DIFFERENCES SET ASIDE

Raila brings Meru rivals together in 2022 campaign blitz

Kiraitu comes face-to-face with Munya and Aburi as Raila combs through the county

In Summary
  • The former Prime Minister was accompanied by Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi and Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.
  • The two political heavyweights do not see-eye-to-eye but have found themselves in one camp supporting Raila's State House bid.
ODM leader Raila Odinga's meeting in Laare, Meru county, October 18, 2021
ODM leader Raila Odinga's meeting in Laare, Meru county, October 18, 2021
Image: RAILA TWITTER

ODM leader Raila Odinga brought together feuding Meru politicians as he aggressively addressed a series of rallies in the county.

The former Prime Minister was accompanied by Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi and Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.

The two political heavyweights do not see-eye-to-eye but have found themselves in one camp, supporting Raila's State House bid.

Munya is seeking to make a comeback and dislodge Kiraitu from the governor's seat, sparking a row between the two leaders and their allies.

Also in Raila's campaign tour was EALA MP Mpuru Aburi a close ally of Munya who also has a frosty relationship with Kiraitu.

“Where Kiraitu is, we may not go. We will slam the brakes on this and plan our own tour for Raila. We don’t want to cause shameful scenes,” the former MP had told the Star on Sunday.

Local politics played out during the meeting, which was attended by four other governors – Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia), James Ongwae (Kisii), Hassan Joho (Mombasa) and Anne Kananu (Ag. Nairobi).

Meru Deputy Governor Titus Ntuchiu, former Education PS Kilemi Mwiria, former Nairobi Speaker Beatrice Elachi, and Aburi were among notable figures present.

In his statement, Kiraitu said it was not a day for the local politics but to give Raila a chance to state his agenda for the Ameru community.

“We will get time to discuss our internal issues,” the governor pleaded with the crowd that attempted to shout down some leaders.

He said the presence of his rivals at the meeting was proof of the kind of support the ODM leader enjoys in the region.

“We are happy Baba is here…you can see Maua people love him and they are here in numbers. That’s why their leaders are also here,” he said.

Raila, who was in the region to consolidate support for his 2022 presidential duel with DP William Ruto, reportedly encouraged the CS to attend regardless.

Munya equally steered clear of the politics and asked residents to drum up support for the ODM leader, saying he stood a better chance to address their plight.

“We are happy to host Baba here at home. We believe in him because he has been steadfast in the reforms agenda. We believe he will take care of our region,” the CS said.

The ODM boss brought Maua, Laare, Kianjai and Meru towns to a standstill as thousands of enthusiastic residents thronged his meetings.

He also addressed students of Meru University of Science and Technology, where leaders asked him to rein in financial woes in public universities.

In his speech, Raila pledged to uplift the economic standards of the region, largely relying on miraa as a source of livelihood, saying it was among the key concerns in his 2022 agenda.

“We want to change the way of doing things. We want to bring an economic revolution to the country. We need the strength of the youth to grow the economy.”

Raila said he would spearhead the establishment of more industries and give youths a boost for their business start-ups.

“We will introduce a National Youth Commission and a substantive Youth ministry to champion the issues of youth. We want meaningful jobs for our young people.”

He further pledged to source markets for miraa in Congo, Somaliland, Tanzania and that he would negotiate with the United Kingdom to lift its ban against the crop.

“I am good friend of Congolese president Felix Tsishekedi. I will talk to him to allow us to export miraa there. I will also speak with Tanzania so we get markets for the produce.”

The ODM leader also restated his pledge for a Sh6,000 stipend for vulnerable households under the proposed social protection fund and that he would revive the BBI process.

“We had planned for the share of resources to be on the basis of one man, one shilling, one vote, but we were disrupted by the courts. We will bring it back…but for now I am telling Kenyans to get together and feel alright,” Raila said.

Meru region was poised for an additional two constituencies and more money in the initial plan for raising the share of revenue to 35 per cent.

The ODM leader said billions were lost in corruption, saying his administration would net back graft proceeds into the economy.

Raila in rallying the youths to his side, said he would offer meaningful jobs like in the ICT sector among other professions, taking a swipe at his competitor  Ruto’s wheelbarrow pledge.

-Edited by SKanyara