Shun divisive politics, President Uhuru tells Kisumu residents

Standard Digital

President Uhuru Kenyatta landed in Kisumu to a rousing welcome. Surging crowds cheered him all the way from Kisumu Airport to the city’s central business district and escorted him to the State Lodge, where he will host the winners of this year’s Kenya Schools and Colleges Drama Festivals. The residents had only one request for the President – to help bring down the price of maize flour. As the President’s convoy snaked its way towards State Lodge, they chanted: “Unga”! “Bei ya unga imepanda zaidi!” (Maize flour! The price of maize flour is too high!) A smiling President Kenyatta listened to the chanting youth but did not respond even as the crowd escorted his motorcade all the way to the State Lodge. Earlier, business came to a standstill in the town as residents went to receive the President to the home town of his political nemesis, Raila Odinga. Although all the county’s legislators, including area MP Ken Obura, gave the visit a wide berth, Governor Jack Ranguma received the President at the Kisumu International Airport. Crowds lined Oginga Odinga Road to greet him.

Initially, the motorcade did not stop even as crowds tried to wave it down. However, the President later stopped at the Kenya Commercial Bank roundabout and gave a short speech.  “I thank you for the warm welcome and also for taking care of the children who came here to participate in the drama festivals,” he said. Uhuru noted that it was important for all Kenyans to embrace unity and peace as the country heads for the elections. “We have to know that we are all Kenyans and we must promote peace as you elect the person of your choice,” he said. He promised that he would visit the region again to ask for votes and emphasised the importance of promoting peace and unity. “Peace is what is important because even after elections we will all remain Kenyans,” said the President as his heavily armed security detail pushed back the crowd. He also appealed to the youth not to allow politicians to use them to promote violence during the electioneering period.

“Tell any politician inciting you to violence to ask his own children to square it out with those of his or her opponents because in the end you will be fighting each other as he flees with his family to Nairobi,” Uhuru said. His comments come at a time when most parties have begun their party primaries, with politicians intensifying their campaigns in most parts of the country.

Uhuru: This is what I have done for Raila backyard


President Uhuru Kenyatta‘s administration says it has channelled Sh55 billion to three counties in Nyanza.
State House Spokesman Manoa Esipisu outlined the Government’s record ahead of the President’s tour to host winners of the 58th edition of the national drama festivals at the Kisumu State Lodge. It is expected that he will also address the public in parts of Nyanza and Western region.

According to Esipisu, since 2013, Kisumu, Siaya and Homa Bay counties have received over Sh55 billion through the devolved units and the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

According to the official, Kisumu alone has received Sh17.89 billion, which was transferred through the devolved unit, with another Sh2.63 billion reaching the county through CDF. Homa Bay on the other hand has received Sh17.74 billion and Sh3.05 billion through CDF, while Siaya has received Sh15.30 billion in addition to Sh2.26 billion for CDF.

“This implies that a large chunk of cash has been available to help grow the counties, and hopefully the governors and MPs from here invested the money well in projects that lift the lives of the residents,” said Esipisu. In relation to the Digital Literacy Programme (DLP), he said Kisumu had received 21,792 tablets in 402 primary schools, while 474 primary schools in Homa Bay had received 20,414 tablets, and another 393 primary schools in Siaya got 21,666 tablets. In Kisumu, he said 77,452 mothers had benefited from the Free Maternity Services Programme, while Homa Bay and Siaya had seen 85,806 and 77,513 benefit respectively since June 2013.

“In regards to social inclusion in Kisumu, there have been a total of 36,256 beneficiaries of the Women Enterprise Fund, at a cost of Sh216,350,000, while in regards to Youth Enterprise Development Fund, a total of 11,391 people have benefited at a cost of Sh119,369,284,” Esipisu said. Through Uwezo Fund, he said, 33,347 people had benefited from Sh128,105,228 in Kisumu, while 25,559 people had benefited from Sh145,207,281 in Homa Bay.

“Monies given in reference to social inclusion improve the livelihoods and welfare of these families, guarantees they lead a diplomatic life and promote the growth of SMEs,” he said.

Why NASA flag bearer talks failed to take off

Standard digital

The opposition alliance’s retreat that had been set to start Monday has been rescheduled to begin today, according to one of the principals. Last evening, Ford-Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula said he and his colleagues in the National Super Alliance (NASA) would start their meeting today. Earlier, it had emerged that the absence of one of the principals, the expected entry of Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, and outstanding issues on power-sharing were among the reasons that prompted the postponement of the retreat.
Delicate talks
Also cited were concerns that too much publicity could undermine the delicate talks and apprehension that holding the crucial meeting with the ongoing contentious party primaries could send signals to the grassroots that could influence the nominations. Initially, the National Super Alliance (NASA) had announced that the four opposition leaders would meet on April 17, 18, and 19 to consider a report by the National Coordinating Committee (NCC) on the coalition’s presidential flag-bearer and power-sharing proposals.

The much-awaited retreat was put off after ODM leader Raila Odinga travelled to South Africa over the Easter holiday to visit his ailing daughter, Rosemary, and was expected back in the country either last evening or this morning. “We cannot go to a retreat because some of the principals are not present. Raila is in South Africa while Kalonzo Musyoka had travelled to Dubai,” said Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi. Mr Mudavadi added: “The principals can only have a full meeting when all of them are around.” Mr Kalonzo had, however, returned to the country by yesterday. When contacted, Kalonzo alluded to a change of strategy. The Wiper party leader said the intention was to keep the schedule of the retreat a closely guarded secret. “We want this meeting to remain a mystery. We know that there is huge interest but we don’t want to be infiltrated and that’s why we are not disclosing any details,” he said. While disputing a leaked report that suggested a Raila-Kalonzo ticket had been recommended, Siaya Senator James Orengo, a member of the National Coordinating Committee (NCC), had announced that a decision on the coalition’s flag-bearer would be made during a retreat of NASA principals which he indicated was scheduled for April 17, 18, and 19.

Reports received yesterday had indicated that the retreat might be delayed for two or three days after Governor Ruto agreed to join NASA as the fifth principal. It is understood that Ruto will be received in Nairobi before the end of the week and will hold discussions with the four principals before they all fly down to the Coast to agree not only on who among them would fly the opposition flag, but also the power-sharing formula. The NASA chiefs are set to hold what they term a scheduled meeting in Nairobi this morning and it is not clear whether Ruto will join them. Yesterday, the governor confirmed that he would meet the four principals. “I will be meeting the NASA principals. However, for now I am conducting party primaries between Tuesday and Wednesday. So we will be meeting from Thursday heading to the weekend,” said Ruto.

Fine-tuning report
Asked if he had been invited to the Coast retreat, Ruto replied: “Who told you the retreat will be in Mombasa? It can be anywhere and yes I will be attending the retreat.”

“There is a need for more time so that the coalition is able to bring Ruto on board and work on ways of accommodating him and what his stake in the coalition will be,” said a source privy to the discussions. He, however, confirmed that the retreat would take place before the end of the month. Although NCC had completed its report, a technical committee was said to be fine-tuning it own on power-sharing. The NASA technical team will be compelled to adjust its document to incorporate Ruto’s Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM). Kitutu Masaba MP Timothy Bosire, a member of NCC, said his team had done its work.