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Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga to tour Western in vote hunt

By Ignatius Odanga | Published Thu, December 15th 2016 at 00:00, Updated December 14th 2016 at 23:49 GMT +3
CORD leader Raila Odinga addresses supporters in a past tour. (Photo: Kipsang Joseph/Standard)

The scramble for vote-rich Western region is set to intensify with President Uhuru Kenyatta and is deputy, William Ruto, starting their two-day visit Thursday.

CORD leader Raila Odinga will also be in Vihiga County accompanied by Amani leader Musalia Mudavadi on Saturday.

This will be the first time Raila and Mudavadi will be sharing a platform in Western region since they publicly declared they were keen to work together ahead of next year's polls.

President Uhuru's trip comes barely two weeks after his deputy camped in Kakamega and Busia presiding over harambees. Uhuru is expected to tour Kakamega, Bungoma and Busia.

Western is perceived to be an Opposition stronghold, having voted overwhelmingly for Raila in the 2013 General Election but Jubilee is leaving nothing to chance as it seeks to have its presence felt.

Bungoma Governor and Jubilee point man in the region Ken Lusaka said the President will initiate and revive some projects.

"He is coming to launch several development projects among them Webuye Pan Paper, which is going to create employment opportunity to the locals," said Mr Lusaka.

Jubilee supporters in the region, including David Were (Matungu), Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo), Ben Washiali (Mumias East), Malulu Injendi (Malava), Bernard Shinali (Ikolomani) and former Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito have vowed to do everything within their power to ensure Jubilee gets considerable number of elective seats in Kakamega County.

Raila will be in the region just a day after Uhuru leaves in what has become a regular character of the two political kingpins. The two have cancelled at least two visits to the region that were to be held either concurrently or in intervals of one day.

Uhuru cancelled several activities he had lined up at the time he presided over the Kibabii University graduation ceremony on November 24.

He was to tour Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma and Vihiga to launch and commission new projects but the programme suddenly changed and he restricted himself to Bungoma where he presided over the graduation.

A day later, Raila was in the region meeting with ODM delegates at Golf Hotel in Kakamega County.

The President will today switch on Pan-Paper Mills, which has not been operational for seven years. He will also commission roads in Kakamega, Busia and Bungoma and make several roadside address.

Raila on the other hand will open Mumboha Stadium in Luanda town in Mudavadi's backyard and later address the public at the same venue.

He will be accompanied by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Mombasa's Hassan Joho.

Mudavadi on his part will be in Mumias on Sunday to attend a church service at Bishop Haningtone Cathedral followed by a meet-the-people tour in different parts of Kakamega.

Raila and Mudavadi have shown strong signs of working together again. In the recent days, the two politicians have been seen together, latest being the National Governing Council of Wiper Party at Kasarani, Nairobi.