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Uhuru visit promises Nyanza, Central bond

By - | September 18th 2012

By Kepher Otieno

Presidential aspirant Uhuru Kenyatta’s historic visit to Nyanza could open a new window for power sharing deals between the Luo and the Kikuyu.

Multiple sources told The County Weekly that Uhuru and his team were excited by the warm reception they received from the region, home to his erstwhile political opponent Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

“With what I saw in Nyanza, it is evident that things have changed greatly and anything, including possible power sharing deals between Uhuru and Raila is now possible,” said an ODM MP who asked not to be named.

He added, “I ensued Uhuru’s visit very keenly. I saw him very excited by the unexpected warm reception. I think we should follow up this with proposals for an alliance with him.”

The MP said Uhuru’s visit helped to thaw his sour relationship with the Luo community who viewed him as the biggest stumbling block to Odinga’s bid for the presidency.

Interestingly, two days later, Raila flew to Uhuru’s backyard in Kangema where he welcomed the deputy PM’s promise to back him if he won the seat.

Last week, our sister publication, The Standard on Sunday, reported that aides to Odinga, Uhuru and Eldoret North MP William Ruto, were quoted saying that they had made proposals for possible alliances a head of the General Elections.

Praises supporters

It said the party had tasked Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang’ and Finance Assistant Minister Oburu Oginga with the task of approaching Ruto and Uhuru over the alliances.

They recalled Jaramogi’s fight  for the release of the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta from unlawful detention, and accepting that he becomes the first President, saying he showed generosity.

A cross-section of Luo leaders said they cannot rule out a TNA-ODM alliance.

“The Luos and the Kikuyus started working together since independence when the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga sacrificed his presidential ambition for Mzee Jomo Kenyatta,” says Jotham Ajiki, a member of the Luo Council of Elders.

He says Uhuru should reciprocate by supporting Raila.

Homa bay County ODM official, Aguko Jamumbo praised  the party’s supporters for according Uhuru  a warm welcome.

Last week, it was evident, ODM supporters no longer harbour ill-will against Uhuru who on many occasions have publicly blamed Raila for his  woes at the International Criminal Court  where he, Ruto, former head of Public Service Francis Muthaura and radio journalists Joshua Sang are facing charges against humanity.

Heroic welcome

 It was the first time Uhuru was visiting Luo Nyanza after along time and many feared he would run into a storm.

Evidently, excited by the heroic welcome he received Uhuru said “I assure Kenyans that I do not have bad blood with Raila. If he beats me in the race, I will support his presidency. And if I beat him, I will ask him to support me too,” he remarked.

He was warmly received by thousands of youth who jammed the streets of Kisumu, Ahero, Katito, and Kasipul-Kabondo.

Uhuru was impressed by the reception and used the occasion to denounce politics of hatred and smear campaigns.

 ‘’What is important in this country today is unity that goes beyond our ethnic, political and social links,” Uhuru said.

He promised to return to Kisumu soon to eat fish with the residents.

 ‘’What I have seen is amazing. I want to thank the people of Kisumu and ask you to allow me come back another day for a special rally, will you accept?” he posed as the crowd nodded.

Although his team is now basking in glory for having organised the trip whose huge success has shocked many, they admit it was no mean task.

The County Weekly has learnt that it took weeks to convince Uhuru to agree to visit Nyanza because some of his  advisers were not very certain with the kind of reception he would receive, given his past public spats with Odinga.

It took several days of lobbying, massive expenditure and discreet security arrangements to ensure the success of the meeting.

Hundreds of people, some dressed in TNA T-shirts turned out to meet Uhuru and his team.

Impromptu rallies

He addressed a peaceful rally in Kisumu where the usually rowdy youths, who had once stoned another Presidential candidate Raphael Tuju, patiently listened to him. There were claims money had changed hands but this could not be independently confirmed.

Earlier on his way to Oyugis town, Uhuru  who was accompanied by two cabinet ministers Jamleck Kamau and Dr Naomi Shaaban, MPs Ferdinand Waititu, Kareke Mbiuki and TNA Secretary General Onyango Oloo, addressed impromptu rallies at Othoro, Misambi, Kadongo, Ringa, and Mikai market centres and also Homa bay county.

Uhuru had to step out of his car at Nyadendi and walk upto Oyugis Town centre as hundreds of youths sang  in his praise.

He opened a TNA office in  Homa Bay County  to serve the party’s supporters in the region before leaving for Ndhiwa constituency.

While in Ndhiwa, Uhuru also campaigned for his party’s candidate in the Parliamentary by-election, Ms Rosemary Rumo.

Colossal amounts

The TNA’s secretary General Onyango Oloo, said it was tedious to prevail upon his party leader to visit Nyanza.

Contrary to fears that Uhuru would be heckled and jeered, the campaigns were without any incident, but it came with costs. Organisers are said to have used colossal amounts of money to prepare the ground.

Organisers Oloo, advocate Ambrose Weda, John Oloo, James Otana, Juma Abiola, Albert Oduor, Hesbon Omollo, Tito Onduu, Argwings Kodhek, Gordon Oluoch, said they did a lot to succeed.

‘’A week before Uhuru came, we were on the ground planning how will come in and listen to people’s reaction and perception about him,’’ recalls Omollo, Kisumu TNA coordinator.

Together with Ondu, Oloo and Abiola, they traversed the famous Bunge la wananchi spots in Kondele, within the town centres, Manyatta, Obunga, Nyalenda, Tivoli, and talked to the youth.

‘’It was not easy. Some were hostile while some were sober. But they demanded that Uhuru comes in person to address them, we therefore had to make sure we bring him,’’ recalls Oloo.

Proposed names

At Uhuru’s first stop over at the Kisumu’s  Juakali sheds , Oloo who was first to speak quickly stated, in local dialect, ‘’Jothurwa donge Akele,’’ (Have I not brought him?)

 ‘’We told Uhuru to make sure that our people be appointed to replace senior servants who have joined politics ,’’ said Omollo.

The County Weekly, learnt that the team had proposed several names to Uhuru, including that of Weda who may forfeit Kisumu Governor race for a PS seat, if their plans with TNA, works out.

The organisers also worked very closely, with the security agents and the intelligence teams who trailed their crowds and advise from time to time.

 Nyanza PPO Joseph Oletito said all Presidential aspirants will be accorded maximum security.

Political scientists, Wilson Agenya and Tom Mboya of Maseno University, hailed the behaviour of the people in Kisumu as decent, democratic and echoed civilised political culture. ‘


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