Western Kenya politics: Raila, Malala clash

POLITICS |

ODM party leader Raila Odinga with a section of Western leaders during Azimio La Umoja Western consultative meeting at Kakamega Golf hotel on September 10, 2021. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga says he still enjoys backing from the electorate in Western Kenya, and it would therefore be impossible for Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala to stop him from campaigning in the region.

Speaking in Kakamega Town on Friday, September 10, Odinga said Western Kenya is akin to his second home, and that “no one needs permission to return home”. 

“The announcement I’d make is big this time around,” he said while addressing roadside crowds.

“Trust me when I say we’ll surely get there,” added Odinga.

Malala has, recently, been rooting for Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi, who has expressed interest in succeeding President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022.

Malala accused Odinga of using the rapprochement he struck with Kenyatta on March 9, 2018, to benefit Nyanza people only, and not constituents of Western Kenya.

A few weeks ago, the lawmaker said ANC supporters would subject ODM politicians campaigning in Western Kenya to a tough time.

“Does Baba need permission from anyone to tour Western Kenya?” Raila Odinga posed on Friday. “No,” the crowd responded unanimously.

Later that evening, Malala called a press conference, where he asked the Government to crack down on politicians flouting the anti-gathering rules, including Raila Odinga.

“The Interior Cabinet Secretary must act swiftly and arrest these politicians organising rallies against the law,” said Malala.

Some of the leaders that Malala want arrested are Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna and Suna East Member of Parliament Junet Mohamed, who had accompanied Odinga during his Western Kenya tour.

“He (Raila) was with President Kenyatta in Mombasa when the Head of State unveiled the Covid-19 containment protocols. He (Odinga) is now the first person to break the rules,” said Malala.

The former prime minister is on a two-day tour of Western Kenya and is expected to hold consultative meetings with area leaders.

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