AUGUST ELECTION

Raila, Ruto in battle for Nairobi three million votes

According to a December survey, the DP was leading with 32 per cent against ODM leader 28 per cent

In Summary

•Whoever wins Nairobi is seen as having a head start in the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.

•According to Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission 2017 data, Nairobi had 2.3 million voters registered in its 3,378 polling stations.

Deputy President William Ruto engaging residents and small traders at Eastleigh First Avenue ,Kamukunji Constituency,Nairobi County./
Deputy President William Ruto engaging residents and small traders at Eastleigh First Avenue ,Kamukunji Constituency,Nairobi County./
Image: /DPPS.

Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga, are locked in a battle for Nairobi county that has nearly three million votes.

The big guns have gone flat-out for the control of the capital city which a recent opinion poll by Infotrak indicates is too close to call.

According to a December survey, Ruto was leading in Nairobi with 32 per cent against Raila's 28 per cent.

Whoever wins Nairobi is seen as having a head start in the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.

According to Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission 2017 data, Nairobi had 2.3 million voters registered in its 3,378 polling stations.

This number went up by 139,560 new voters last year after an enhanced national voter listing exercise by the poll agency.

The control of the city’s vote promises to be the next phase of the Ruto, Raila war as the country heads to August polls.

The DP is yet to expressly claim a share of the city vote which in the past polls has been under the firm grip of  Uhuru and  Raila going by past voting patterns.

Ruto and Raila, the perceived presidential frontrunners, have intensified their Nairobi offensives.

In a grand plan to win over the city, Ruto has scheduled several rallies in the city to popularise his presidential bid and claim a share of the vote-rich Nairobi.

According to DP’s programme, he will tour 13 of Nairobi’s 17 constituencies this week.  

On Wednesday, Ruto toured Kamkunji, Mathare, Embakasi North, Embakasi West, Embakasi Central and Kasarani constituencies.

Speaking at Eastleigh in Kamkunji, the DP said he plans to make Nairobi a business hub where both small and big business enterprises thrive.

He said his administration will implement the bottom-up economic model focussing on establishing conducive legal and financial regimes that will empower small scale traders.

“Our first agenda this August is to set aside Sh100 billion on housing, agro-processing value addition and manufacturing to address the high unemployment among our youths,” he said.

To win small scale traders, the DP promised Sh50 billion for small-scale enterprises being run by women and youths.

“We will create opportunities for our youths.  This year, we want to liberate our country by ensuring that they either get jobs or have the opportunity to start a business,” he said.

To cushion the business community from constant harassment by county askaris, Ruto said his government will establish 20 modern markets in the city.

“We don’t want our small-scale traders to continue suffering and sometimes harassed by the county askaris,” he said.

Ruto drummed up support for his bottom-up economic model saying it is the only way of creating an equal society.

“Do you want us to continue with the current economic model that only benefits a few or do we change to a new model that ensures food is affordable and there is money to support?” he asked.

The DP accused his political rivals of using intimidation and blackmail to frustrate his presidential bid.

“We will liberate ourselves from tribalism, intimidation and blackmail. We are telling our competitors, spare us the threat and intimidation and the fear you are selling to us,” Ruto said.

He spoke at Madiwa, Kamukunji constituency. 

The UDA boss addressed rallies in Kiambiu, Garissa Lodge, Mathare Kiboro, Kariobangi Roundabout, Caltex, Soweto and Kayole Junction

The DP was accompanied by among other former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, Nominated senator Millicent Omanga, Garissa Township MP Adan Duale and former Starehe lawmaker Margaret Wanjiru.

Others were MPs Kimani Ichungwah (Kikuyu), Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira) and EALA lawmaker Simon Mbugua among others.

Wanjiru who has declared interest in Nairobi’s top job on UDA, said the current county administration has failed Nairobi residents due to bad leadership.

“We know our problem. We have not benefited from devolution. For us to benefit, we have to elect UDA  representatives all the way from governor to the MCA position,” she said.

On Friday, the DP will be traversing Roysambu constituency, he will then move to Embakasi East and Embakasi South on Sunday where he will address a rally at Jacaranda grounds.

He will end his Nairobi tour on Monday next week with rallies in Langata, Kibra, Westlands, Dagoretti North and Dagoretti South.

Edited by Kiilu Damaris