Uhuru warns Opposition against threats of election violence
By Paul Mutua and Joseph Muchiri
| January 26th 2017
President Uhuru Kenyatta has called for an end to the Opposition’s threats of violence.
Responding to threats by Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga, Uhuru said he was committed to ensuring that no Kenyan was hurt or property destroyed before, during or after the August 8 polls.
The President called for peaceful campaigns and warned that political violence would not be tolerated.
Raila had warned that alleged voter importation and harassment of Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho would break up the country.
Uhuru said the Opposition should sell their policies to the electorate instead of issuing threats.
“Stop talking of violence all the time and let us compete on policies. Let Kenyans make their own choices,” Uhuru said in Kiritiri in Embu County.
He claimed Raila had sensed defeat and was trying to seek sympathy from Kenyans by alleging plots to rig the elections.
“We will not be led by threats that it must either be his (Raila’s) way or none. We cannot allow that because Kenya belongs to all of us,” said Uhuru.
But in a rejoinder Wednesday evening, Raila accused the President of intimidating the Opposition into silence through threats of arrest.
Addressing a voter registration awareness rally at Changamwe Social Hall, Raila said he had paid a high price for democracy and would not be cowed by threats of arrest.
He was reacting to Uhuru’s warning that anyone who incited violence and threatened peace would be arrested and charged.
Uhuru was speaking on the the eighth day of his whirlwind tour of Jubilee Party strongholds to mobilise residents to register as voters.
Wednesday, he toured Ugweri market, Runyenjes and Mutunduri before addressing a rally in Embu town.
He has already visited Kirinyaga, Meru, Laikipia, Samburu, Isiolo, Garissa, Murang’a and Nyeri counties, and is expected in Marsabit County Friday morning.
He will be in Tharaka Nithi County in the afternoon.
On Jubilee Party nominations, the President said it was up to the people to choose candidates of their choice.
“I will not favour any aspirants in the nominations. I will let you choose your favourite candidates and abide by your choice,” he said.
The President advised Embu leaders to embrace unity and desist from dividing people along ethnic and clan lines.
Earlier in Kitui, Uhuru expressed confidence that he would win votes in Ukambani in the forthcoming elections.
Speaking in Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka’s political base, he urged the community to disregard tribal inclinations during the elections and vote with their conscience.
The Wiper leader has also been combing Ukambani region in the last three days, calling on residents to register as voters.
Addressing a crowd at Kalundu market in Kitui town, the President vowed to ride against the Opposition’s tide of threats.
“I urge people in this region to evaluate and re-elect me and the Jubilee administration on our ability and willingness to transform your living standards. We are committed to changing the lives of our people,” he said.
He appealed to Kenyans to preserve national harmony and security, saying peace was the most important candidate one could elect.
“Kenyans must remember that their vote is their choice hence each and every one should be responsible for peaceful elections,” he said.
Earlier, the President flagged off trucks of relief water and animal fodder to mitigate the effects of the prevailing drought.
He urged county governments in drought-stricken areas to suspend some of their projects and channel the funds towards alleviating hunger and water shortages.
Uhuru also announced the re-introduction of school feeding programmes to cushion school children against hunger and keep them in school.
“My government will do whatever is within its means to alleviate the suffering of Kenyans facing starvation due to the prevailing drought. We also urge the county governments to do their bit and supplement our efforts,” he said.
Uhuru was accompanied by MPs John Munuve (Mwingi North), Rachael Nyamai (Kitui South), Victor Munyaka (Machakos Town) and Regina Ndambuki (Kilome); Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko and former Kibwezi MP Kalembe Ndile.
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