The government will not be moved by pressure, intimidation and threats by the Opposition on boycotting this year’s General Election, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.
The Head of State, who took his campaign to Isiolo on Saturday, said if the Jubilee Party’s opponents are not ready to participate in the polls they should allow Kenyans to elect leaders of their choice.
The President addressed a charged political rally in Isiolo Stadium. He said no amount of threats would discourage him from investing in projects that will uplift the livelihoods of Kenyans and seek a second term in office.
“If they do not want to participate in the election, they can go home and leave us to work for the more than 40 million Kenyans. Issuing threats is not democratic because Kenya is not a dictatorial country and no one is greater than the other,” President Kenyatta said.
He was accompanied by National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and local leaders.
Opposition coalition Nasa’s presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga and his deputy Kalonzo Musyoka have said they will boycott elections should the Court of Appeal reverse the High Court decision that presidential results announced at the constituency level are final.
The Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission has filed an appeal on the matter.
Local politics played out when supporters of Governor Godana Doyo, who is defending his seat on the ticket of the Party for Development and Reforms, and those of his opponents Mr Mohammed Kuti (independent candidate) and Abdul Bahari of the Jubilee Party hurled stones at each other. This was shortly before the President arrived.
But despite the political differences, all the gubernatorial candidates are campaigning for President Kenyatta’s re-election.
Police had a rough time restoring order as supporters engaged in a war of words. None of the local leaders addressed the rally. It took the President’s intervention for the meeting to be called to order.
Like in many counties where he has been campaigning, President Kenyatta steered clear of local politics, saying he would work together with whoever is elected.
“Those who will lose in the elections, we will get opportunities for them in the government,” he said. He announced that during a closed-door meeting with local leaders, it was agreed that the amount of relief food distributed in the county would be doubled. Water bowsers will also be distributed in drought-hit areas.
He also gave a directive that head teachers and principals should not send away students because of school fees. The school feeding programme will also be improved to retain pupils in schools.
“Headmasters should not to ask parents for school fees. They should be aware of the problems that Kenyans are going through,” he said, adding that the government has waived duty on dates ahead of Ramadhan festivities.
The President asked Kenyans to elect leaders who have their interests at heart, while maintaining peace during and after the electioneering period. He said he would be back soon to officially open the Isiolo International Airport and other infrastructure projects, including roads.
“We want to ensure all Kenyans get equal access to services and development projects,” he said. In his address, President Kenyatta declined to endorse any of the three gubernatorial candidates. But he told the three aspirants that he would support them even as they compete among themselves.
The rally lasted less than 10 minutes.