NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 14 – Marsabit Governor Ukur Yatani on Tuesday decamped from the Orange Democratic Movement together with other elected leaders to back President Kenyatta’s re-election.
Four Members of Parliament, 25 Members of County Assembly and more than 300 elders representing the 15 communities living in Kenya’s biggest county, accompanied the governor when he visited President Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi.
The MPs were Roba Duba (Moyale), Chachu Ganya (North Horr), Nasra Ibrahim (Women Rep) and Joseph Lekuton (Laisamis) who excused himself before the meeting to attend to urgent matter. Ganya, Nasra and Lekuton all belonged to ODM.
Yatani is the latest in the list of governors and senior politicians to defect from the opposition to rally behind President Kenyatta’s re-election
The governor said he was decamping from ODM to another party, Frontier Alliance Party, which supports the re-election of President Kenyatta.
“We have decided to leave the opposition because the people of Marsabit are very grateful for the work you have done for us including the construction of the tarmac road,” said Mr Yattani.
He explained how a journey – from Moyale to Nairobi — that used to take four days now takes six or seven hours because of the construction of the tarmac road.
“Now there is a bus that travels from Mombasa to Addis Ababa through Moyale and that is one of the reasons that the people of Marsabit will all vote for you,” said the governor.
Yattani said there will be competition for all elective positions at the county level but there was unanimity among the people of Marsabit that their choice for the top seat is President Kenyatta.
The North Horr MP said the leaders from the county always supported the government because they were confident that its agenda to develop the country was a genuine one.
Duba said besides their preference for Jubilee’s development agenda, they enjoy working with President Kenyatta.
“He is a President with no complications and all of us enjoy sitting down and working with him,” said Duba.
The Marsabit Women’s Representative said they have formed their own party, which will work with Jubilee Party in re-electing President Kenyatta.
Marsabit has the distinction of being Kenya’s largest county and is home to 15 of Kenya’s 43 recognised ethnic groups. It is also home to the Koobi Fora, known to archaeologists as the cradle of mankind. Today, there were representatives from all the 15 tribes.
On his part, President Kenyatta said he appreciates the position taken by the Marsabit Governor, MPs, MCAs and their supporters.
He assured them that he will not interfere with the choice the people of Marsabit will make because all of the candidates for governor, MP and MCAs will be lining up behind him.
“You are all mine and I promise you there will be no interference and as you compete do it in a civilised manner because at the end of the day the winner will be ours and the loser will still be ours,” said the President.
The President said the Jubilee government will continue working on measures to boost the economy of Marsabit county.
“The potential for tourism and livestock industry in Marsabit are tremendous,” said the President as he promised that the Government will support farming in the county through the construction of a mega dam.
The move by the Marsabit leaders follows similar moves by the governors of Tana River, Kwale, Bungoma, Taita Taveta Senator Dan Mwanzo and more leaders who have decamped from the opposition to support the President.