By JOHN NGIRACHU email@example.com and BENJAMIN MUINDI firstname.lastname@example.org
Members of the Jubilee Coalition used their final rally in Nairobi Saturday to ask their supporters to turn out in large numbers to vote.They urged supporters to maintain peace and told their main rivals to accept the results of the General Election Monday.Presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta asked his supporters, who filled Uhuru Park in Nairobi in a sea of red and yellow, to “come out, vote and finish this in the first round”.Opinion polls over the past six months have suggested neither he nor Cord’s Raila Odinga would garner enough votes to win the presidency in the first round.With the rally coming at the end of a campaign that has occupied most of the candidates’ time this year, the report in the Financial Times that Mr Odinga would not accept defeat was the only new thing.Mr Kenyatta addressed Mr Odinga directly.“You are a Kenyan like us. I have seen what is in the papers. I contested the presidency in 2002 and conceded defeat,” he told him.“Kenyans are giving me another chance. I ask my brother Raila … it’s not difficult ... If wananchi reject you this time, go home, rest for five years and if you want to try again, wananchi will make their decision again.”
(Mr Odinga has dismissed the story. See page 2).
Mr William Ruto, the coalition’s designated deputy president, also spent some time on the matter, asking their competitors to respect the decision made at the ballot box on Monday.“I want to ask the Prime Minister, with a lot of respect, to respect the decision of Kenyans. Every coalition and every party must desist from making reckless statements about rigging and about violence,” said Mr Ruto.He took a swipe at members of Mr Odinga’s coalition who have been in leadership for a long time such as William ole Ntimama, Henry Kosgey and Kalonzo Musyoka.“If these guys don’t represent the status quo, then who does? It means we have no past, and we have no status quo,” he said.Mr Kenyatta, Mr Ruto, Charity Ngilu and Najib Balala arrived at the park at 4.30 pm, one-and-a-half hours to the end of official campaign period.Their supporters started making their way to the park in the morning, and by the time they arrived to a loud and raucous welcome, enough T-shirts, caps and miniature flags had been distributed to turn the park into a heaving red mass.
With the rally preceded by a concert and performances by a variety of artistes, the crowd had been worked up to a sufficient energy level.The coalition’s branded helicopters and planes also flew past before the leaders arrived.An impatient Mr Ruto cut short Jaguar’s performance to begin his address at 5.30 pm.The rally was also used as an opportunity to make another plea to The National Alliance Party’s candidates in Nairobi, Mike Sonko for senator, Ferdinand Waititu for governor and Rachel Shebesh for women’s representative, to work together.The trio arrived way after the others, wearing broad smiles and matching shirts, and lifted hands as a youthful crowd at their feet chanted.Mr Sonko and Ms Shebesh had last week declared support for Alliance Party of Kenya candidate for governor Jimnah Mbaru but hurried back to Mr Waititu’s side on Mr Kenyatta’s orders.
Mr Kenyatta urged Mr Mbaru, who lost in the TNA primaries to Mr Waititu, to step down and accept a job offer from the Jubilee coalition if it wins.APK supports Mr Kenyatta and Mr Mbaru is seen by TNA as a spoiler.Reacting, Mr Mbaru rejected the idea.“I am in the race and I assure you of a win come Monday. I will not give up this seat for anyone, more so to people who are likely to mishandle the county. I am the best driver,” Mr Mbaru said.Earlier in the day, the Jubilee Coalition top brass campaigned in Kitui Central where they asked their opponents to concede defeat after the Monday polls.Mr Kenyatta was with Mr Ruto, Mr Balala, Mrs Ngilu and former Mutito MP Kiema Kilonzo, and a host of other aspirants in the county allied to the Jubilee coalition.The Deputy Prime Minister said: “We are asking Raila to accept the outcome of the General Election.The will of the people will be determined through the elections and the will of the people is the will of God,” he said at Chuluni area in Kitui East.He said that his government would work with Mrs Ngilu and Mr Kilonzo to ensure that the roads in Kitui were developed.
Mrs Ngilu said that it is only a Jubilee government that can solve the problems of Ukambani people since it will be a government of “fresh” leaders.Mr Ruto said recent political moves by their main opponents in Cord of nominating themselves in their respective parties was an indication that the leaders had already conceded defeat.“When Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka nominates himself to be in the government after the General Election it is an indication that they have faced the truth – that the Jubilee Coalition will emerge winners.”But Mr Musyoka is not the only politician named to have topped their party lists since Mrs Ngilu is also angling for nomination after the Monday poll, according to a revised party list released by the polls team on Thursday.Mr Musyoka, who is the Cord presidential running mate, is listed number one in the Wiper Party list for the National Assembly seats.In the National Rainbow Coalition list, Mrs Ngilu, who is the party leader, is listed at the top for senatorial nomination.Mr Balala told the residents of Kitui that the departure of all key luminaries of the so-called Orange Democratic Movement Pentagon was a sign that Mr Odinga could not offer good leadership.