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Friday, July 21, 2017

Raila gains ground in Rift Valley as Uhuru's ratings drop

NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga during a rally at Gusii stadium in Kisii, May 17, 2017. /DENNIS KAVISU
NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga during a rally at Gusii stadium in Kisii, May 17, 2017. /DENNIS KAVISU

After being named the Opposition candidate, NASA flag bearer Raila Odinga has rapidly gained ground in the Rift Valley.

A Radio Africa poll shows his ratings have been going up, steadily eating into President Uhuru Kenyatta's grip in the vote-rich region.

The latest statistics demonstrate effects of the onslaught Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto has launched in the region since he joined the National Super Alliance as a member of Pentagon.

Other members of the coalition are Kalonzo Musyoka of Wiper, Musalia Mudavadi (Amani National Congress), and Moses Wetang'ula of Ford Kenya. Raila is ODM leader.

If elections were held today, Raila would get 28 per cent and President Uhuru Kenyatta 71 per cent in Bomet.

Read: Isaac Rutto joins NASA as fifth principal, promises Jubilee hard time in polls

NASA principals have made several promises, key among them ending corruption and lowering the cost of living.

"No Kenyan will support a regime, which has completely made life unbearable," Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang said when responding to the poll.

In Trans Nzoia, Uhuru gor a 41 per cent rating and followed by Raila at 30 per cent. Twenty nine per cent were undecided.

The Opposition chief has a 33 per cent following in Narok while Uhuru has 61 per cent with six per cent being undecided.

Raila and Uhuru were at 23 and 61 per cent backing respectively in Nakuru. Some six per cent were yet to settle on who to support.

But the orange party leader is still doing badly in Nandi at seven per cent. Uhuru enjoys 90 per cent support there.

In Kajiado, Raila got 21 per cent backing and Uhuru 74 per cent.

The data was collected through the Computer Aided Telephone Interview and involved 764 respondents drawn from counties in Rift Valley. The region has more than four million registered voters.

In Kericho county, Uhuru and Raila have 75 and 16 per cent support respectively whereas 64 per cent said they will back Uhuru in Uasin Gishu.

The NASA leader was rated at 23 per cent in the county which is Deputy President William Ruto's backyard.

In November last year, Raila was crowned a Kalenjin elder in Ruto's backyard which is also a Jubilee stronghold.

He was given blessings to run for president when he visited Meibeki Karona trading centre in Uasin Gichu.

NASA held its first rally in Eldoret in February when it announced its seven key pillars. These included national reconciliation and healing, resolving historical injustices and realising equality for women, youth and other disadvantaged groups. The others were strengthening devolution, transforming government, eradicating poverty and unemployment and realising social and economic rights.

More on this: Raila crowned Kalenjin elder in Ruto's backyard

Elections presided over by the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission will be held in 80 days.

The poll also revealed that 53 per cent Kenyans will vote Jubilee party, 42 per cent for the opposition while 7 per cent are undecided.

However, 57 per cent said they can vote for independent candidates while 39 per cent said no.

This was a clear indication independent candidates remains a strong swing vote in the next parliament.

Raila has sharply cut the gap with Uhuru picking extra votes from the undecided group.

His influence in the battle zones has also been growing rapidly.

In the March 4, 2013 polls, Uhuru garnered 210,501 votes in Bomet; Trans Nzoia (92,035), Narok (109,413), Nakuru (494,239), Kajiado (138,551), Nandi (192,587), Kericho (238,556), and 211,438 in Uasin Gishu.

Raila got 10,463 in Bomet; Trans Nzoia (74,466), Narok (118,623), Nakuru (105,600), Kajiado (117,856), Nandi (20,549), Kericho (17,326), and 60,060 in Uasin Gishu.

Also read: Raila closing in on Uhuru - poll


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