New lobby groups get active roles in Raila and Ruto campaigns

Ida Odinga speaking during the Azimio la Umoja National Convention on December 10, 2021 at the Moi International Sports Complex Kasarani. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Lobby groups have emerged as critical cog in ODM leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto’s campaigns ahead of the August 9 elections.

Today, Ida Odinga will relaunch Sibanduki kwa Raila lobby to rally support for the ODM leader’s presidential bid.

The event in Nairobi will set in motion various activities by the lobby, including campaigning for Raila and mobilising youth to enlist as voters in the ongoing exercise. Ida is the wife to Raila.

Several groups supporting the two perceived front runners in the presidential race have intensified activities.

Young Turks for Handshake Alliance (Yotha) and Warembo na Raila are some of the groups backing the ODM leader’s fifth stab at the presidency.

Yesterday, Raila hosted Warembo na Raila and expressed gratitude for their willingness to back him. “Words cannot express how grateful we are for the willingness of young Kenyans who yearn for change and are volunteering for our cause,” he said.

Ruto has the backing of Wasupa na Ruto, Queens na Ruto, Mbogi ya Hustler Nation and Partners with WsR that operate mostly under United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Youth Congress.

Sibanduki, launched in the run-up to 2013 polls, was crafted to complement Raila’s presidential campaign.

The lobby Secretary General John Njuguna said they would simplify Raila’s agenda for the country. “Sibanduki has deliberately simplified this vision targeting different groups, especially young and new voters, and the rest of Kenyans keen to see better leadership and economic prosperity,” said Mr Njuguna.

Sibanduki’s activities are decentralised and supported through coordinators spread across the country, with representatives in at least 25 counties.

“With the relaunch, Sibanduki, will be spreading tentacles to the grassroots for optimal reach and to ensure its 10-point agenda as expounded in Raila’s vision is understood by all,” he added.

Yotha has been mobilising youth to enlist as voters. The lobby national coordinator is currently seeking to enlist other lobby groups to Azimio La Umoja.

Wasupa na Ruto boasts more than 33,000 members countrywide, according to its chairperson and founder Susan Muthoni.

The lobby group champions women’s, youth and the elderly’s participation in politics to ensure their voice is heard.

Wasupa na Ruto seeks to provide a platform for women to nurture their political and corporate careers, as well as educating the public on leadership and governance.

The lobby has been in the frontline in pushing the public to turn out in large numbers and enlist in the ongoing mass voter registration.

Wasupa na Ruto is also championing recruitment of UDA members. “We also get involved in community projects that aim to lift our members in the grassroots in a bid to get them manage resources better,” said Ms Muthoni.