Raila in charm offensive to solicit Mt Kenya votes

Friday, September 3rd, 2021 00:00 |
ODM leader Raila Odinga addresses Meru politicians and business people at a Nairobi hotel, yesterday. Photo/PD/Kenna Claude

The scramble for the soul and heart of Mount Kenya votes continued with Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga playing host to the Meru leaders.

Raila has been on a charm offensive to wrestle the area from the grip of Deputy President William Ruto.

His move came even as the Meru people vowed to demystify the propaganda that has been propagated over the years painting him ‘black’ in the last three successive polls.

Wth President Uhuru Kenyatta serving his last term, Raila charged that in his administration, the Ameru people will reap from his vision on projects that have not been implemented over the years.

While addressing Meru professionals, business community and the youth, he challenged the Meru leaders to look for alternative markets for the ‘miraa’ not just in Somalia but even in Europe.

“Miraa has been a major revenue earner in the past until it was banned in Europe. We need to think outside the box.

We must look for alternative markets. We can find areas such as  Somaliland.

We can also do value addition so that it can be accepted in areas it has been banned,” said Raila.

The former premier said although reforms have been carried out in tea and coffee sectors, more still needs to be done so that farmers can get more returns for their efforts, adding that avocado which have become the new gold can be enhanced.

Raila said although the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) has been stopped by the court, it had many valuable benefits especially most populous region, adding that the 35 per cent county allocation will revolutionise the economic prosperity across the country.

Second liberation

“Most of the issues in the BBI were well thought out. These were issues drawn from the MoU of the Handshake. 

We agreed that we need to unite our people so that we realise the Kenyan dream. 

The 35 per cent we proposed would create more opportunities because as it is now, a huge chunk of the funds goes to recurrent expenditure,” he said.

He recalled how his struggle for multiparty did not come on a silver platter, adding that being in trenches was not in vain.

“The late Kenneth Matiba suffered a stroke that completely immobilised him when he was arrested and put in detention.

Those struggles were not in vain. Today, somebody can go and talk about the President openly without any repercussion,” he said. 

Leaders at the meeting include Meru governor Kiraitu Murungi,  acting Nairobi governor Ann Kananu, Igembe North MP Maoka Maore, former anti-graft czar Justice Aaron Ringera and former Education assistant minister Kilemi Mwiria.

Murungi asked Raila to use his networks and ensure that the Meru miraa farmers get alternative markets including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“We don’t want to glorify poverty. I want our people to be rich and prosperous so that those who don’t have can have, those who are poor today can be rich tomorrow,” said Murungi.

East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) member Dr Oburu Odinga urged the Ameru community to consider electing Raila as president, saying that he means well for the community despite negative propaganda that has existed over the years. 

Siaya Senator James Orengo warned Kenyans against spreading propaganda that causes division and unrest in the country.

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