Taste of State House?-Kibaki calls big eight for State House talks


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President Kibaki has invited the eight presidential candidates to State House, Nairobi, ahead of Monday’s General Election.

This is part of confidence building mechanisms before the country make the transitions from the Kibaki presidency to the new administration.

The candidates were to go to State House on Thursday morning but this changed because all of them had campaign rallies that they could not call off.

Protocol officials were on Thursday waiting for the candidates to synchronise their programmes for the visit to take place before Monday.

Mr Isaiya Kabira, the director of the Presidential Press Service said: “The candidates will synchronise their diaries with the Office of the President because of the campaigns”.

Invitations were sent out to Cord’s Raila Odinga, Jubilee’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Amani’s Musalia Mudavadi, Eagle’s Peter Kenneth, Ms Martha Karua of Narc-Kenya, Mr Paul Muite of Safina, Prof James ole Kiyiapi (Restore and Build Kenya) and Mr Abduba Dida of Ark.

In a letter to one of the presidential candidates seen by the Nation, Head of Civil Service Francis Kimemia said President Kibaki wanted to meet them at 10 am on Thursday for a “cup of tea”.

The letter delivered on Wednesday was copied to all the other presidential candidates.

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga and Independent Electoral Commission of Kenya chairman Issack Hassan were also invited for the breakfast meeting.

Mr Eliud Owallo, head of Mr Odinga’s campaign secretariat said: “We received an invitation asking our presidential candidate to attend a meeting called by the President today (Thursday) at 11 am. However, we already had a fixed meeting in Kitale that could not be cancelled. The PM will be available to meet the President if the meeting is rescheduled.”

Mr Muite of Safina said: “It was supposed to be today at 10 am but it was cancelled at the last minute. I received the invitation two days ago through Mr Kimemia’s office to have tea with the President. The invitation was to all the eight of us and our running mates.

“I had cancelled all my engagements…but I received a call from Mr Kimemia’s office today morning saying the meeting had been cancelled until further notice.”

The three main presidential contenders plan to wind up their campaigns on Saturday with major rallies in their final push for votes.

Mr Odinga and Mr Kenyatta plan to hold their final rallies in Nairobi.

Mr Odinga and Mr Kenyatta have been projected by pollsters as the leading contenders in an election where predictions have indicated a first round statistical dead-heat.

Amani Coalition’s presidential contender Musalia Mudavadi has chosen Bungoma and Kakamega for his twin final rallies.

On Thursday, Mr Odinga’s team which had been previously locked out of major venues after Jubilee Alliance allegedly booked nearly all stadia in Nairobi, said it had dropped plans to hold two separate rallies in Dandora and Kamukunji.

“The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy will hold a grand final presidential campaign rally at the Nyayo National Stadium in the city on Saturday, March 2,” said Mr Owallo.

According to Mr Owallo the PM who campaigned in western Kenya on Thursday, is set to visit Kakamega and Vihiga this morning and later hold his final rally in the region at the Moi Stadium in Kisumu.

On Thursday, Mr Reuben Ndolo the chairman of the committee organising Cord’s last rally, said they are expecting over 300,000 people at the Nyayo stadium for the rally.

Mr Odinga’s team has been blamed for not campaigning in Kajiado and parts of Narok including Kilgoris and Suswa despite the electoral significance of the areas.

Mr Kenyatta and his running mate, Mr William Ruto, also stayed away from Western Province and parts of Nyanza, choosing to concentrate their campaigns in the Rift Valley, Central, Eastern and Northern Kenya.

Mr Kenyatta’s spokesman, Mr Munyori Buku, said that though Mr Kenyatta was yet to tour Luo Nyanza and western region his campaign programme could still be adjusted to provide room for the regions.

And Friday the two Jubilee leaders will be in Kapkatet where they are expected to address their final rally in the Rift Valley Province.

Jubilee’s last rally would be hosted at Uhuru Park in Nairobi on Saturday.

“Our campaign programme is open to adjustment. We have an open day on Friday and maybe Luo Nyanza and western can be covered,” Mr Buku said.


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