Uhuru Kisumu visit tomorrow now confirmed
The trip has generated intense interest in the region with many residents anxious to see if regional political kingpin and Opposition leader Raila Odinga would attend any of the President’s scheduled functions.
The visit comes against the backdrop of simmering differences between the ruling Jubilee and Cord coalitions over a referendum push by the Opposition and amid unconfirmed reports that Raila is not likely to be seen in the town.
The trip was first reported to have ben scheduled for last week, when Raila was out of the country, but it was cancelled reportedly over crowded presidential diary. According to sources from the Presidency, Uhuru is scheduled to hold a Cabinet meeting at the Kisumu State Lodge on Thursday and thereafter hold a leaders’ meeting.
This will be the first time since independence that a full Cabinet meeting would be held at the lakeside town’s State Lodge.
President Uhuru will also commission several projects in the county, among them the Kajulu water project, a multi-million shilling mall by the Lake Basin Development Authority and also launch of the county Women Uwezo Fund.
According to Joshua Kuttuny, a presidential adviser, the tour “will purely be a Kisumu county affair”. County leaders led by Governor Jack Ranguma, who is seen to have warmed up to Uhuru, have already made arrangements to welcome the President.
Ranguma said yesterday: “As the Head of State, he is welcome to this region any time. We will be more than happy to host him.” The last time the President visited Kisumu county was in April, last year, during the burial of former Knut secretary general Okuta Osiany in Nyando constituency.
During the funeral that was also attended Raila, the President called on the people of Nyanza to work with the government irrespective of political affiliation.
During the last presidential campaigns in 2012, both President Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto avoided campaigning in Kisumu, but instead visited other parts of Nyanza like Kisii, Kuria and Migori.
However, it was not clear by yesterday whether Raila would join the President during his tour tomorrow or on Thursday. Kisumu West ODM chairman Dave Okwatch told the People Daily that Raila would be in Mombasa for a series of referendum rallies.