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UHURUTO’s Thika Visit: A mixed bag of reactions.

Thousands of Thika residents turned up at the Thika Sub-County Stadium on Sunday to welcome HE President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and the county’s Jubilee brigade in the final lap of his Kiambu tour. Some arrived at the venue early in the morning probably to grab the best spot to follow the proceedings.

The stadium was painted red as Jubilee supporters donned in their party’s red caps and T-shirts and flapping the Jubilee flags in anticipation of the great homecoming of their muthamaki. The mood was generally ecstatic.

At around 5:15pm, the president’s entourage arrived into the stadium amid cheers and jubilation from the crowd. Shortly after, the guests went straight to the business of the day.

President Uhuru gave out a few title deeds of the 1,700 Kilimambogo residents who have lived in the area as squatters for over 45 years.

Immediately thereafter, the president and his deputy kicked off their speeches where they appealed to area residents to come out in their numbers on August 8 and re-elect the duo for a second term in office.

They articulated their achievements as a government in the past four and a half years and their vision for the next five years if elected into office. The duo also took a swipe on the NASA brigade who they said lacked any agenda for Kenya other than to hatch a scheme to plunge this country in chaos as they did in 2007.

However, their appeal for a 6-piece voting in August divided the crowd with a section of the people bitterly disagreeing with this plea.

Waving placards and banners that read “UHURUTO sawa OTHERS LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE”, the crowd drowned the leaders’ voices with chants of “Hatutaki suti!” leading to the deputy president to, at one time, say “Haya basi tumeona. Wekeni hayo mabango chini sasa!

The division became so evident when Jubilee nominees from the county were called in to greet the crowd and may be say a word or two. Area MP Alice Ng’ang’a was forced to cut short her speech in less than a minute after chants of “Jungle! Jungle! Jungle!” rent the air, completely disrupting her from addressing her constituents.

Earlier, there was drama as part of the security team attempted to physically eject Eng. Patrick Wainaina from the presidential podium, only to retreat after the crowd turned rowdy and attempted to disrupt the programme.

Calm was restored when former Juja MP Stephen Ndichu talked to the security men out of the idea of throwing out the independent candidate and thereafter the then emcee cooling down the tempers of the irate crowd that had already threatened to get out of control.

Wainaina was forced to take a seat at the back row of the dais where he sat sandwiched between two heavily built men for the rest of the session.

Tension was high in the morning hours and early afternoon as opposing sides faced off in what seemed likely to escalate into full blown chaos. Majority of the people avoided getting into the stadium for fear of chaos, opting to watch from the sidelines especially along Kenyatta Highway near Nakumatt Supermarket and along Stadium Road opposite the Assistant County Commissioner’s offices.

Early signs of violence revealed themselves when supporters of one candidate arrived in the morning to find the posters of their preferred candidate either torn down or those belonging to different candidates pasted on top of their posters. Out of anger, they struck and started tearing down the latter’s posters from the stadium walls.

Were it not the intervention of the police, the other team had started to regroup for a fight but no ugly incident was reported other that the war of words.

It did not escape our eyes that some of the candidates could be seen transporting people into the venue via their proxies, probably to give the impression to the president that they had a big support base on the ground. Several Thika-Nairobi bound buses were spotted dropping youths around the stadium and it needed no rocket scientist to identify their financiers as they loudly came shouting in praise of the preferred candidates.

All in all, everything went on well with no major ugly incident reported.

Some of the political bigwigs present included Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, Leader of Majority in the National assembly Adan Duale, Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria and his Women Representative Sabina Wanjiru Chege, Starehe Jubilee parliamentary aspirant Charles Njagua “Jaguar” among others

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