You are here  » Home   » Kenya

Raila Odinga holds secret talks with Tharaka Nithi MCAs

By Rawlings Otieno | Published Tue, December 27th 2016 at 00:00, Updated December 26th 2016 at 20:19 GMT +3
CORD leader Raila Odinga at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga at Nyamira ACK church in Bondo Siaya county on Christmas day. PIC BY COLLINS ODUOR

Opposition chief Raila Odinga over the weekend met some members of the county assembly from the vote-rich Tharaka Nithi County.

The MCAs reportedly met Raila at an undisclosed location and planned how to seal a deal with the Opposition leader on the 2017 elections.

Although details of the meeting remained closely guarded, some of the leaders in attendance disclosed that they met on personal grounds.

Those who spoke to The Standard declined to confirm or deny meeting the CORD leader, only saying that he (Raila) was a Kenyan and could meet anybody, and not just for political reasons.

The meeting comes barely a month after another Opposition leader and National Super Alliance (Nasa) proponent, Musalia Mudavadi, toured the county perceived to be one of Jubilee's strongholds in the wider Meru region.

Mukothima MCA Mwenda Gataya said Tharaka Nithi had always been known to be a stronghold of voters but no development had taken place since independence.

Avoid fake news! Subscribe to the Standard SMS service and receive factual, verified breaking news as it happens. Text the word 'NEWS' to 22840

The MCA said the region had supported their Mt Kenya counterparts, including founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and now his son, President Uhuru Kenyatta, but nothing had been forthcoming.

"Tharaka has been a stronghold for decades but when you visit there is absolutely no development. When it rains you will be stuck in your house for one week," said Mr Gataya.

He said when Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto visited the county next, they should have answers to why Tharaka Nithi remained undeveloped yet they had voted for Jubilee almost to a man as witnessed in 2013.

Raila has been keen to get substantial votes from Jubilee strongholds, especially counties that have been sidelined in development matters like Tharaka Nithi.

Gataya said there was an elaborate plan to convert Tharaka Nithi into an Opposition stronghold in 2017.

"When the President makes appointments, Tharaka has never received anything. No principal secretaries, ambassadors, Cabinet secretaries or even a board chairman. We don't want this issue of just being called 'stronghold of voters' with little development," he said.

According to Gataya, Jubilee will have to work harder to regain the support of Tharaka Nithi residents who feel that the Jubilee administration is more kind and charitable towards regions that did not vote for them and has ignored their region.

"If I am to speak on behalf of Tharaka, because, I am an elected leader, I can say for a fact that the people of Tharaka are not very happy. We must speak for our people who have been sidelined for a long time by a government they supported in totality during elections," said Gataya.