The Mount Kenya region, which boasts a population of about six million people, has drawn the attention of the two presidential front-runners in the August 9 election.
DP Ruto will be in Kirinyaga County, where he will promote the Kenya Kwanza Coalition, which is led by Musalia Mudavadi of the Amani National Congress (ANC) and Moses Wetangula of the FORD-Kenya Party.
He will be greeted by Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, who left Odinga’s camp days after the Court of Appeal affirmed the invalidation of the ODM leader’s Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) constitution review petition.
Governor Waiguru on Thursday protested what she termed as a move by the national government to deny her a permit for the Wang’uru stadium where DP Ruto was expected to hold a rally.
“We are very shocked as leaders in Kirinyaga County having been denied permit to hold a rally for the Deputy President in Wang’uru stadium. PS Kibicho has been using it for public meetings, when we decided to ask it to be used by the DP, they decided to tell us that it was not complete,” she stated.
The leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) will be at Ihura stadium in Murunga on a charm offensive to entice voters to support his Azimio La Umoja Movement. Odinga’s ventures into the region, where he hopes to gain a share of the vote-rich province, have intensified in recent days.
A substantial number of regional officials, particularly governors, have already endorsed his presidential quest, a critical milestone that the African Union envoy for infrastructure is certain will rocket him to the presidency in his fifth attempt. Odinga’s visit to the region demonstrates his determination to win over voters who rejected him in 2007, 2013, and 2017.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has been supporting Odinga since severing connections with his deputy, William Ruto, following an explosive rupture in the ruling Jubilee Party that resulted in the Deputy President, who is also the Deputy Party head, being branded persona non grata.