ODM leader Raila Odinga has received the conditional backing of a section of MPs from Mt Kenya region to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The leaders’ support is, however, pegged on Raila agreeing to a list of demands, key among them, commit to allocating the region more funds for development, as well as solve what they called inequitable representation in elective positions.
Raila spent the second day campaigning in Nyeri yesterday, a key constituency the former prime minister hopes will make his bid for presidency unassailable.
The Azimio la Umoja meetings which started at Ruringu Stadium in Nyeri town brought together interest groups from the five counties of Nyeri, Kiambu, Laikipia, Muranga, and Nyandarua.
During the meeting, leaders gave a list of 10 demands to be met by Raila if he is to receive an endorsement from the central region.
The resolutions were read out by Muranga County MP Sabina Chege who said they had agreed to back Raila but he must implement the one man, one shilling, one-vote principle in the allocation of resources once in power.
The MPs cited incomplete infrastructure projects, rising poverty levels, hostile business and trade environment and youth unemployment.
They also stated: “That we unanimously support the agenda of Shared Prosperity and Inclusivity being championed by Raila through the Azimio la Umoja and the vision for a Kenyan nation founded on the principles of Utu, Umoja, Usawa, Usalizaji and Ustawi Kwa Wote.”
In his remarks, Raila said he played a major role in the economic development currently being undertaken by the Jubilee government.
“I was the minister for infrastructure for years and the designs you are seeing of the major highways such as dual carriageway from Thika to Marua was my design,” he said.
He said he aimed to grow the economy at 10 per cent each year and to reduce the number of Kenyans living in poverty.
“We have so much poverty and according to our constitution, no one is supposed to sleep hungry,” said Raila.
Raila dismissed criticism that promise to give Sh6,000 to the extremely poor families was untenable. “I have been the Prime minister, I know where the money is,” said Raila.
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Raila also held political rallies in Othaya and Mukurweini towns.
Azimio la Umoja, he said, was based on value that both he and President Uhuru Kenyatta believed in. He also spoke of plans to support smart agriculture and small and medium enterprises by creating a favourable business environment.
Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia admitted they had contributed to the negative perception of Raila when they were campaigning in 2017.
“We admit that we as leaders in the region said alot of negative things about Raila to the people, we called him names and we have to correct that and be honest about it,” he said.
Kimemia called on leaders to address the problem they created so they can sell Raila to the voters.
Others who spoke included Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, Suna East MP Junet Mohammed, former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, ODM Chair John Mbadi, Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyongo and Senator James Orengo.
Governors Cornell Rasanga,(Siaya) Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet) , Stanley Ongwae,(Kisii) and James Nyoro (Kiambu) were also in attendance.