- •The former Unctad secretary general began the tours in Mombasa on Monday before visiting Kwale and Kilifi counties in a packed programme.
- •The Coast has proved to be a battle ground for aspirants eyeing the country’s top seat as they angle for a pie of the populous region.
Presidential hopeful Mukhisa Kituyi has begun a five- day charm offensive at the Coast as he moves to popularise his candidature ahead of next year's general election.
The former United Nations Conference on Trade and Development secretary general began the tours in Mombasa on Monday.
He is expected to visit Kwale and Kilifi counties in a packed programme.
Presidential aspirants are jostling to get a pie of the populous Coastal votes, a region that has traditionally voted for Opposition chief Raila Odinga.
Deputy President William Ruto has sustained campaigns to dislodge Raila as the region's favourite presidential candidate.
In his campaign blitz, Kituyi has lined up a series of meetings with community leaders, civil society groups, youth and religious leaders among other opinion shapers. He will also hold public lecture at the University of Nairobi, Mombasa campus.
“Today is the first day of one week tour of Coast counties. I am meeting elders of Mijikenda community and a series of other activities,” Kituyi told the Star.
The visit marks the beginning of his countrywide tours aimed at marketing and popularising his candidature ahead of 2022.
“This is the first in a rollout of nationwide tours. As I promised earlier on, I only started by consultation in Western Kenya,” he said.
Kituyi returned to the country in February from Geneva following his resignation from his role at the UNCTAD to focus on his presidential campaigns.
“I will show sufficient attention to creating hope for the hopeless, reviving the livelihoods of those who are victims of the disruptions,” he said in February.
He said he would be glad to address locally some of the economic challenges he had been handling at the global scene.
In March, Kituyi visited his Bungoma home county before touring neighbouring counties in what he termed as seeking the blessings of his community.
“I only started by consultation in Western Kenya and to be a national leader, you must come to terms with challenges across the country,” he told the Star on Monday.
After Coast, his next stop will be upper Eastern where he will tour Meru, Isiolo and Laikipia counties.
The ex-Trade minister said he is banking on a team of volunteers to link him with opinion leaders to sell his agenda.
“I am slowly rolling out the programme. But because of Covid-19 protocols, I have to restrict myself to limited numbers, so I can’t hold public rallies that others have made,” he said.
Kituyi is yet to announce the political vehicle he will use to seek the country’s top seat. He says he is still consulting.
In February, he triggered speculations of a political alliance with Raila after he met the former Prime Minister alongside Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and Siaya Senator James Orengo.
Raila is widely expected to make a fifth stab at the presidency but he is yet to publicly declare his interest. Kivutha has said he will run for the country’s top seat.
Ruto, ANC boss Musalia Mudavadi, Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and Kanu chairman Gideon Moi are among those who have declared interest to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.
-Edited by SKanyara