Why Kajiado seat is critical to Jubilee
By Peterson Githaiga
| March 10th 2015
Kenya; President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto underlined the seriousness with which the Government is taking Monday's Kajiado Central parliamentary by-election in a day-long campaign for the Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP) candidate.
They led over 30 Jubilee MPs to persuade voters to elect Patrick Tutui to succeed Joseph Nkaissery whose appointment to Cabinet as Interior Secretary occasioned the repeat elections.
The seat is crucial to Government because it would not only deny opposition leader Raila Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement the only parliamentary seat it secured in Kajiado County in the March 2013 General Election, but, more symbolically, test the popularity of newly unveiled JAP, which Uhuru and Ruto intend to use to seek re-election come 2017.
The President was received by Kajiado Governor David Nkedianye who is in ODM.
"JAP is the party we will use to unite all Kenyans. It is a party that is open to all irrespective of tribe or religious affiliation," Uhuru declared in Kajiado town last evening as he wound up the campaign.
Ruto said the by-election is a "test run" for JAP ahead of the next general elections.
"This particular by-election is very important to us since it is our vehicle towards 2017 and 2022 general elections and, therefore, it's a must win," Ruto declared.
"If you vote Tutui, you should rest assured that you have voted for Uhuru and Ruto. I therefore urge you to give us Tutui to join Parliament," Ruto added.
Uhuru said they want leaders "who are ready to work for the people and not those who will engage in needless wrangles".
At the first campaign stop in Namanga, the Head of State turned the heat on Mr Raila, whom he accused of using abusive language while campaigning earlier for the ODM candidate, Elijah Memusi.
"We were shocked by the utterances made by Raila recently, and wondered whether he was a real leader, and if he is he should apologise to Nkaissery," said Uhuru, referring to Raila's branding of Nkaissery as thankless and a traitor for abandoning ODM on whose ticket he was elected to the National Assembly.
Uhuru said he appointed Mr Nkaissery, who is a retired army general, because he is capable of steering the security docket and that's why he never cared whether he was in the Opposition.
"If we had ill motive we would not have appointed Nkaissery, I therefore urge all Kenyans to respect him," said Uhuru.
He claimed the opposition was conducting old days' politics which has been overtaken by events, adding that his Government was doing a development-based campaign.
"Nkaissery is a Government officer now, but we all know where his heart is. He is with us in everything we do," said Uhuru.
Nkaissery only spoke at the last leg of the President's tour in Kajiado Town where he emphasised he could not engage in politics because he was now a public servant but he called for peaceful campaigns.
Mr Memusi, who has been a longtime ally of Nkaissery, defected from JAP after disputing the nomination of Tutui, who ironically has been the immediate former Kajiado Central's political rival for a long time.
But even as Uhuru and Ruto rooted for Tutui, JAP was facing its first legal hurdle in efforts to capture its first parliamentary seat. A voter has filed a petition seeking to block the party from participating in the mini-poll on grounds that its not a legally registered party. (see separate story).
Ruto said the Government had plenty of goodies to offer the people of Kajiado Central, but they will only benefit if they elect Tutui.
Majority Leader Aden Duale advised the electorate to thank the President for appointing Nkaissery to the Cabinet by voting for the JAP candidate. He said the new party will get its first-born MP from Kajiado Central. Uhuru's visit follows a series of other rallies conducted by Ruto.
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