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Raila plans future of ODM, hints at working with One Kenya team

POLITICS
By Brian Kisanji | August 2nd 2021

ODM party leader Raila Odinga and Vihiga county Governor Wilber Ottichilo during burial service of Vihiga Deputy Governors wife Ashura Bakari at Cheptulu in Vihiga county.[Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The political paths of former National Super Alliance (NASA) co-principals may cross yet again as the country heads to next year’s general election. In what could be the strongest indicator yet,  Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga yesterday hinted at working with his three erstwhile political partners, Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) and Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya).

Musalia, Kalonzo and Wetang’ula are part of the newly formed One Kenya Alliance (OKA) that also includes Kanu chairman and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi.

Speaking at the burial of Ashura Bakari, wife of Vihiga Deputy Governor Patrick Saisi in Cheptulu, Vihiga County, Raila said he is willing to engage his former co-principals.

The former Prime Minister said he had called for an ODM delegates meeting that would make a decision on which coalition to join. He added that ODM was scheduled to have regional delegates meetings across the country after which he will make his political statement on whether to join OKA or not.“Starting next week, we will embark on countrywide delegates starting with Nyanza, then Western, Coast and other regions and after that we will be ready to engage any coalition including OKA,” Raila told the mourners.

“Our party’s delegates from Nyanza region will meet on Friday. The meeting will involve the youth, women, governor, MCAs and MP after which a decision on which coalition to join will be made,” said Raila.

This could be in a deliberate move to galvanise the Orange party’s traditional strongholds before casting the net wide.

Political parties fund

“After the delegates from Western have passed their declarations we will then head to Coast, Rift Valley, Eastern and Mount Kenya,” said Raila.

Raila was speaking for the first time since Nasa partners announced their exit from the coalition. ANC was the first party to leave last week, followed by Wiper, ODM and Ford-Kenya winding up a coalition assailed by mistrust.

They had been squabbling over share of political parties fund which they accused ODM of withholding.

Last week, ODM in a letter addressed to  the three backed down on its earlier stance and agreed to share the money attributed to parliamentary seats by Nasa partners. However, the parties said the gesture came too late in the day.

According to the letter, Wiper party would receive Sh70 million for 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/2020 financial years while ANC will get Sh43.9 million.

Ford-Kenya will receive Sh36 million while CCM of former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto will receive Sh3 million. ODM will retain 179,838,764 being money attributed to votes from gubernatorial and county assemblies.

Yesterday, Raila indicated that his party would weigh engaging OKA in its quest to look for political partners. Speaking from Mombasa recently, Wiper leader Musyoka invited Odinga to join OKA but on different terms from the ones used in forming NASA.

According to Raila, each county in Nyanza and Western regions will produce 100 delegates for the  meetings.

Raila said he had made inroads in the entire nation even in Mount Kenya and had received immense support.

ODM’s Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna announced that plans are underway to enter into new partnerships by embarking on an aggressive programme.

ANC leaders who accompanied Raila asked the former premier to join OKA and in turn support Mudavadi’s 2022 presidential bid. Sabatia MP and Mudavadi’s ally Alfred Agoi said Raila was welcome to OKA if he was willing to help his partners clinch the presidency.

“Raila, I have heard you are looking for a political formula for 2022. Don’t look further, the formula is ready in the name of One Kenya Alliance. Join and support your friends, including Mudavadi,” said Agoi.

Agoi said if Raila won’t join OKA, then Deputy President and his party, United Democratic Alliance (UDA) will easily win. “If we don’t unite, we will easily lose to William Ruto. Just come out and declare that Mudavadi is well suited to be the president,” said Agoi.

Kakamega Governor and ODM’s deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya said the Luhya community should unite with others.

“We need to talk with neighbours from all sides as the Luhya community. We want to be in the next government and we will go all the way to join a coalition that will benefit us,” said Oparanya.

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