CORD leaders meet governors to lay 2017 campaign strategies

FROM LEFT: CORD leaders James Orengo, Kalonzo Musyoka and Raila Odinga arrive at a Kisumu hotel for a closed-door meeting yesterday. [Photo: COLLINS ODUOR/Standard]

CORD principals yesterday held a closed-door meeting at a Kisumu hotel with governors to strategise on the registration of new voters.

The conference at Kisumu’s Acacia Hotel is the first since governors were assigned a critical role by CORD in the voter registration exercise, which officially begins today across the country.

Sources at the meeting said CORD leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula had one message:

“This is a rallying call to all governors and their deputies. Please champion voter registration, take full charge of devolved functions and push the CORD agenda for us to emerge victorious at the polls.”

The closed-door meeting was called to order at exactly 3pm as electoral and political consultants gave expert presentations on what CORD needs to do and the pitfalls to avoid ahead of the August 2017 General Election.

During yesterday’s session, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Kisii Governor James Ongwae, Nairobi Deputy Governor Jonathan Mueke and Kitui Governor Julius Malombe chaired plenary discussions.

The meeting was attended by governors Cornel Rasanga (Siaya), Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay), John Nyangarama (Nyamira), Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia) and Jack Ranguma (Kisumu).

Deputy govenors in attendance were Ouma Onyango (Siaya), Hamilton Orata (Homa Bay),  Dan Maangi (Kisii) and Ruth Odinga (Kisumu).

Voter Patterns

The Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa CEO Felix Odhiambo took the team through civic education and technical presentations on voter patterns and behaviour. His topic was entitled ‘Strengthening the Governance Function and Executive Role in Counties’.

Today, Consultant and writer David Ndii is expected to paint a picture of the political climate in Kenya in a presentation dubbed State of the Nation. It is this paper that is expected to showcase CORD’s strengths and easy targets of the ruling coalition as it mobilises support for the General Election.

The meeting excluded MPs from both the National Assembly and the Senate, as only Siaya Senator James Orengo was present to explain legal hurdles, which governors may have raised. Others argued the decision was to keep off a section of senators who are eyeing gubernatorial seats.

Earlier, the governors met CORD leaders at Raila’s Kisumu home for debriefing before going into conference as colleagues from far-flung counties streamed in.

The first session was full of technocrat stuff, which exposed weaknesses CORD needed to take advantage of as it prepares the ground for the General Election.

Raila encouraged governors to support voter registration and mobilisation and blend it by pushing CORD’s agenda and taking advantage of Jubilees soft targets.

“We are here for a strategy meeting. We cannot talk to the media now. We will give a comprehensive address at 9.30am tomorrow (today),” Raila said before going into the session with the governors.

But even as the CORD leader was in the closed-door, no-phone meeting, his aides kept briefing him on the progress of his favourite English Premier league team Arsenal playing against Leicester at Emirates Stadium in North London.

This was the first formal meeting since Raila and CORD decided to use governors as critical pillars in the strategy for hunting votes and was timed to allow governors to leave early today to kick-start the voter listing exercise started by the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission.

The conference continues today before CORD principals make their presentations on what role the governors can play differently in the political arena.