Businessmen plot Uhuru campaigns, win
Traders vow to use their resources as they call upon leaders and election losers to work together
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