With four days to go before Malindi voters choose their new leader in the hotly contested by-election, Jubilee Alliance Party and ODM top leaders criss-crossed the constituency, promising baskets of development goodies should their candidates win.
Deputy President William Ruto addressed a marathon of rallies on Thursday as Cord leader Raila Odinga lead ODM heavyweights in meeting traders before later holding a rally in Malindi town where he urged residents to elect Mr William Mtengo
While campaigning for Jubilee’s candidate Mr Philip Charo in Langobaya, Kalia Papo, Kakuyuni and Ganda, the Deputy President announced a number of projects that the government has in the pipeline for the area and those being implemented.
In enumerating the projects, Mr Ruto sought to demonstrate how keen the government and President Uhuru Kenyatta in particular was to work with the residents to develop the region.
According to Mr Ruto, the residents would benefit more and feel the government’s presence if they voted for Mr Charo, whom he described as a man of integrity and a focused leader who has the interests of his people at heart.
“Your vote is very critical to us. It will not only empower you but will help in eradicating poverty and promote development and unity in Malindi,’’ said Mr Ruto.
“Our aim is to build Kenya and do away with the retrogressive politics of divide and rule, ethnicity and hatred,’’ Mr Ruto said, explaining that it was with this in mind that Mr Dan Kazungu of ODM was appointed to the Cabinet to show that the Jubilee administration is inclusive and upholds diversity.
Mr Ruto also challenged the residents to ask the Opposition what they had to offer in terms of development and especially when they were part of the Kibaki administration where Mr Odinga was a Prime Minister and Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi held key Cabinet position but did not help lift the standards of living for the people.
“I have not come here to joke. You must ask yourself those hard questions before you cast your vote on Monday. You must always bear in mind that no one votes to be in the Opposition and you know what the government is all about and that is where Mr Charo will be headed,’’ he said at Kakuyuni.
Mr Ruto announced that Sh5 billion has been allocated for construction of Ronald Ngala Utalii College expected to be ready next year while another Sh100 million has been set aside to build Weru Technical Institute in Lango Baya, Malindi and which is expected to give vocational training to local youths.
To boost Malindi’s tourism, the DP added, tarmacking of the Malindi-Sala Gate Road which is expected to open trade and tourism to Tsavo East National Park would start next month while contractors for the Ganze Bamba road are on the site.
Additionally, Mr Ruto, said Sh425 million has been allocated to equip Malindi Sub-county Hospital with dialysis and cancer machines.
The Deputy President also announced that 700,000 title deeds, in addition to the 300,000 which have already been issued in the region.
He made the announcement during various meetings addressed by the Jubilee campaign team, including National Assembly Majority Leader Adan Duale, Mr Charo, Cabinet Secretary Dan Kazungu, ODM rebel MP Gideon Mung’aro, and Kinangop MP Gonzi Rai.
Mr Odinga and the ODM campaign team met Mnazi vendors where he accused the police of harassing the traders.
Accompanied by Governors Evans Kidero (Nairobi), Hassan Ali Joho (Mombasa) and Amason Kingi (Kilifi), Mr Odinga again demanded the resignation of the Jubilee administration saying they had “ruined” the country by abetting corruption.
Mr Odinga warned police against harassing the palm wine vendors with incessant bribe demands, and called on senior officers to intervene.
"Mnazi is not brewed like the illicit drinks. It has no side effects like, say, whisk which is manyfolds more harmful. Vendors should not therefore be intimidated on the grounds that they are selling illegal brew", he said.
The Cord leaders said his government would streamline the enterprise to empower people and ensure the sector’s potential was realized.
“My government will protect these people because they are an integral part of a country's overall economy. They should not be frustrated and harassed", he said.
Dr Kidero, Mr Joho, and Mombasa Woman Rep Mishi Mboko and Msambweni MP Suleiman Dori accused the police for frustrating the vendors and called on the Inspector of Police to put the vice to an end.
"Police should stop demanding bribes from these women struggling for daily bread and to look after their children. They should stop harassing them at once,” said Mr Kidero.
Mr Joho alleged that the police harassment was part of the Jubilee government's scheme to impoverish Coast people so that it can continue misusing them.