Jubilee Party courts leaders from NASA strongholds in new strategy
Jubilee Party is reaching out to Opposition zones as it seeks to woo the more than 19.6 million registered voters ahead of the repeat presidential elections next month.
President Uhuru Kenyatta hosted (Tuesday) leaders from Western region at State House Nairobi, where the politicians, including those who were aligned to the National Super Alliance (NASA) and lost in the last polls, pledged to campaign for Jubilee Party.
Former Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga, who unsuccessfully defended his seat on a Progressive Party of Kenya (PPK) ticket, a NASA affiliate, led the delegation in pledging support for the President in the October 17 repeat election.
Other notable politicians present at the meeting included presidential loser Cyrus Jirongo and former Kanduyi MP Alfred Khang’ati, who contested for the Bungoma governorship on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket but lost.
Speaking at the meeting, the President slammed his main challenger, Raila Odinga, describing him as a man who thrived on agitating for ethnic division and pointing out that voters had shown their displeasure with his brand of politics by rejecting him at every election.
“Raila thrives on tribal division. The only thing he has done is to agitate against different communities. We have campaigned all these years, but we never incited communities,” said Uhuru, who welcomed the endorsement from the Luhya leaders.
Uhuru said his differences with the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice David Maraga over the ruling invalidating his election victory should not be exploited to sow ethnic divisions.
The President pointed out that the Opposition leader had yesterday taken his campaigns to Kisii and Nyamira counties in an attempt to exploit Jubilee’s criticism of the court ruling.
“We have no problem with the people of Kisii and Nyamira. We disagree with the ruling of the court, not the community,” said the President.
The State House goodwill delegation was led by Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and included Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka and Chief Whip Benjamin Washiali.
Former Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba was also present.
The Head of State said Jubilee had elected representatives in every part of the country.
Yesterday, Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja confirmed to The Standard that Jubilee had been in talks with most leaders who lost in the polls, not only from the Luhya community but from the rest of the country.
“It is a strategy we have had for a long time. There is more to come and Kenyans will be surprised as renowned politicians from NASA zones throw their weight behind President Kenyatta. As a party, we believe in a unified approach to politics compared to our rivals,” he said.
And as the meeting in Nairobi was ongoing, former Funyula MP Paul Otuoma, who was expected to attend the State House meeting, told journalists at his home in Busia County that he would not campaign for Raila in the coming elections.
Dr Otuoma, a former ODM national vice chairman and close Raila ally in the last elections, chose to contest for the Busia governorship as an independent candidate after the disputed party primaries in April, which saw Governor Sospeter Ojaamong re-elected.
Yesterday, Mt Elgon MP Fred Kapondi disclosed that Jubilee has already started reaching out to a number of independent candidates from areas perceived to be NASA strongholds, as it prepares for a bruising battle on October 17.
“We already have Bumula MP Mwambu Mabonga, an independent from Bungoma County, on our side. He was present at the State House meeting. We are in talks with other independent MPs as we do not want to leave anything to chance,” he told The Standard by phone.
Uhuru welcomed the support from the Western leaders, saying it signified Jubilee’s popularity across the country.