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President Uhuru drums up support for Jubilee in Western as Raila set to visit region

By Ignatius Odanga and Titus Oteba | Published Fri, December 16th 2016 at 00:00, Updated December 16th 2016 at 08:34 GMT +3
President Uhuru Kenyatta accompanied by his deputy William Ruto, during a tour of Rai Paper in Webuye, Bungoma County yesterday. [photo: PSCU]

President Uhuru Kenyatta is in Western Kenya for the second day, as the battle for the region’s votes intensifies.

Uhuru is expected to initiate more development projects in the region even as he campaigns for his re-election in next year’s polls.

The President’s visit comes ahead of CORD leader Raila Odinga’s, who is expected in the region tomorrow.

Raila will be accompanied by ODM deputy party leaders, governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa) and Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega). The President and the CORD leader have, in the past few months, intensified their campaigns in both Western and Coast regions within hours of each other's visit.

Though regarded as Opposition zones, Uhuru and his deputy, William Ruto, have been making inroads using their allies like Kilifi North Gideon Mung'aro at the Coast and Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka in Western.

Raila on the other hand has been relying on Governor Joho and Taita Taveta Governor John Mruttu to maintain a stronghold of the Coast region.

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On arrival at Matulo Airstrip yesterday, Uhuru and Ruto first commissioned the Kopsiro-Kapsokwony road in Mt Elgon constituency, Bungoma County.

Speaking at Kopsiro, the President slammed the Opposition for castigating Jubilee development projects saying CORD has lost direction to lead the country.

"The propaganda by Opposition is doing more harm than good to them. They should stop politicking about the electricity programme and other developments projects we have initiated. It is unfortunate they do not understand why the Government was connecting Kenyans with power," said Uhuru.

He said the Opposition propaganda only creates divisions and asked Kenyans to focus on issues that will help change their lives instead of listening to CORD messages.

"Kenyans are very clever and they can sieve between the truth and lies. Why are they fond of using propaganda to win votes from Kenyans? At least for the three years in power, you can see what we have done that they failed to do during the Grand Coalition government," said the President.

He said relentless criticism by the Opposition will not stop him and his deputy from serving the public.

"We shall continue to serve Kenyans countrywide no matter the criticism. This road will open Mount Elgon and connect the area to other regions," he added.

Title Deeds

The President appealed to Mt Elgon residents to remain in Jubilee and vote for him in the forthcoming General Election slated for August 8, 2017.

Uhuru also issued title deeds to 465 residents of Chebyuk settlement scheme at Kopsiro Primary School and noted that the issuance of the title deeds will guarantee locals legal ownership of their land.

"Those we have given title deeds can now build permanent houses and stay comfortably, because no one will come to eject you," he said.

The two leaders then proceeded to open Rai Paper Factory, formerly known as Pan Paper Mills that had stalled for close to a decade.

"Re-opening of this factory will create a ripple effect to this town with former employees and residents of Webuye benefiting from its revival. We want to create jobs and kick out poverty," said Uhuru.

The President said that with the revival of the miller, 500 people will be employed in Phase One while 350 will be hired when the second line starts rolling in July next year.

The head of State also said his government will clear three months basic salaries for all former employees through a gratia payment to allow the new investor start on a neutral ground.

"All former employees either alive or dead will be given a three months basic salary so that they can be able to carry on with their lives. This will allow the investor start the business on a level ground," said Uhuru.

He asked the Nzoia Sugar Company management and the board to give a clear explanation on how the Sh1 billion given out by the Government as a bail out was used.

The visibly angry Uhuru said the management and the board of the Bungoma-based firm had failed to explain how the funds were used and were politicizing it so that they are added more funds.

"Elected leaders are asking me to waive the Nzoia Sugar debts. I can't because I haven't received a satisfactory answer on how the Sh1 billion we gave them was used, you can't put on nice suits and fail to account for the cash we gave you," he said

Speaking at the Rai Mills grounds, Ruto said the Government was committed to developing every region in the country.

"CORD is competing about positions of a few individuals but we as Jubilee are fighting for all Kenyans and that is our primary goal," said Ruto.

The President reiterated that the Government will write off debts owed to co-operative societies in the country to help Kenyans engage in agriculture extensively.

He defended his government saying it was not about talking and making empty promises but acting through projects aimed at changing the living standards of people regardless of their political affiliations.

Governor Lusaka called on Bungoma residents to support the Jubilee government for it to continue creating job opportunities in the county.

"Let us support Jubilee government, it is the only administration that supports us, let's vote for Uhuru next year and we will continue reaping from it," said Lusaka.