Governor contenders asked to pick one Azimio flagbearer

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi and Azimio's presidential candidate Raila Odinga addressed leaders and residents at Chuka in Tharaka Nithi. [Phares Mutembei, Standard]

Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga yesterday threw a wrench into the works in the Tharaka Nithi governor race.

After a morning service at Marimanti Methodist Church yesterday, Mr Odinga asked the three Azimio candidates in the governor's race to sit down and agree on one candidate who would represent the party and go against UDA's Muthomi Njuki.

Deputy Governor Francis Kagwima, who has fallen out with Governor Njuki, is running on the Wiper ticket. Former Chuka VC Prof Erastus Njoka is the Jubilee Party flagbearer while former National Museums of Kenya director Dr Mzalendo Kibunjia is running on a Narc-Kenya ticket.

Mr Odinga said, "We have agreed that these three will sit down and agree and give me one name." 

He urged the voters to turn out well in polling stations and cast their ballots for him. He promised that he would ensure the once marginalised region would get resources for growth. The Azimio presidential candidate promised to continue with reforms in the coffee and tea sectors led by Agriculture CS Peter Munya, who has been promised to continue as his docket.   

He told residents of semi-arid Tharaka that his government would build a large dam at the Grand Falls and channel some of the water for irrigation. Mr Odinga said his government would also introduce livestock insurance to help farmers weather the ravages of drought.

He regretted that some people had lost out on opportunities because of tribalism.  "That is unfair. The Kenya we want is one where people are given equal opportunities," he said.  

Mr Odinga said job opportunities will be distributed evenly among Kenyans, who will be encouraged to apply.

His running mate, Martha Karua, urged the people to vote in peace and to support Azimio.  Ms Karua urged the community to reject all candidates in the camp reputed for corruption. She said, "You cannot be a good person in the company of the crooked."

Prof Njoka stated his achievements of spearheading Chuka University's growth when he was VC, and credited Mr Odinga with spearheading constitutional reforms.

Dr. Kibunjia asked Mr Odinga to ensure that Kathwana, which was the headquarters, grew.  "We want a county headquarters that is developed like other county offices," he said.

Mr Munya said that the Raila Government will empower local farmers by providing water for irrigation. "This area is fertile, but it lacks water," Munya said. "But with Raila we will ensure that all of Tharaka Nithi and Meru grows."

Mr Odinga was also with Cotu boss Francis Atwoli, MP Junet Mohamed, Mpuru Aburi, Raphael Tuju, Lenny Kivuti, Jubilee Embu senator candidate Lilian Mbogo and other Azimio leaders.