Deputy President William Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza brigade took their campaigns to the Rift Valley, where they asked Cabinet Secretaries to keep off the elections.
The leaders who combed the South and North Rift regions, pointed an accusing finger at some government officials for allegedly interfering with the work of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Dr Ruto led a team in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, his running mate Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua was in Kericho County while ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi campaigned in Baringo County.
With opinion polls showing a hotly contested race between the DP and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga, the Kenya Kwanza team accused Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiang’I (Interior), Joe Mucheru (ICT) and Margaret Kobia of Public Service of alleged interference in election preparations.
Ruto, however, steered clear of the matter when he addressed rallies. The leaders did not provide evidence or details of the alleged interference by the three Cabinet Secretaries. Addressing rallies in Baringo, Mudavadi said: “We must have a free and fair election. IEBC should maintain its independence. We don’t want interference with it through the ministries of ICT, Interior, or any other.”
The ANC leader urged IEBC to maintain integrity in the tallying and transmission of poll results to avert disputes. “The 2017 Supreme Court ruling declared that for tallying of the presidential election, the ultimate document is Form 34A. We urge IEBC to stick to that ruling. We will be watching,” he said. He took issue with Mucheru and Attorney General Kihara Kariuki, saying they had kept many matters of public interest a secret.
“Kihara has blocked access to details on the collateral used for the loan spent on the construction of Standard Gauge Railway. Mucheru has never declared how much the government got from the 5G network licensing,” said Mudavadi. He exuded confidence that the Kenya Kwanza Alliance will win the presidential election.
“Kenya Kwanza has bagged the Coast, the Rift Valley, Mt Kenya, and recently Ukambani. You already know where Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka is headed to. Azimio is like a hostage,” he said. The Kenya Kwanza Rift Valley tour came a week after the unveiling Gachagua as Dr Ruto’s running mate.
The climax for the campaigns was in Nakuru where the three teams converged in Rongai before hitting the road with stopovers in Rhonda, Nakuru Town and Frea Area.
Dr Ruto said the Azimio presidential candidate did not do anything for the region when he was prime minister. “There is nothing that Raila Odinga has to show that he did for the people of Nakuru when he was Prime Minister. For us, our track record in the various sectors of economy speaks for itself,” he said.
Singling out Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka’s exit from Azimio, the DP said Raila could not be trusted with the country’s leadership.
“Raila broke Kanu, Jubilee and recently abandoned Kalonzo Musyoka. This is not a man who can lead this country,” he said. Dr Ruto promised to revive the economy, citing plans to boost Small and Micro Enterprises and ensure affordable and universal health care for all.
“We shall have billions allocated to the various sectors of our economy. Bottom-up is a strategy being adopted globally. In addition, we shall address social issues including affordable and universal health care,” he said.
He pledged to revive dam projects that stalled in the region and ensure water supply to residents.
“We had Chemasusu and Itare dams to provide water to the people of Nakuru. Itare which stalled due to bad politics will be my first assignment once elected,” said Ruto.
Mr Gachagua said the removal of Ruto allies from government was aimed at frustrating Kenyans. He maintained that the presidential contest was a two-horse race.
“They removed us from various positions of leadership and even planned to impeach Ruto but did not succeed. August polls will be a two-horse race. Any other narrative is untrue,” he said. Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula called on voters to turn up in large numbers on the voting day saying the Rift region had greater responsibility in propelling Ruto to power. “The Rift Valley must realise that charity begins at home. Mt Kenya and Western are locked for Ruto. Do not remain at home and assume that Ruto has won without you voting,” said Wetang’ula.
The Ford Kenya leader claimed some officials were keen on using the provincial administration to manipulate the election preparations. Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot and Emurua Dikir MP Johana Ngeno urged IEBC to ensure proper preparedness. “It must prepare itself very well for the election,” said Mr Ngeno. Nandi Governor Stephen Sang urged the IEBC to ensure the integrity of the election is not compromised.
“We are asking IEBC to ensure all the systems are water tight. Do not allow the government or its officers to interfere with your independence,” said Sang. Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa said: “We are aware of polling centers with no network. We urge the ICT ministry and Communications Authority to resolve this.”
Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen called for a code of conduct to guide government agencies involved in elections.
“Politicians are bound by a code of conduct in an election. We also need a code of conduct that will bind the Communication Authority of Kenya and other institutions to be impartial,” said Mr Murkomen.
Matiang’i and Mucheru have previously dismissed claims of alleged rigging, with the Interior CS saying “it is the usual nonsense and paranoia by politicians” which should be ignored by Kenyans.