Raila Odinga embarks on Coast tour to stem Jubilee Party tide

ODM leader Raila Odinga's daughter Rosemary (left) and Mbita MP Milly Odhiambo during a rally in Huruma, Nairobi, on Sunday. Raila today begins a four-day tour of Taita Taveta and Kwale counties in an attempt to counter the Jubilee tide in the region. (PHOTO: ELVIS OGINA/ STANDARD)

ODM leader Raila Odinga today starts a four-day tour of Taita Taveta and Kwale counties on the back of defections by seven party leaders. Raila’s tour is seen as a re- sponse to the ruling coalition’s forays into the region that have
seen six Opposition MPs and a governor join Jubilee Party.

ODM lost Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya and MPs Gideon Mung’aro, Mustafa Iddi, Masoud Mwahima, Zainab Chidzuga, Peter Shehe and Khatib Mwashetani. ODM leader Raila Odinga today begins a four-day tour of Taita Taveta and Kwale counties in an attempt to counter the Jubilee tide in the region.

Raila's third tour of Coast region in a month comes in the wake of major defections by ODM leaders to the ruling coalition.

He will hold a series of rallies in what is being seen as an attempt to stamp his authority in the region that has traditionally supported him.

ODM lost Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya to the newly-formed Jubilee Party. MPs Gideon Mung'aro (Kilifi North), Mustafa Iddi (Kilifi South), Masoud Mwahima (Likoni) and Kwale Woman Representative Zainab Chidzuga have also ditched the Orange party to join Jubilee Party.

The MPs were present at the launch of the party on whose ticket President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto will seek re-election.

Last week, Mr Mung'aro formally announced he would contest the Kilifi governor's seat on a Jubilee Party ticket if he wins the nominations. The seat is currently held by ODM's Amason Kingi.

Speaking at his Dabaso home in Watamu last Thursday, Mung'aro said Jubilee had a strong footing in Coast region, citing Mvurya's defection to the ruling coalition.

Popularise Jubilee

He declared he would "storm" Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho's backyard to popularise Jubilee and weaken ODM. 

Mung'aro said he defected to Jubilee to be close to power and State resources for the benefit of Coast region residents.

In what is seen as his strategy to counter the Jubilee tide and fight off the perception that the ruling coalition was raiding his turf, Raila, who has just returned from a four-day tour of Germany, will pitch tent at the coast until Saturday.

"Mr Odinga will begin his tour in Taita Taveta, where he is set to hold a series of meetings with ODM and community grassroots leaders in Oloitokitok, Taveta, Wundanyi, Mwatate and Voi between Tuesday and Thursday," said Dennis Onyango, Raila's communication director, in a statement yesterday.

He will wind up the tourin Kwale County on Friday after meeting ODM and community leaders, including religious leaders in Ukunda and Kwale Town.

Raila was in Coast region on September 10 when he presided over ODM's 10th anniversary at Mama Ngina Drive in Mombasa, where he addressed thousands of supporters on the same day Uhuru and Ruto were launching the new Jubilee Party at Kasarani in Nairobi.

Early this month, the President toured Kwale, Mombasa and Tana River counties to drum up support for Jubilee Party. He also launched several development projects including Mombasa Port's second container terminal, the refurbished Kongowea market, medical equipment worth Sh800 million in Kwale and several roads in Kilifi.