Raila in a meeting with presidential hopeful Kituyi, skips Prayer Breakfast

ODM leader Raila Odinga at Cleopatra grounds in Malindi, Kilifi County on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga today skipped the National prayer breakfast attended by his handshake partner President Uhuru Kenyatta, and instead met with presidential hopeful Mukhisa Kituyi.

Raila was hosted by Dr Kituyi, who plans to contest the presidency next year.

This meeting was not the first time the ODM leader was engaging Kituyi amid the Uhuru succession.

In February, Raila met Kituyi and Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana – another presidential aspirant – at his Capitol Hill office, in Nairobi. Raila allies have also met Kituyi, triggering speculations over their political game plan.

The former premier’s engagement with the former minister has intensified after his political allies from Western Kenya – Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford-Kenya’s Moses Wetangúla severed links with him.

Raila’s decision to scout for new partners is linked to the sustained push by three of his Nasa allies – Mudavadi, Wetang'ula and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka – that the former premier backs one of them. The trio are now part of the One Kenya Alliance after joining hands with Kanu boss and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi.

The meeting came after Kituyi concluded his five-day political tour of the Coast region, where he sold his candidature in Matuga and Msambweni in Kwale, Likoni, Kisauni, Jomvu and Changamwe in Mombasa and Kilifi South in Kilifi County.

Dr Kituyi campaigned under mango trees while seated on logs, in small eateries or classrooms explaining how he would fix the economy like former president Mwai Kibaki did; fighting corruption and limiting borrowing.

At the same time, the President will meet Luo MPs at State House Nairobi today, ahead of his tour of the lake city with Raila. The meeting is part of stock taking by the leaders on projects Uhuru pledged to the region after his handshake with Raila.

The lawmakers on Wednesday evening met in Nairobi to assess implementation status of the projects. ODM chairman John Mbadi yesterday said the region had a memorandum with Uhuru when he visited the region for the first time after the handshake. [Moses Nyamori]

“We are just going to revisit these projects, thank him for the ones that are ongoing and some which facing challenges we press upon him to have the government push,” said Mbadi.

He listed Kisumu Port and the blue economy as some of the projects promised. “There is the lake transport which we want the government to get us some ferries which are lying idle in Kwale so that they can be used to connect Mbita and Mfangamano,” said Mbadi.

He said Mamboleo-Muhoroni road has since been awarded and they will be pushing to have the budget made available. The lawmakers are also seeking the way forward for Koru-Soin multipurpose dam, which is facing a tender court battle. “We are going to discuss with him Sori/Mbita Road, Lichocha airstrip in Migori, Homa Bay airstrip, Sony Sugar which has resumed crushing, we want to request allocation for that factory to put it back to normal operations,” he added.