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NASA takes battle to Uhuru, Ruto doorstep

By Rawlings Otieno | February 24th 2017
ODM party leader Raila Odinga (right) at a meeting with a delegation from West Pokot county at Orange House, Nairobi. [Photo: Elvis Ogina/Standard]

The Opposition coalition will take the battle for votes to Deputy President William Ruto’s backyard of Uasin Gishu just a day after they formalised their union. 

The rally in Eldoret tomorrow marks the beginning of a series of events in the coming days to popularise the National Super Alliance (NASA).

It will also be the first time the NASA co-principals Raila Odinga (ODM), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) and Moses Wetang’ula (Ford-K) will campaign together.

From Eldoret, Raila will head to Mt Kenya region on Monday to woo supporters in Meru, Isiolo, and Tharaka Nithi counties. The coalition's strategists believe that popularising NASA in Jubilee strongholds will win new support and tilt the numbers in its favour ahead of the August polls.

On Tuesday, he will dedicate the day to Tharaka Nithi before heading to Kwale on Wednesday, where he is scheduled to unveil the senatorial candidate following the sudden death of Boy Juma Boy last week.

The former prime minister's whirlwind tour was unveiled when he met delegations from West Pokot, Kajiado, and Kwale counties at Orange House Thursday.

He took a swipe at President Uhuru and the Jubilee administration, accusing them of implementing projects that do not resonate with the citizen, adding that the cost of living was unbearable.

"The Jubilee government only has empty promises and even if you give them 100 years, they will not implement anything for the good of the common man. Their work is to set aside, set aside, set aside funds," said Odinga amid applause from the delegates.

He later held a closed-door meeting with the Kwale delegation to firm up Issah Juma Boy's endorsement to succeed his brother in the Senate.

From Kwale, Odinga will pitch camp in Baringo on Thursday then head to West Pokot before finalising his tour in Senate Deputy Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen's home turf of Elgeyo Marakwet County.

Odinga also took a swipe at Deputy President William Ruto for accusing NASA leaders of planning to share power, yet he himself is in power and seeks to retain power.

"We are not forming NASA just to share power, but to serve the citizens. If he does not want power, let him go home," said Odinga.

He also dismissed media reports that Kajiado, Nyamira, Narok, Kisii, Turkana, and Trans Nzoia counties are battle grounds, declaring that they are fully opposition zones. At the same time he challenged the government to contain insecurity in Baringo, West Pokot, and Elgeyo Marakwet counties to avoid the killing of innocent people.

Odinga said the responsibility of any effective government is to protect the lives and property of its citizens and not just to issue threats.

"We want a clear statement on what action the government intends to take on the issue of insecurity in Baringo, West Pokot, and Elgeyo Marakwet counties. The wanton killing of innocent people can only happen where there is no functional government," he said.

The West Pokot delegation told Odinga that the security situation between the communities living in Baringo and West Pokot counties was wanting, adding that if the killings are not contained, more blood would be shed.

The Orange Party leader said that supporters in the six counties were solidly behind the expanded opposition and would change the tide in the August polls against the incumbent.

Odinga told them that a NASA government would ensure that no one sleeps hungry, that the youth have jobs, and that resources are channelled to better use.

He said that most pastoralists have lost livestock due to the ongoing drought and famine and wondered why the government had not set aside funds to purchase the animals before they die of hunger.

Odinga explained that during the Grand Coalition government, money was allocated to purchase animals at market rate from pastoralist communities to save them from massive loss of animals due to drought.

He said that even though water was discovered in Turkana that can serve the country for 70 years, the government has not thought it wise to allocate funds to drill, purify, and supply it to Turkana residents.

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