Battle for Presidential votes at the coast intensifies

Raila Odinga

ODM’s Hassan Joho’s hardliners privately admit that DP Ruto is now a “big problem” in the coast as 2022 approaches pushing the Orange party back to the drawing board

By The Weekly Vision Online

Kenya’s critical coastal swing vote will be up for grabs in next year’s presidential elections, with the two main presidential contenders holding big rallies there. The region is not fronting any presidential candidate next year. It’s in appreciating this vital factor that deputy president William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga have been camping in the region for days, on and off. 

The battle to consolidate critical “swing” votes in the 2022 epic duel is now in top gear and both men are leaving nothing to chance. In the run-up to the Mashujaa Day celebrations in Kirinyaga County, DP Ruto spent 6 days drawing huge rallies in Mombasa, Lamu and Kilifi that are said to have alarmed Mr Odinga’s strategists forcing ODM to hold rival rallies.

ODM Mombasa governor Hassan Joho who has kept insisting the coastal region is “locked” as Raila Odinga’s stronghold, could not believe his eyes at the huge crowds at Ruto rallies. To make matters worse the cheering crowds appeared to agree with DP Ruto that he was being “shortchanged” after having made “one a prime minister” and another “a president 3 times” (read Uhuru-Raila)

DP Ruto only broke off from a week-long whistle-stop tour of the coast where he addressed huge, mammoth rallies, to attend Mashujaa day celebrations, many say he is a man headed for “victory” in 2022 presidential elections

William Ruto

The mass of humanity at Ruto rallies have rattled Mr Odinga, long seen as the undisputed political kingpin of the coastal region. The region is home to huge numbers of upcountry people. Both in 2013 and 2017 Raila swept the board with staggering wins from the nearly 1.9m voters in Mombasa, Lamu, Kilifi, Malindi and Mtwapa towns. That narrative appears to be changing and changing fast as Ruto pokes holes in the ODM zone.

Even ODM’s Hassan Joho’s hardliners privately admit that Ruto is now a “big problem” in the coast as 2022 approaches pushing the Orange party back to the drawing board. Ruto, 56, who only broke off from a week-long whistle-stop tour of the coast addressing huge, mammoth rallies, to attend Mashujaa day celebrations is a man headed for “victory” in 2022. He has assembled a near unassailable team of regional front-runners who seem to be selling their “gospel” well to wananchi alarming even President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Kenyatta appeared to be reacting to Ruto’s coast rallies when he spoke in Kikuyu accusing his deputy of daily “running around with stories” wondering when he ever works for the salary taxpayers pay him?

The president had just returned from a frustrating trip to the USA where President Joe Biden told him to “stop” the grand corruption “bleeding the country dry” before he steps down next year.

Kenyatta told Kikuyu youth to stop being misled by “cheap lies” by that “man” and wait for his “signal” on who to elect as his successor next year.

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