Fresh storm over Sabina Chege’s rigging claim during Azimio rally

Kenya Kwanza Alliance principals Deputy President William Ruto, ANC Party leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya Leader Moses Wetangula addressing a political rally at Olenguruone in Kuresoi South, Nakuru county on February 11, 2022. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Fresh storm erupted yesterday over claims by a proponent of ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Azimio Movement confessing to a 2017 vote fraud and alluding a similar move could be replicated in August.

On Thursday, Murang’a Women Representative Sabina Chege revived the ghosts of 2017 polls, admitting that her side tinkered a little with the presidential poll to the disadvantage of Raila. She expressed confidence that Azimio would easily clinch the top prize.

On the day Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) summoned Chege to explain herself, Deputy President William Ruto rubbished the claims, defending his erstwhile buddy President Uhuru Kenyatta over the 2017 election.

“There are people claiming President Uhuru Kenyatta stole votes in 2017. They were nowhere when we were campaigning for Uhuru. They must respect the President,” said Ruto.

“The people who are talking out loud did nothing to win votes for Uhuru. I did the most campaigns for Uhuru and I know we won the election fairly. I am not yet tired of seeking this mandate,” said Ruto.

Later in the evening, IEBC’s Electoral Code of Conduct Enforcement Committee summoned Chege to appear before it on Tuesday morning:

“Whereas the Commission is seized of a report and material against yourself in regard to violation of clause 6(a) and 6(i) of the Electoral Code of Conduct, you are hereby required to attend the offices of the Commission on the 15th day of February 2022 at 9am,” the summonses read.

Riding on it all, Ruto and his allies vowed to jealously guard their votes in the upcoming elections.

“Our competitors have accepted that we have beaten them in strategy, policies and plans. Their only plan that we can’t engage them in is to steal votes. We are set and ready for this contest,” said Ruto.

Ruto spoke yesterday during rallies in Nakuru’s Rongai, Njoro and Kuresoi South sub-counties accompanied by his Kenya Kwanza brigade.

The DP added: “Raila was beaten by Mwai Kibaki, we beat him twice, what makes him think he will beat me? We beat them in recent by-elections. On August 9, we will beat them early in the morning and there is nothing they will do,” said Ruto.

He continued with his attacks on Raila whom he accused of capturing the State to benefit a few persons in government.

“We are united to rescue the country from those who have taken it hostage. We initiated development projects but the moment we touched on the Big Four agenda, they frustrated it. They want to maintain a high level of poverty for them to remain in leadership,” said Ruto.

While taking credit for Jubilee administration achievements, Ruto said all was set for the next government to initiate empowerment programmes for ordinary Kenyans.

“The coming polls will be a defining moment. There are a few people sitting in hotels and offices who think they will define the country’s future. Just because they have captured our economy, they shouldn’t think they will capture the country’s leadership again,” he said.

ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi rallied Nakuru residents to reject a Raila presidency, saying he would not solve the challenges facing the country since 2018.

“Azimio is a project that will make a remote-controlled government. We want a hands-on government. The economy is bleeding and we can’t afford a re-run. We must beat them with a margin that will deny them the confidence to reject the results,” said Mudavadi.

“Azimio team should be the last ones talking about stealing votes if indeed they mean well for the peace and unity of this country. We have galvanised support across the country and our message of peace is consistent,” he added.

Ford-Kenya party leader Moses Wetang’ula said Raila stands no chance in the race for State House since Kenyans are yearning for change which he cannot achieve.

“Government projects have never succeeded. Their only bet is on skewing the election. Raila is surrounded by the same old faces. Problems of this country will not be solved by the same people who created them,” he said.

The Bungoma senator warned that any plans to rig the election would plunge the country into chaos that would have direct implications on individuals.

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua said the Kenya Kwanza alliance will guard their votes and deter any plans of rigging Ruto out of the presidential contest. Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika drummed support for her governorship bid and pledged to work with Ruto’s government to transform the county.

“Nakuru will be the biggest beneficiary of Ruto’s government which is committed to empowering the micro-enterprises. I will adopt the national strategies for our local economy,” said Kihika.