Raila opens several battlefronts to push Kenya Kwanza into yielding

And in all the battlefronts, Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Coalition has assembled its best brains to push through results even as Raila also reintegrates back his key think tanks who have been instrumental to his political success over the years.

This has left Kenya Kwanza scrambling to put off flames of mass protests, save the Finance Act, 2023 from the judge's hammer in courts, rescue the process of selection of new IEBC commissioners, appease the hustlers and also counter Raila's growing influence through protests.

In the new strategy, the ODM leader appears keen to weaponise the Hustler narrative that propelled Ruto to power by convincing the masses that Kenya Kwanza is working against hustlers by raising the cost of living.

Some analysts believe Raila's moves can sink the country into anarchy as he intensifies his quest to win the hustlers who did not vote for him from Kenya Kwanza with his push against the high cost of living, which has been made worse by the additional 8 per cent fuel levy.

According to analyst Barrack Muluka, Raila's strategy is to be disruptive and not to allow Ruto any room to implement what he promised the country. Muluka believes it may not be easy for Raila to remove the government from power even as he threatens to collect 10 million signatures to initiate a process of impeaching President Ruto.

Corridors of justice

"He is like the boxer who enters the ring and when you think there is room for warmup, he starts throwing very fierce disruptive blows. Kenya Kwanza must know that they are contending against a disruptive adversary, one who is not interested in their successes," says Muluka.

Azimio la Umoja supporters protest along the streets of Kisumu during Saba Saba demonstrations on July 7, 2023. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Not even the hail of bullets and teargas he claimed was targeted at his car to eliminate him has wounded his spirit as he plans to lead his troops again for another round of mass protests on Wednesday.

Raila's political frontlines has been emboldened by the dedication of nearly all-his key allies and principals in Azimio who have not faltered and shelved their support for the coalition's course.

Insiders claim the Azimio principals including Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, alongside several opposition leaders have fought off attempts by Kenya Kwanza to lure them to abandon Raila and weaken the opposition.

In ODM, Raila has also lured back his key think tanks including Siaya Governor James Orengo and has also convinced ODM chairman John Mbadi to shelve his plans to quit his position as the chairman.

Orengo is among Raila's allies who were missing in Raila's campaigns last year as he focused on his own campaigns for Siaya. Mbadi too, was missing in most of Raila's national campaigns as Azimio reconstituted its election's campaign team to consider key parties of the coalition.

On Saturday, Mbadi told Sunday Standard that he is steadfast in Raila's course and believes their push to transform the lives of Kenyans is on course.

"We have a lot of wars to fight. One thing is that I can never abandon my party leader when there is a political war to fight," said Mbadi, adding that he is on a mission to revamp ODM as the party chairman.

On Friday, Raila's political strategies appeared to have caught Kenya Kwanza administration flatfooted after he managed to lead a magnitude of his followers to mass protests.

The change of strategy by Raila and his troops appears to have rejuvenated his support bases and lured more people to join his push for civil disobedienvce.

For the first time in several months, even his support bases that have not been participating in protests joined the fray in Mombasa, Kisii and parts of Western.

Azimio Leader Raila Odinga's convoy and supporters sneaks in Nairobi CBD as police spray with water during their Saba Saba rally on July 7, 2023. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

In a change of strategy, the Azimio leader has devolved the protests with all the leaders of the coalition now tasked with leading protests in their backyard.

The mass protests that has been his masterstroke for several regimes has taken a new twist with Raila's fold devolving the protests among all leaders of the coalition to maximize results.

Unlike the past where the ODM leader embraced major rallies in Nairobi with all his close allies, goal posts have changed and now all leaders have been tasked with leading protests in their own backyards.

According to Mbadi, their strategy is going to work and claimed it is people-based strategy.

"You cannot stop people's power. You can't suppress people's power. It will shift the goals," said Mbadi.

According to Mbadi, although the opposition has lost some of its members to Kenya Kwanza, expecially in Nyanza, most of their members in other areas where they enjoy support is still intact.

Principled leader

Mbadi argues that Raila has been steadfast with his goal for the people and is a principled leader.

"Raila is a principled leader and what he has stood for all along is what he fights for. He is a predictable leader which is good. Leaders have always been unpredictable but Raila has been a consistent leader. He never abandons the masses at their hour of need," says Mbadi.

In Kisii and Mombasa, the change of strategy saw hundreds of opposition suppoters turn up in the streets to participate in the protests. In Kisii, the protests were sponteneous.

ODM National Treasurer Timothy Bosire claimed Kenyans understands their rights and are willing to demonstrate for them.

"This is their way of asking for some things from the Government; not necessarily from President William Ruto's regime but any other Government. The message is simple, Kenyans are aware of their rights."

Raila appears to have rejuvinated his traditional support bases.

Yesterday, his allies in Nyamira claimed that the Azimio MPs in the region should be punished for failing to turn up for the protests and had failed the coalition.

They were Nominated Members of the Nyamira County Assembly Jane Nyakundi and Asenath Atunga; Orange Democratic Movement Party County Youth Coordinator Dennis Marube and the Nyamira County Party Secretary Charles Sagwe.