Cord, Jubilee all out to score points with rallies in the Rift

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Jubilee and Coalition for Reform and Democracy (Cord) leaders will be in the Rift Valley at the weekend in what is expected to be a drive to sway the vote-rich region.

Cord leader Raila Odinga will on Saturday be in Deputy President William Ruto’s Rift Valley turf.

President Kenyatta and his deputy are expected to attend a funds-drive for the Anglican Church of Kenya Nandi Diocese.

Jubilee politicians, on the other hand, will be in Ol-Kalou for an ICC prayer rally, Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, said.

The Cord rally comes amid accusations by the Opposition that the Jubilee government has mismanaged the economy.

Jubilee has said the economy is in good shape and that interest rates will fall in two months.

Cord organisers said the Kericho meeting will be used to set the record straight on Mr Ruto’s International Criminal Court case.

Mr Odinga will attend a church service at Chepseon, about 50 kilometres from Kericho Town and then address a rally.

The Cord leader will also address Mau Forest evictees, a group that analysts say was another nail in Mr Odinga’s political coffin when he lost crucial Rift Valley support.

The allure of the vote-rich region is irresistible with indications that Mr Ruto and President Kenyatta will be in Nandi on the same day Mr Odinga will be in Chepseon.

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“The President and Deputy President Ruto will probably attend a church service but with only local leaders because Jubilee politicians will be in Ol-Kalou for an ICC prayer rally,” Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, said.

The Cord rallies are designed to provide a platform for the newly launched Okoa Kenya drive.

“It is time we set the record straight on a lot of things that the Rift Valley people have taken as gospel truth,” said Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo.

ODM political affairs director Opiyo Wandayi said the coalition’s message was that the government was corrupt and unable to fulfil its mandate.

Jubilee politicians said that even if the Cord rally might be well-attended, this would not translate into votes in 2017.

Bomet East MP Bernard Bett, one of DP Ruto’s fiercest defenders, said: “The Kalenjin are clear on what they want, which is to help the government prosper,” said Mr Bett.

Former ODM executive secretary Magerer Lang’at warned the region against accepting Mr Odinga’s message.

“For the Rift Valley and DP Ruto, Mr Odinga is like the proverbial hyena that follows a man’s hand hoping it would fall. All he wants is to destroy Jubilee so that he may reap from it,” said Mr Magerer.

University of Laikipia’s Malawi Rotich opined that the bigger headache for Mr Odinga will be “lack of point men in the region.”

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