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Raila: My tour of Mt Kenya unstoppable

ODM leader Raila Odinga has said his planned visit to Mt Kenya region to popularise the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) will go on uninterrupted.

In a move to show his determination, Raila yesterday visited Githurai, a place that his ally, nominated MP Maina Kamanda, said had been rumoured to be no-go zone for the former prime minister.

Siaya Senator James Orengo termed Githurai a “gateway to Central Kenya”, insisting that no amount of intimidation or propaganda would deter the ODM team, led by Raila, not to visit the region.

Yesterday’s stop-over addresses by Raila and his allies came days after he met with Githurai traders and they agreed to work together to popularise BBI.

Raila was warmly received at Roysambu and Githurai market, where he addressed residents.

“Some say Raila is not welcome in Central. What sin has Raila committed?” he posed to the crowd.

Raila traced the history of the relationship that his family, led by his father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, and first President Jomo Kenyatta enjoyed. He said there had been a friendly link that he was now demonstrating with President Uhuru Kenyatta and other leaders from Mt Kenya region.

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After a detailed illustration of his closeness with Mt Kenya, Raila charged, “Who can stop me from visiting? I will visit again many times.”

He reminisced the old days when he appealed to many voters in Mt Kenya region; when he campaigned for President Mwai Kibaki under the slogan “Kibaki tosha”.

“Mutongoria Njamba (brave leader) was how I was referred to. I am muthoniwa (in-law), my sons have married from Central,” he said.

The ODM leader said he had the backing of President Kenyatta even as he delivered greetings from the head of state during his three stop-overs in the area.

He defended Uhuru as a leader geared towards ensuring projects are implemented, but lashed out at Deputy President William Ruto whom he accused of making too much empty talk.

Raila said he was now working closely with Uhuru to bring development to the country, even as he urged locals to dismiss Ruto whom he christened ‘Mr Six Months’, owing to the many promises the Jubilee administration has not implemented.

“No to wheelbarrow, yes to BBI,” Raila chanted to the crowds.

ODM leader Raila Odinga addresses residents of Githurai yesterday. [Fidelis Kabunyi, Standard]

Wheelbarrow has been associated with Ruto who has been issuing single-wheel carts to people as he popularises his 2022 presidential bid.

Better offer

Raila continued his onslaught against Ruto, accusing him of making many promises to the youth, including employment of one million individuals every year, only for the DP to shove wheelbarrows and handcarts at them.

“BBI has a better offer for the youth. There is seven-year tax holiday for those interested in business. There will be a youth commission and many other things that will help youth to leap out of poverty,” he said.

A stop-over at Githurai, however, faced some hiccups after a rival group, which was about some metres away, began chanting “hustler” and “Ruto” before hurling stones towards the crowd that was being addressed by the ODM leader.

The fracas did not, however, interrupt the address by Raila as police lobbed teargas and dispersed the group.

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