Uhuru in strategy to lock Ruto out of North Eastern counties
President Uhuru Kenyatta is working on a plan to lock more than 800,000 votes of the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) counties under the ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja movement.
In what seems like an offensive against his deputy William Ruto, Uhuru has in recent days hosted delegations from Tana River, Mandera, Wajir, Isiolo, Marsabit and Garissa counties.
Billed as a meeting to discuss critical matters affecting the region, Uhuru has prevailed upon some of Ruto’s allies in the region to join him “in building a cohesive nation through the Azimio la Umoja movement.”
Mandera Senator Mohamed Muhamud and Isiolo Women Rep Rehema Jaldesa are the latest politicians to abandon Ruto’s camp for Azimio.
The defection of the duo now leaves Garissa Township MP Aden Duale and his Wajir West counterpart Ahmed Kolosh as the only Ruto allies in the region.
“Mr. President, ilikuwa tu hasira kidogo but nimerudi nyumbani,” said Jaldesa (I was only a little angry Mr. President, but I am back home.)
Muhamud, who had switched his allegiance to Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) rejoined the Jubilee Party and re-affirmed his support for the President.
“I am firmly rooted in the ruling Jubilee Party,” said the Senator, adding that he will seek the county’s governor’s seat on a Jubilee Party ticket.
Dismissing the Kenya Kwanza Alliance as a grouping of conmen and fraudsters, President said the ruling Jubilee will pursue alliances with other parties and formations ahead of the August election.
“We have said we want a coalition of like-minded parties and together we join Azimio. We have the candidate, we have the resources and the youth are together with us,” Uhuru said, in what appeared to be an endorsement of Raila’s candidature.
On Saturday, the President hosted leaders from Mandera County who paid him a courtesy visit at State House Nairobi.
A dispatch from State House said that the President and the leaders allied to Jubilee Party and United Democratic Movement (UDM) discussed matters of interest to Mandera among them the drought in the area, food security, access to clean water and security among other issues.
Led by Governor Ali Roba, the delegation thanked the President for the implementation of several infrastructure projects in the county.
On the same day, the President met with a section of Isiolo Jubilee Party leaders at State House.
Led by Isiolo’s former governor Godana Doyo, the leaders thanked the President for transforming the county through various development projects.
“We are a complete team that has been endorsed by the community. We are waiting for you to give us direction,” Doyo said.
Doyo, who is seeking to reclaim the governor seat, told People Daily that they used the meeting to reaffirm their support for the President.
Others in attendance were CAS Devolution Abdul Bahari and Isiolo North MP Hassan Oda.
Conspicuously missing was Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo and immediate education CAS Momina Bonaya.
Though Dullo, who doubles as Senate deputy majority leader was unavailable for comment, Bonaya, who is Jaldesa’s main challenger for the Women Rep seat, welcomed her competitor’s decision to ditch UDA.
She termed Jaldesa and Doyo’s team as prodigal sons and daughters, and “we will possibly bring more on our site in the coming days”.
“For me, there is nothing as fulfilling as having all our people and entire Isiolo County on the next government. It is good for our people and it is good for the development of our county and country at large,” she wrote on her social media pages.
Marsabit county leaders led by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani and North Horr MP Francis Chachu promised to deliver more than 240,000 votes to Azimio.
“We will never forget you for the implementation of projects worth billions of shillings. These projects have lifted the lives of many of our people,” they said.
At a separate meeting at State House with leaders from Tana River County, they discussed the development priorities of the county.
The delegation led by Tana River Governor Dhadho Godhana commended President Kenyatta for steering the country towards achieving its developments targets.