The Nation (Nairobi)

6 August 2011

Kenya: VP At 'Home' in Meru As He Seeks Support

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka on Saturday set out on another leg of his tours to inspect development projects and seek support ahead of the 2012 elections.

Mr Musyoka commissioned the Maili Tatu-Lare road in Igembe North Constituency and is expected to preside over a funds drive in Igembe South on Sunday.

The two constituencies are in Meru County. The ODM-Kenya leader's visit to the county follows his extensive tour of Kisii a fortnight ago where he also sought support.

Several presidential aspirants have visited Meru in Eastern and Kisii in Nyanza to drum up support for their presidential bids.

Since no one from Meru or Kisii has yet expressed interest seeking the presidency in the next General Election, the large number of votes in the two areas appear to be up for grabs.

Mr Musyoka, who views himself as a "son of Eastern" as he hails from Ukambani, sees his Meru visit as a sort of homecoming and seeks to consolidate regional support.

His wife Pauline has also been camping in the area as she participated in various development activities.

In the previous two elections, Meru residents voted for President Kibaki almost to a man. But since President Kibaki is ending is final term, presidential aspirants are seeking to secure votes from the populous region.

Analysts believe that Meru support is crucial for Mr Musyoka as it would give him the numbers, in addition to his Ukambani votes, to bargain to be the flag bearer in any arrangement.

Mr Musyoka's aide, Kaplich Barsito, said the VP is using his countrywide tours to inspect and initiate development projects and to address problems facing locals.

But the tours come at a time when ODM-Kenya is undergoing vigorous rebranding. The party has changed its symbol to distinguish itself from ODM and is opening offices in all 47 counties and holding meetings to strengthen its structures and attract more members.

Before heading to Meru, Mr Musyoka attended a two-day ODM-Kenya Youth Symposium with three delegates coming from all counties.

The VP said his vision is to help transform infrastructure, social welfare, and ensure economic growth.

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