Busi­ness­men plot Uhuru cam­paigns, win

Traders vow to use their re­sources as they call upon lead­ers and election losers to work to­gether

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - SUNDAY REVIEW - BY JOSEPH WANGUI jwan­gui@ke.na­tion­media.com

Team map 10 coun­ties they say should give the pres­i­dent more than four mil­lion votes

Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta’s re­elec­tion cam­paign in Mt Kenya has kicked off in earnest with var­i­ous groups promis­ing to en­sure he gets 4.4 mil­lion votes in the re­gion.

The busi­ness com­mu­nity led by In­dus­tri­al­ist Thuo Ma­thenge, Ephan­tus Thuku of Team Adonai lobby group from Nairobi and au­to­mo­bile dealer Wam­bugu Nyamu said en­trepreneurs in the re­gion will use per­sonal re­sources to mo­bilise vot­ers.

Speak­ing af­ter the first strat­egy meet­ing at White Rhino Ho­tel in Ny­eri town, Mr Ma­thenge called on elected lead­ers in the re­gion to also par­tic­i­pate in the pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns.

He said the 4,457,392 vot­ers in the ten coun­ties of Isi­olo, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Laikipia, Meru, Nyan­darua, Kirinyaga, Ki­ambu, Mu­rang’a and Ny­eri can give Pres­i­dent Keny­atta a good head-start dur­ing the Oc­to­ber 17 polls.

“We have de­cided to use our per­sonal re­sources to cam­paign for the Pres­i­dent and his deputy Wil­liam Ruto since they de­serve a sec­ond term in of­fice for their per­for­mance. Even the poll losers have joined the ship,” said Mr Ma­thenge.

He added that the busi­ness com­mu­nity will work closely with politi­cians to rally the vot­ers be­hind the Pres­i­dent and sen­si­tise them on the in­fras­truc­tural de­vel­op­ment projects un­der­taken in the last four years by Ju­bilee ad­min­is­tra­tion.

While speak­ing to jour­nal­ists, Mr Ma­thenge said the cam­paigns are aim­ing at en­sur­ing there is a 100 per­cent turnout.

He ob­served that the up­com­ing pres­i­den­tial election is cru­cial and will be won ac­cord­ing to turnout and, there­fore, the first tac­tic is to en­sure ev­ery vote is counted.

He was echoed by Mr Nyamu who asked the elected lead­ers to en­er­gise and re­vive their re­spec­tive cam­paign teams.

“We have noted that af­ter win­ning the polls, the lead­ers re­treated to Nairobi and are in slum­ber. Huge task is ahead for Oc­to­ber 17 and we must have ev­ery reg­is­tered voter in the queue,” noted Mr Nyamu.

A women’s leader, El­iz­a­beth Muthoni Wan­jau, said the team has es­tab­lished cam­paign struc­tures at the grass­roots start­ing at the polling sta­tion level.

The group also called on the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral and Bound­aries Com­mis­sion (IEBC) to start voter ed­u­ca­tion to min­imise spoilt and re­jected votes.

“Voter ed­u­ca­tion is crit­i­cal ahead of election. IEBC must en­sure vot­ers are well ed­u­cated to cast their votes in the right man­ner,” said Mr Wam­bugu Ndi­rangu, a mem­ber of the team.

The group termed the 10 coun­ties as Ju­bilee Party strongholds, say­ing Nasa flag­bearer Raila Odinga has no chance in the ar­eas.

Mean­while Mu­rang’a Gover­nor Mwangi wa Iria and Ny­eri Gover­nor Wa­home Gakuru are reach­ing out to those who did not vote in the Au­gust polls.

The two gover­nors said ap­prox­i­mately 700,000 vot­ers did not par­tic­i­pate in the polls.

“In the Au­gust 8 elec­tions mo­bil­i­sa­tion was high be­cause all as­pi­rants were in­volved. There are no as­pi­rants for other po­si­tions this time round and most poll losers are not in­volved, there­fore we must heighten our mo­bil­i­sa­tion ef­forts,” said Mr Wa Iria.

The gover­nor said they will have a regis­ter out­side each polling sta­tion to en­sure ev­ery­body votes.

Mr Gakuru, on his part, said ef­forts must be made to en­sure ev­ery reg­is­tered voter participates dur­ing the re­run, say­ing the polls will be won based on num­bers.

“We are map­ping out ar­eas which had poor turn out. We will en­sure the old and the sick will par­tic­i­pate in the election. We are not tak­ing chances,” he said.

He re­vealed that bod­aboda op­er­a­tors will be used to ferry the im­mo­bilised vot­ers to polling sta­tions.

In Nyan­darua County, losers in the Au­gust 8 elec­tions are un­happy with the way pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns are be­ing.

In a meet­ing at­tended by in­de­pen­dent can­di­dates and those from Ju­bilee friendly par­ties, the losers led by Dr Kiarie Badil­isha, who vied un­suc­cess­fully for gover­nor, said the one-man show mode adapted by Gover­nor Fran­cis Kimemia will af­fect voter turnout in the county.

“It is very dan­ger­ous to iso­late other lead­ers at this stage. Mr Kimemia must un­der­stand that the losers have a sub­stan­tive sup­port base who need to be con­vinced and lured to vote on Oc­to­ber 17. It’s only in Nyan­darua where lead­ers were side­lined dur­ing a meet­ing con­vened by Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta at Sa­gana Lodge,” said Dr Badil­isha.

He added: “We want to re­mind Gover­nor Kimemia that there are no elec­tions for lo­cal po­si­tions, he should not feel threat­ened. What we have are pres­i­den­tial elec­tions where ev­ery vote counts. We must all work as a team to en­sure a 100 per cent voter turnout.”

–Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Waikwa Maina

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