Uhuru Kicks Off Kisumu Tour, Strengthen ‘Baba Backyard’

The President insisted that Mr Odinga, who is running against his estranged deputy William Ruto of the Kenya Kwanza Alliance, is the only person he can trust to continue his development agenda.

President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived in Kisumu last evening with a bagful of goodies, urging residents to vote for Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga next week.

Addressing residents who had been waiting for him since the morning, the President chastised Nyanza residents for always showing up in large numbers at rallies but failing to do so at the polls.

“I know you love Baba (Mr Odinga) but the problem is you people just make noise here lying to me but do not turn out during voting. I hope you will not disappoint me this time round. Ensure you come out to the last man to vote for Baba na Mama (running mate Martha Karua),” said President Kenyatta.

“On August 9, do not talk to anyone who does not have ink on the finger. Tell them to go and vote first,” he added.

The President insisted that Mr Odinga, who is running against his estranged deputy William Ruto of the Kenya Kwanza Alliance, is the only person he can trust to continue his development agenda.

He attributed his ability to smoothly steer the country to the handshake he shared with Mr Odinga.

The President spoke at Oroba, Muhoroni, where he landed to inspect the newly refurbished bridge and was scheduled to ride a train to the newly constructed Kenya Railways Corporation terminus in Kisumu.

This, however, did not occur because he was short on time. Instead, he flew to the terminal.

He defended his decision to launch various projects in the region, saying it was his duty and that he was doing it across the country, while speaking to an ecstatic crowd at Oroba.

He promised Miwani residents that the government would establish a special economic zone to provide locals with job opportunities.

“Do you want politics of insults and anger or development? The driver of development is my friend who is called Baba or Jakom (chairman) or Raila Amollo Odinga,” the President said.

The Head of State is on a tour of the region, stopping in Vihiga, Kakamega, Bungoma, and Trans Nzoia counties to rally support for Mr Odinga.

Today, the President is expected to award a charter to Kaimosi Friends University and then travel to Nzoia Sugar Company in Bungoma.

However, before departing Kisumu, he will preside over the commissioning of the Kisumu Shipyard and the floatation of the MV Uhuru II Wagon Ferry. The construction of MV Uhuru II increased the use of the revitalized Kisumu Port.

The vessel will have a total carrying capacity of 1,800 tonnes, which is 540 tonnes more than the refurbished MV Uhuru I, according to Kenya Railways and Kenya Ports Authority.

Apart from the Sh3 billion Kisumu Port and the shipyard where the MV Uhuru II was built, other major investments in Kisumu include the Sh476 million Railway Training Institute Marine School, a new passenger railways terminal, and the refurbished 216km Nakuru-Kisumu meter gauge railway line.

The Lake Basin Development Authority Mall is worth Sh4.2 billion, the Uhuru Business Park is worth Sh599 million, the Olkana-Lessos-Kisumu power transmission line is worth Sh16 billion, and the Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium is worth Sh4.2 billion.

The 4.5-kilometer Sh2.8 billion Kisumu Boys roundabout-Mamboleo dual carriage road, as well as the Mamboleo interchange, are nearly completed, while construction of the 62-kilometer Mamboleo-Kipsitet Muhoroni road has begun from the Muhoroni side.

The town – from where Mr Odinga comes from – also benefited from major road upgrade projects to ease movement as well as open up business opportunities in the area.