Uhuru, Raila to tour Western as vote hunt hots up ahead of 2017 polls


ODM leader Raila Oinga addresses the public at Majengo market in Vihiga county during a tour of Western in July 2016. /JOSEPH JAMENYA

President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga will both tour Western to woo residents ahead of the August 8, 2017 vote.

The two have their eyes set on the region’s bloc vote, which has three million voters, 1.6 million of whom are said to be residents. Others are spread across the country.

Observers believe the President has postponed trip to the ODM stronghold twice; it is perceived that Raila has an intention to water down the forays.

The ruling Jubilee Party views the region as a critical bloc that could help it get past the 50 per cent plus one constitutional threshold to win the first round of the presidential election.

Analysts have said the development projects the Uhuru administration has carried out in the region are a strong selling point for Jubilee.

But Cord has said the region will remain one of its strongholds and has banked on the support it has received in past elections.

“The President is expected to meet Governors Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Sospeter Ojaamong’ (Busia), Moses Akaranga (Vihiga) and Kenneth Lusaka (Bungoma) at the State Lodge in Kakamega on November 23,” a source told the Star on Thursday.

Uhuru is scheduled to preside over the first graduation ceremony at Kibabii University in Bungoma on November 24.

His itinerary also includes commissioning a water project in Navakholo constituency on November 25.

The president was expected to also officially open Pan paper mills in Webuye but the investor has said he needed more time.

Raila toured the region last in July and September but cut the trips short to attend ODM’s 10th anniversary celebrations in Mombasa on September 10.

The Cord leader is currently in Abuja, Nigeria, where he is being hosted by Senate president Abubakar Bukola.

In Western, his programme includes attending the regional ODM conference at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology on November 25.

The conference brings together more than 5,000 delegates from Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma, Vihiga and Trans-Nzoia counties.

Oparanya said aspirants for various seats will be taken through the party’s nomination rules during the meeting.


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