Raila Odinga pledges to repossess 'grabbed' ADC Mutara farm

Raila Odinga addresses supporters in Nyeri County. [Emmanuel Wanson, Standard]

Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga has said he will repossess the 16,000 acre ADC Mutara farm and restore it to government ownership if he wins the presidency.

Speaking in Rumuruti and Nanyuki during campaign rallies, the former Prime Minister said his main competitor and Deputy President William Ruto had already disowned any interest in the expansive farm and therefore, "we expected no opposition to the repossession plan."

"The DP scored an own goal in our favour during the presidential debate that I shunned," said Raila. "That is why I opted to skip that debate rather than subject myself to a debate with a dishonest Kenyan."

Raila was reacting to a plea by Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi and Laikipia North MP Sarah Korere to help reclaim the land which they said "had been grabbed and was in private hands."

The sprawling farm in Laikipia East and Laikipia East is owned by the Agricultural Development Corporation, a State agency formed in 1965 to promote the production of Kenya’s essential agricultural inputs such as seeds and pedigree livestock.

According to Suna East MP, the misappropriation of the farm was a major loss to the range lands that is Laikipia.

He said protection of residents and their property would spur the local economy including the livestock sector which had the potential of herding millionaires and creating vibrant allied industries.

Others in the meeting were Azimio running mate Martha Karua, former Assistant Minister Peter Kenneth, former National Assembly Speaker Francis Ole Kaparo and senatorial candidate Maina Njenga.

Raila who later flew to Nanyuki and held a rally at Central Park pledged to revive the collapsed Mountex Factory and revive the cotton industry.

He urged voters to elect only Azimio leaders to make his presidency easy.

At the rally, Laikipia Deputy Governor John Mwaniki who was the Jubilee senatorial candidates withdrew from the race in favour of Maina Njenga while former deputy governor Gitonga Kabugi also withdrew in favour of incumbent Ndiritu Muriithi.

At Nyeri's Ruring'u Stadium, speakers included former minister Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, Governors Anne Kananu (Nairobi) and Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Nyeri Senator Ephrahim Maina, Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli, and MPs Pamela Odhiambo (Migori) and Kanini Kega (Kieni).

Karua urged Mt Kenya to shun leaders with a dark past of mismanaging public resources. 

"Don't be proud of those who share a few millions with you. There is no tycoon who has a record of having fed his whole village for a week," said Karua.