President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto commenced a tour of Coast counties as they sought to woo residents in the region that overwhelmingly voted for the Opposition.
On Friday, the two visited Tana River and Kilifi counties where the President commissioned key road and health projects and told residents that his government had made “tremendous” progress in fulfilling its elections pledges for the country.
President Kenyatta returned to Malindi for the first time since Jubilee lost the local constituency seat to the ODM in a hotly contested by-election in March.
During the elections, the President promised to return to initiate key projects such as the construction of the 110 kilometres Malindi-Sala Gate Road, which leads to the Tsavo National Park and is critical for horticulture farmers. The road is expected to cost about Sh4.2 billion.
“A promise is a debt,” the President told residents at Alaska Gardens shortly after commissioning the road. He said his administration was keen on developing the Coast region because the people had a right to development. It was the same message he had for Tana River County where he launched the tarmacking of the Hola-Bura-Charidende-Madogo Road.
In Malindi, the President criticised Opposition leaders, saying their style of politics was divisive and retrogressive and it was time the people became weary of them.
He said he had unsuccessfully tried to reach out to Opposition leaders so that together they could work for the people and the country irrespective of political affiliation. Unfortunately, he said, he was turned off by insults and retrogressive style of politics.
He singled out the land problem at the Coast as one of the major lies and propaganda that was and is still used by the Opposition as leaders look for votes.
He challenged Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi to rise above such politics and work with the national government to solve problems facing the people.
In response to Mr Kingi who said he was ready to work with the national government as provided for in the Constitution, President Kenyatta said if the governor had made such a resolve three years ago, the county would be far in terms of development. Mr Ruto asked the region to join the Jubilee Party, which would serve to unite the people.
Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung’aro welcomed the launch of the projects, saying he appreciated the fact that the President and his Deputy had jointly visited the county for development “and not for political competition”.
In Kilifi, the President commissioned a 1.5km road within the town and inspected facilities in the county hospital funded by the national government to the tune of Sh400 million.
Today, the two leaders are expected to visit Msambweni in Kwale County, after commissioning the Second Container Terminal at the Port of Mombasa.