political oblivion once and for all. Please turn up in large numbers and without fear cast your votes so that we finish off this thing at once,” Uhuru pleaded with his supporters at Uhuru Park in Nairobi.

On his part Ruto said: “We need a clear win of a three million voters. Our opponents are used to street demonstrations and court battles. In 2013 we beat them with a margin of over 800,000 votes and they went to court. This time round our win must be resounding”.

The DP told NASA to stop making excuses of planned rigging and wait for a resounding defeat.

Sacred grounds

“They (NASA) started by demanding the removal of the electoral commission, then they started filing all manner of court cases in a bid to stop the elections. They now must stop this rhetoric of rigging and making wild claims against the military and the police,” said Ruto.

Earlier, the President was at the sacred Suswa Grounds in Narok East constituency, a day after NASA’s Raila Odinga campaigned in the area.

Kenyatta enumerated development projects his administration has initiated in the Maasai land including the appointment of locals to government.

“Of all successive government, it is only under my leadership that the Maa community has been recognised in terms of appointments to government and initiation of development projects,” Kenyatta said.

He cited the road linking Maralal town in Samburu County and the neighboring Laikipia County, saying for the first time since independent, the road is in process of being tarmacked.

Kenyatta also cited the ongoing construction of the Standard Gauge Railway that will pass through Kajiado and Narok counties.

“Here in Suswa we have plans to built a industrial park that would offer employment to young people once completed,” he said.

Maasai elders from across five Maa speaking counties installed Kenyatta as a community elder and declared him their preferred choice. Former Tanzania Prime Minister Edward Nyoyai Lowassa attended the rally and threw his weight behind the Jubilee leaders.

Lowassa said Kenyatta will unite the country and ensure integration of the East African countries.

“I am leaving Kenya today with confidence that Kenyatta will invite me for his inauguration for the second term,” he said.

Local church leaders also prayed for the president and his deputy.

Former Assistant minister David Sankori said the Jubilee government had waived wheat farmers debts worth over Sh 1 billion and initiated a number of key project.

“It is the wish of the Maa community from five counties and in the neighboring counties to support the re-election of President Kenyatta,” Mr Sankori said.

Kenyatta urged Kenyans to come out in large numbers and vote peacefully and assured that adequate steps had been put in place to ensure security.

He said the 2017 election will be determined by voter turnout.

“We urge Kenyans to continue maintaining peace and co-exist peacefully. They should not fight because of politics,” said the President.