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Raila Odinga moves to consolidate his support at Coast with mega rally

COAST
By Bernard Sanga | May 14th 2022 | 4 min read
By Bernard Sanga | May 14th 2022
COAST

 

ODM leader, Raila Odinga addresses his supporters during a political rally at Msambweni in Kwale County. 13th May 2022. [Omondi Onyango,Standard]

 

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition presidential nominee Raila Odinga will today move to consolidate his support base in Mombasa, amid mounting sibling rivalry between ODM and Wiper leaders at the Coast, defections and an onslaught from a rejuvenated Kenya Kwanza Alliance.

Yesterday, ODM leaders led by Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, who is the party’s candidate for Mombasa governor seat, said Raila would today make a major declaration to galvanise voters in the region. The ODM rally will be held at Mkomani in Nyali constituency.

Raila is visiting Mombasa at a time rivalry between Wiper and ODM has escalated following the entry of former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko into the race to succeed Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho. Yesterday, Raila held a lengthy meeting in Kwale with ODM aspirants.

Speaking later at a political rally held at Sawa Sawa Grounds in Msambweni, Kwale County, Raila pledged to resolve historical land injustices at the Coast and speed up resettlement of squatters.

Raila said it was unfortunate that hundreds of Coast residents still face the threat of eviction from their ancestral land and promised to end the problem of landlessness if elected in the August 9, General Election.

“I will put in place a programme to make sure that the squatter problem is a thing of the past,” he said .

The ODM leader was responding to complaints from local leaders who said hundreds of Coast people were living in fear of evictions. Raila also said he would fastrack construction of Shimoni Fishing Port in Kwale.

He said the project was mooted by him and former President Mwaki Kibaki to create jobs for the youth and women.

In Taita Taveta, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka yesterday campaigned for the party’s candidate for the governor seat, former senator Dan Mwazo. Kalonzo has vowed to wrestle the 1.8 million votes at the Coast from Raila.

Last week, Kalonzo “returned” Sonko to Mombasa to vie for the governor post and vowed that Wiper would make sure it wins many elective seats at the Coast to “end ODM dominance in the region”.

Yesterday Sonko played down fears that the wars in Azimio in Mombasa could dampen Raila’s tour. He said as a presidential candidate of the coalition that brings together Wiper, ODM, Jubilee and other parties, Raila should transcend local politics. 

“It is an Azimio rally and all his supporters should come out to show him support,” Sonko said about today’s event in a social media post. He did not indicate if he would attend the rally where Raila is expected to campaign for Nassir to succeed Joho.

Nassir said Raila would make a major declaration during today’s rally. He said all officials and aspirants of parties in Azimio had been invited. “Others have, however, sent apologies,” said Nassir, dismissing claims that ODM leaders had not involved other parties.

Sidelined

ODM Mombasa branch chairman Mohamed Ahmed Khamis said claims that ODM had sidelined other parties in Azimio in the planning of the rally were untrue. He said Kanu and Jubilee officials were involved but refused to state whether Wiper officials were invited.

Meanwhile, a section of ODM supporters led by Selina Maitha-Lewa, who was last month appointed governor running mate by businessman Suleiman Shahbal, defected to Deputy President William Ruto-led United Democratic Alliance. Shahbal stepped down for Nassir in the contest for ODM ticket.

Shahbal said that Ms Lewa’s “personal decision” does not reflect his position and that of his supporters and maintained that majority of Mombasa residents were firmly behind Azimio la Umoja and Raila.

In Kilifi, Governor Amason Kingi, who led his Pamoja Africa Alliance (PAA) from the Azimio to Kenya Kwanza yesterday hit back at Raila, accusing him of betraying Coast residents who have supported him since 2007.

Kingi told PAA delegates at Karisa Maitha Grounds that the August 9 poll would be the end of Raila’s political life. He laughed off Raila’s claim that he was the one who appointed him minister in the Grand Coalition government.

“Mzee (Raila) you betrayed us and we are waiting for you on August 9 to teach you a lesson. It was not a favour for me to be a minister in the Grand Coalition government but it was because we earned it by voting for you,” he said.

He urged the ODM leader to pave way for new blood.

“We know you have sacrificed a lot for the country’s political space but time has come for you to hand over the baton or we take it by force,” said Kingi, who is serving his last term as governor.

On Thursday, Raila held several rallies in Kilifi where he criticised Kingi for decamping to Kenya Kwanza Alliance, terming the move a betrayal. He called on voters in Kilifi to reject PAA, saying it had nothing to offer.

Yesterday Jubilee leaders in Mombasa led by Francis Kamau said Raila should rein on his team to stop undermining other aspirants from other parties in Azimio. “Sonko should be allowed to vie and allow the voters decide,”said Kamau. 

[Additional reporting by Nehemiah Okwembah and Patrick Beja]

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