Uhuru team in elaborate plan for Raila ‘takeover’ of Mt Kenya

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President Uhuru Kenyatta’s allies have rolled out a grand reception for ODM boss Raila Odinga in a deliberate move to give him an edge in the battle for the Mt Kenya vote bloc.

Unlike other Azimio La Umoja meetings Raila has had across the country, the Nyeri event was a two-day extravaganza that will culminate in his endorsement on Saturday.

The Saturday event  will bring together thousands of delegates and opinion leaders from across the seven Mt Kenya counties.

Already, Raila has received the backing of most Mt Kenya governors with Nyeri’s Mutahi Kahiga, who has been mum, signalling he could eventually back Raila.

Other governors firing up Raila’s campaigns in the region include Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia), Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru), Francis Kimemia (Nyandarua), James Nyoro (Kiambu), Kiraitu Murungi (Meru) and Tharaka Nithi’s Muthomi Njuki.

The elaborate programme started with a historic meeting on Friday bringing together the Luo and the Kikuyu council of elders as part of the plan to escalate the handshake into a political process.

The event at the Kabiruini ASK grounds and which heralded a new dawn for the Kikuyu-Luo ties was followed by a youth and women caucus session in the evening.

Later in the night, the ODM boss who was accompanied by some of the region’s bigwigs including governors, met the business leaders and  professionals for dinner at the Nyeri Golf Club.

The President’s men are using the opportunity presented by the cultural events and the Azimio la Umoja meeting on Saturday to declare a ‘Raila Tosha’.

The declaration would reciprocate the ODM boss’ historic 2002 endorsement of retired President Kibaki  who hails from the county.

“Let the whole country know that we have said in one voice as the Agikuyu community that we have decided that it is Raila Tosha,” Muriithi said in Nyeri yesterday.

Setting the tempo for Saturday’s Central Kenya edition of  the Azimio La Umoja, governors from the region  said they are ready for a Raila presidency.

Uhuru’s allies have touted Raila’s Azimio la Umoja meeting in Nyeri as would-be the biggest of the many he has held.

Kahiga,whose political leaning has been unknown, yesterday said Nyeri is ready for Raila, signalling his move to warm up to the handshake camp.

“We have not sold our votes to any one, we are here like a flight ready to take off, we want to hear from you,” he said.

He went on, “I welcome you (Raila) here in Nyeri and if you want us to go to the villages, we are here for you, and that is what I can say on behalf of the Nyeri people.”

Kahiga has been cagey about whether he supports Raila or Deputy President William Ruto.

His deputy Caroline Karugu has been the face of the Nyeri county government in Raila’s recent rallies in the region.

Kimemia termed the new relationship between the Kikuyu and the Luo a new dawn for Kenya and which, he said, will spur growth.

“Every time when the Luo and the Kikyu community unite, there has been peace and development in this country, this is history in the making,” the county boss said.

He went on, “When Jaramogi worked with Kenyatta and Raila worked with Kibaki, there was a lot of development in this country. The leader with us today is here is a great man and we are going to go to grassroots to spread his gospel.”

The events at Nyeri would however, be closely watched by DP Ruto and his allies who have been bullish that they control the President’s backyard.

Popular musicians headlined yesterday’s Nyeri show also attended by Raila’s wife Ida and host of women from the Luo community.

The DP and his allies have been dismissive of the grand plans by their rivals to market Raila in the mountain, sometimes taunting his efforts as futile and insignificant to change the tide against Ruto.

On Friday, Nominated MP Maina Kamanda said the ODM boss can comfortably “now relax because he has successfully climbed the mountain.”

“They were claiming that you (baba), cannot climb the mountain, but look, Raila is here in Nyeri, he has climbed the mountain,” said the Uhuru confidant.

In October 2020, about 500 Kikuyu Council of Elders and senior Mt Kenya politicians led by former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth visited their Luo counterparts at Raila’s Bondo home.

Then led by Kikuyu council of elders Wachira Kiago and Kenneth, the move was seen as the beginning of what would open the gate for Raila’s sojourn of  the mountain.

“We had a very important journey to Bondo last year. Some people fought us, but today is a confirmation that these are our true elders,” Kenneth said in Nyeri on Friday.

He went on, “Those of us with Raila believe that he has policies that will save our country, we must remember that Raila stood with Kibaki and Uhuru, he now wants us to stand with him.”

Raila has held similar meetings in Nyanza, Western, Mombasa, Garissa, Lower Eastern, Mt Kenya East, and North Rift after the Azimio launch in Nakuru.

 

 

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