By Felix Olick

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has moved to dispel fears that he has lost one of his key allies in Nairobi and in the central Kenyan region, Bishop Margret Wanjiru. Raila maintained that the Housing Assistant Minister, who is also the Starehe MP, is in ODM to stay, dismissing rumours that she was on her way out of the Orange party. The PM said he has met the Starehe legislator and she confirmed she was still firmly behind him in the 2013 presidential contest.

“Bishop Margret Wanjiru ako ndani ya chungwa. Hakuna mahali anakwenda. Alikuja kwangu akanihakikishia kuwa yeye ako ndani ya ODM,” (Bishop Margret Wanjiru is in the Orange Party.

Tight-lipped on Shebesh

There is nowhere she is going. She came to me and confirmed she is firmly in ODM) said Raila amid jubilations by ODM Nairobi delegates. However, the PM remained tight-lipped on whether nominated MP Rachael Shebesh had abandoned him for his rival in the presidential race, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta. There have been speculations that the Starehe lawmaker and Shebesh were readying themselves to decamp from ODM to join Uhuru’s party, The National Alliance. Addressing delegates at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on Friday, Raila also moved to calm fears of favouritism in party nominations.

Raila said that no one would be imposed on voters through direct nominations, warning that Kenyans risk revenging against the party by voting for rival candidates. “Forcing the party to give you direct nominations may make the party lose that position in the long run. Voters may decide to revenge at the ballot,” cautioned the ODM party leader.

He asked all aspirants battling it out for the ODM party ticket to respect nomination regulations and procedures that would soon be laid down by the National Elections Board. Raila said that the new board led by Col (rt) Muthee Kathurima has a national outlook and would conduct nominations that are above board. Nairobi Mayor George Aladwa claimed that a section of MPs in a rival political party had been given money to lure ODM leaders in Nairobi to decamp.

Aladwa, who is also the ODM Nairobi County Chairman, insisted that if the polls were called today, Raila would win.

“Even if we wake up early today, I can assure you Raila would beat Uhuru Kenyatta of TNA hands down,” noted the mayor.  Former Molo MP Njenga Mungai, who accompanied the PM, dismissed other contestants in the presidential race saying only Raila would bring meaningful change to Kenyans.