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Leave President alone and face me at the ballot, Raila tells DP Ruto

Azimio la Umoja Coalition Flag Bearer Raila Odinga accompanied by his Running Mate Martha Karua in Kerugoya Stadium Kirinyaga County on August 01, 2022. [Standard]

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his running-mate Martha Karua yesterday intensified campaigns in Kiambu and defended President Uhuru Kenyatta against attacks by DP William Ruto. 

Addressing rallies in Thika and the refurbished Kirigiti Stadium, Raila and Karua hit out at Ruto, accusing him of disrespecting the President.

“Why are you directing your anger on President Uhuru Kenyatta by abusing him daily, yet he is not on the ballot? Uhuru is going home. I challenge you to come face me and Martha at the ballot next Tuesday. Kenyans will decide,” Raila told Makongeni residents.

“This is a very temperamental man who needs to cool down his anger before he can be entrusted with power. He doesn’t even have respect for his boss. I wish to remind him that we have come a long way in the fight for the freedom he is abusing.

“Let President Kenyatta concentrate on his farewell rallies to thank Kenyans for their support for his government. Come face Martha at the ballot,” Raila said.

He said the DP and his Kenya Kwanza brigade had sensed defeat and resorted to scare mongering.

“Our opponents are scared and have resorted to threats to win sympathy; but we are telling them their days in government are numbered. They must prepare to concede defeat after Azimio wins,” he said.

The Azimio leaders were accompanied by Kiambu Governor James Nyoro and MPs Junet Mohammed (Suna East), Sabina Chege (Murang’a), Jude Njomo (Kiambu Town), Kanini Kega (Kieni), Babu Owino (Embakasi East) and Azimio candidates in the Mt Kenya region. 

Raila and his troops questioned the suitability of Ruto’s running mate Rigathi Gachagua over a Sh200 million graft case, and asked Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chair Wafula Chebukati to bar him from elections on integrity grounds. “Mr Chebukati owes Kenyans an explanation as to why this man is still on the ballot. He needs to strike his name out of the ballot pending hearing and determination of the case,” said Raila.

Raila accused Ruto of lying to Kenyans that the clamour for constitutional change derailed government’s development agenda. “For close to five years he (Ruto) put the country on campaign mode after he chose to rebel against his boss, yet he has been blaming the BBI process. The aim of BBI was to increase the allocation of resources to the counties,” he said.

Karua vowed to lead the war on graft and assured Kenyans that the law would be applied fairly. “Azimio government will not be biased in the war against graft. Our competitors should rest assured that they will be treated equally before the law, like other Kenyans,” she said.

“The election is not about Raila and Martha, but about your future as Kenyans and generations to come. Raila is a workaholic and he is known to fight for Kenyans in and outside government. I’m confident Mt Kenya region is safe in his hands,” she said.

Raila implored Kiambu residents to turn up in large numbers on Tuesday and vote for Azimio. “This is injury time, with only six days to go. This year’s elections will not be like those of 2007, 2013 and 2017, but like those of 1963 and 2002, which brought the first and second liberation,” he said.

The leaders promised to change cash crop and dairy farmers’ fortunes.

Earlier, Raila and Karua campaigned in Kirinyaga, where they accused Ruto of making empty promises. Addressing a rally at Kerugoya Stadium, Raila said: “If you vote for other people you will only get empty promises that have no progress or development for Kenyans.”

Raila promised to transform the country within 100 days if elected president. “After we are sworn in we shall change Kenya. It will be a new era for this nation, we are at a crossroads, and this election will decide where we are headed towards corruption or to development,” he said.

Rails said corruption was killing Kenya’s economic development and promised to eradicate the vice. “We are losing billions of shillings in taxes and these funds are ending up in people’s pockets, after Kenyans have worked so hard for their money, and paid for goods and services,” he said.

He said Azimio team had launched a campaign dubbed Rauka firimbi (blow the whistle) to expose corruption and wake Kenyans up to go vote.

Reports by Fidelis Kabunyi, Timothy Kariuki and Jane Mugambi