Raila hosts Uhuru in first Kisumu visit since handshake

President Uhuru Kenyatta greets former Prime Minister Raila Odinga during the 55th Jamhuri Day Celebrations at Nyayo Stadium, Nairobi. [Photo, Courtesy]

President Uhuru Kenyatta is in Nyanza today for a two-day tour.

His visit is the first since the protracted presidential polls in August and October last year.

At the time, Opposition leader Raila Odinga ordered his supporters in Kisumu and Siaya to boycott the October repeat presidential election.

Many adhered to the calls and stayed away from the polling stations as roads were blocked in Migori and Homa Bay. In short, the poll did not take place in several parts of Nyanza.

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In Kisumu voting material remained in the stores after presiding officers failed to pick them for fear of being victimised.

No ballot materials reached the 140 polling stations in the constituency. Kisumu Central Constituency returning officer John Ngutahi said out of the 399 officers, only four reported for duty.

But nine months after the March 9 handshake, political turmoil has become a thing of the past.

Today, Raila hosts Uhuru at his home in Opoda, Bondo.

The President is touring Nyanza after more than a year. The last time he set foot in Kisumu was in July 2017.

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Residents in Kondele, a hotspot in last year's post-election chaos, said they are ready to work for development.

They lined the streets since dawn, some in Mamboleo showground, in anticipation of the President and Raila's visit.

Homa Bay Woman Rep Gladys Wanga who was behind the 'Wakiapisha Tunaapisha' mantra and the Resist Movement is among the leaders who are upbeat for Uhuru's visit.

In a radio interview on Tuesday, Raila said the Kisumu visit will further unite leaders and spearhead reconciliation talks.

The two seem to dance to the tune of Nandi and Luo elders, who have called on the two national leaders to spread their unity gospel to the grassroots.

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Some of the matters they expect Uhuru to address include job opportunities, water hyacinth, the ailing sugar industry and refurbishment of the Kisumu airport.

They also expect the President to launch the Sh37 billion Soin-Koru Dam to supply water to Kisumu, Homa Bay and Kericho.

Itinerary

According to an itinerary released by President Uhuru Kenyatta's communication team, the historic visit will begin at Ahero, 24 kilometres from Kisumu.

At Ahero, he will oversee the ground-breaking for a road interchange project at Ahero and thereafter travel by road making brief stopovers at Ahero and Nyamasaria.

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State House said he will then preside over the opening of Ken Obura School in Kisumu and in the afternoon commission the construction of Kisumu-Kakamega Road at Mamboleo.

It is at Mamboleo where he will launch the Universal Health Coverage pilot program and then attend the UHC luncheon at Nyanza Golf Club.

Though still not confirmed by State House, Raila Odinga told a radio station that Uhuru is to meet a group of women leaders and open a Kenya National Housing Corporation (KNHC) project that involves the putting up of houses in Kisumu.

"The president will have a busy day. He will speak about the extension of the Standard Gauge Railway line to Kisumu," Raila said.

Mr Odinga added that Uhuru will also pay homage to the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Mausoleum Museum in Bondo.

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Uhuru KenyattaRailaMarch 9 handshakeItineraryHoma Bay Woman Rep Gladys Wanga