Tight schedule for Raila, Ruto in final vote hunt

Written by on 28 July 2022

Azimio leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto have planned a spirited last leg of their campaign targeting vote-rich counties with less than ten days to the end of the campaign period.

Final campaign schedules released by their respective secretariats indicate that two leading presidential aspirants are mostly aiming at consolidating votes in areas considered their strongholds. However, they will also be making last-ditch forays into other territories in the race to sway undecided voters to their side.

Raila is seeking to sell his agenda directly to the people after skipping a national debate on Tuesday, allowing his opponent, Kenya Kwanza’s William Ruto, to hog the limelight.

The Azimio-One Kenya flagbearer has drafted a packed schedule touching 14 counties. His campaign itinerary stretches from Mt Kenya, to the Coast, Rift Valley to Ukambani, Western and Nyanza and finally terminating in Nairobi on August 6, the last official day of campaigns.

Ruto also has a tight schedule for the Hustlers’ agenda as he seeks to firm up support bases and snatch more votes from Raila’s strongholds.

Raila’s campaign blitz began in Meru on Tuesday where he was endorsed and made an elder by the Njuri Ncheke, the community’s council of elders. His running mate, Martha Karua, also received the elders’ blessings.

“It is a big day for us to host Raila and Karua. It is an important moment for us. No one has become President without coming here for Njuri Ncheke’s blessings,” Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi said on Tuesday.

Meru has 772,139 votes and is the centre of a battle between Raila and Ruto who are hungry for the largest bite of what it has to offer. The DP is expected in the county as part of his pitch for votes in Mt Kenya East. He will also campaign in Embu and Tharaka Nithi.  

Yesterday, the Azimio team took its hunting missions to Laikipia and Nyeri, two regions in Mt Kenya with a combined 744,644 votes. The counties are among those in the region Ruto is relying heavily on to propel him to State House in two weeks.

No swearing on

Ruto was also in the neighbouring Kirinyaga, where he asked voters to help him “send Raila to Bondo.”

“He ran away from the debate. I’m begging you to help me send him to Bondo once and for all,” Ruto said at a rally in Kianyaga. “We want to tell him there will be no demonstrations this time around; there will be no swearing in. We will be done with him early.”

At Ruring’u Stadium, Nyeri, Raila and Karua reached out to voters at the historic ground if they win.

“A meeting was held here before the State of Emergency was declared in 1952. In 1961, a big meeting was called here following the release of Jomo Kenyatta from detention. It was attended by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Tom Mboya, Paul Ngei where they demanded for independence. Nyeri is known for freedom fighters,” Raila said.    

He said he and Karua were the true liberators the country was looking for.

“This is the year of economic liberation of Kenya. These are the last days to elections. It is either you elect freedom fighters or traitors. They have been bragging that this is their stronghold. I want us to adopt a declaration that Nyeri will be an Azimio zone,” said Raila.

Today, Azimio will be at Afraha Stadium in Nakuru, another historic venue, considering its role in peace missions in Rift Valley. It was at Afraha where outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ruto cemented their coalition ahead of the 2013 polls.  

Raila stronghold

Tomorrow, Raila will lead his team to Machakos for a final rally in Ukambani, a region he is seeking to assuage anger after he overlooked Kalonzo Musyoka in the search for a running mate. Kalonzo was his running mate in 2013 and 2017 and Raila had largely been expected to pick him again this year. However, he opted for Karua.

From Machakos, the Azimio campaign will head to Suswa in Narok on Saturday for a final plea for votes from the Maa communities. Suswa is where the Maasai make major declarations.

On Sunday, Azimio will be in Eldoret, Ruto’s hometown. The same day they will also campaign in Kapsabet, Nandi county, considered a Ruto stronghold.

Come Monday, they will be back in Mt Kenya, this time in Kiambu, the home county of the retiring President. They will hold a rally at Kirigiti Stadium. From there, they will head west to Kisii on Tuesday and later to Kakamega on Wednesday.

Thursday will find the team in Kisumu, the city in the middle of Raila’s Nyanza stronghold, where he is expected to make a final pitch for votes from his voting base.

The next day they will be in Mombasa for a final pitch at the Coast.

Azimio’s final rally will be at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi on August 6, a place Sports Kenya earlier claimed had been locked for peace activities.

While cancelling an application by UDA to hold its final rally at Nyayo Stadium, the parastatal that manages public stadia said the venue was not available, just as Kasarani wasn’t.  

Today, Ruto will be in Meru, Embu and Tharaka Nithi, just days after Raila campaigned there. On Friday, he will head to Nandi, Bungoma and then Busia. From there, he will head to Garissa and Mombasa on Saturday before ending the week in Kakamega on Sunday.

A day after Azimio holds its rally in Eldoret on July 31, the DP will go back to his hometown for a final rally in his backyard on Monday, August 1, just a week to the presidential election.

He will then take his team back to Mt Kenya from August 2 to 4 where he will be rallying the region to turn out in large numbers to vote for him. While there, will hold rallies in Laikipia, Nyandarua, Nakuru, Nyeri and Murang’a, all considered to be behind his presidential quest.

Ruto is also set to campaign in Kirinyaga and finally in Kiambu, where his boss, President Uhuru, hails from.

The DP’s final rally is expected to be at Nyayo Stadium on August 6, after which all campaign activities will end to give voters time to reflect ahead of the August 9 voting day.

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