Nasa on Sunday took its presidential bid to the home turf of Deputy President William Ruto amid attempts by Jubilee Party supporters to disrupt the rally.
The National Super Alliance leaders accused the Jubilee administration of trying to take credit for their plans to introduce free education in secondary schools.
“Most of the programmes that Jubilee is claiming as their own, including free and compulsory primary education, were my brainchild while in the Kibaki government and we will do more if Nasa wins the August 8 General Election,” said the Nasa presidential running mate, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka.
Before the rally started, police had a hectic time separating the Nasa and Jubilee rival crowds during the highly charged meeting at the Kapsabet ASK showground in Nandi County.
The opposition leaders petitioned the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the police to take action against the Jubilee supporters.
The IEBC should act tough and implement the election code of conduct and ensure that the electioneering period is free from any act of violence that can plunge the country into turmoil, said the leaders, who included Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
Trouble started when the Chama Cha Mashinani leader, Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, took to the podium to introduce the leaders who had attended the meeting to drum up support for Nasa in a region perceived to be a Jubilee stronghold.
Nasa and Jubilee supporters charged at each other, forcing the police to create a buffer zone to prevent any physical confrontation.
At one point, the Jubilee supporters, who were waving their party placards and chanting pro-UhuRuto slogans, attempted to force their way to the dais but were repulsed by the police.
Mr Odinga said the Nasa government would revamp the economy once elected, alleging that the Jubilee regime had messed up the dairy, maize and tea sub-sectors.
“When we were in the Grand Coalition government, we offered Sh3,500 to maize farmers but the Jubilee government reduced the price to Sh2,200. Now it has imported maize from Mexico at Sh4,600, giving Kenyan farmers a raw deal,” Mr Odinga said amid applause.
Promising to revamp the dairy and tea sub-sectors, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader took a swipe at Jubilee for paying Sh36 for a litre of raw milk but selling the processed product at Sh140.
“Why should this Jubilee government give farmers Sh30 per litre after extracting butter, cheese and adding water to the product?” wondered Mr Odinga. “This is the exploitation that a Nasa government will not allow.”
The former Prime Minister said the Nasa government will resettle the remaining victims of the 2007/2008 post-election violence, alleging that the Jubilee government was discriminative in its resettlement of the internally displaced persons.
CHANGE OF GUARD
Wiper Democratic Movement leader Musyoka said it was time for a change of guard in the country’s leadership and petitioned the electorate in the region to join the Nasa team.
Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi called on the IEBC to act tough on leaders fanning violence during the campaigns.
“What these rowdy youths did is an act of shame,” said Mr Mudavadi. “They wanted to lay a trap to provoke our supporters into such undemocratic practices that would have led us into contravening the electoral code of conduct.”
Ford-Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula cautioned the youth against being misled to disrupt opponents’ rallies and asked IEBC to act on such leaders.
“The Jubilee government has no policies to address the plight of Kenyans,” said Mr Wetang’ula. “Their work is to insult other leaders and misuse the youth to disrupt rallies — like what their supporters attempted to do today.”
The sentiments were echoed by Siaya Senator James Orengo and Governor Ruto, who petitioned the IEBC to bar leaders who promote violence from seeking elective posts.
Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho claimed that the Jubilee government had messed up the agriculture sector, which is the country’s economic backbone.
Earlier, Mr Odinga said voting in partyless leaders would deny Nasa the authority to de-whip them. He spoke in his Bondo home constituency, where he witnessed the ordination of Prof David Godia as the second bishop of the Bondo Anglican Diocese to succeed Bishop Johannes Angela.
It is the third time the Orange chief had asked residents of Nyanza to reject independent candidates, saying their victory would deny the coalition numerical strength in the next Parliament.
“The journey must begin here, at our home in Bondo,” said Mr Odinga. “And we must ensure that we vote in six-piece, from MCA all the way to the presidency. We do not want madoadoa (spots).
“In a bid to ensure that the Nasa government delivers all its campaign pledges, the electorates need to elect foot soldiers who will shield me from being a lame-duck president.”
Additional reporting by Silas Apollo and Nelcon Odhiambo