By ISAAC ONGIRI
Pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his Orange party to consider a running mate with roots from the East to demystify the perception that the party is dominated by people from Western Kenya and Lake Victoria region.
The move is aimed at attracting more voters from outside these regions and is further triggered by an increasing urge to appeal particularly to voters in Central and Eastern provinces, especially the Kikuyu and the Ameru. Pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his Orange party to appoint a running mate outside Western Kenya [PHOTO: FILE/STANDARD]
Pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his Orange party to appoint a running mate outside Western Kenya [PHOTO: FILE/STANDARD]
But even as strategists within Railaâs camp brainstorm on the matter, the PMâs headache is how to handle Musalia Mudavadi, a loyal deputy who has stood with him hostile to his previous presidential bids. He hopes to woo them to replace the support he has lost in the Rift Valley after falling out with his party deputy William Ruto.
Key leaders from the East of Kenya allied to Raila include Cabinet ministers Joseph Nyagah and Charity Ngilu, Assistant Ministers Wavinya Ndeti and Kilemi Mwiria, Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi, Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara, Kiamba MP Stanley Githunguri and former Ntonyiri MP Maoka Maore.
But ODM insiders who say that Mudavadi is lukewarm and less aggressive give him credit as a political thinker and a team player. They say Mudavadi is a serious boardroom strategist who has been keeping ODM going in tough times.
Raila recently indicated at a rally in Bungoma that he would be sticking with Mudavadi, warning that if they separate they would both plunge to political oblivion.
Mumias MP Benjamin Washiali who is also ODMâs deputy chief whip in Parliament, confirmed the concerns generated over the running mate issue inside the Orange party, revealing that a few names have been informally floated but warned that any attempt to isolate Mudavadi would be met with an immediate protest that would lead to the total disintegration of ODM.
"The issue of shifting the ODM running mate from Western Kenya to Eastern Kenya has been doing the rounds within the party informally. Those floating it have mentioned that that he or she should be a strong person from the Rift Valley, Eastern or Central. They have mentioned Charity Ngilu, Peter Kenneth and Martha Karua," Washiali revealed. Another leader heavily touted due to his clout in the Eastern region is Cooperatives Development Minister Joseph Nyagah.
The minister is ODMâs torchbearer in the region.