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ODM warns against politicising President Uhuru’s Western visit

By Nathan Ochunge | August 3rd 2021
ODM party leader Raila Odinga with Vihiga County Governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo and his Deputy Patrick Saisi during Saisi's wife Ashura Bakari at Cheptulu in Vihiga on August 1, 2021. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has warned a section of politicians from the Western region against politicising President Uhuru Kenyatta’s planned tour of the region.

The party has also put on notice some Amani National Congress (ANC) and Ford-Kenya leaders opposed to the idea of its leader Raila Odinga accompanying Uhuru in the tour slated for this weekend. Speaking at Kakamega Golf Hotel yesterday, ODM leaders, including Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito, argued that Raila, as the President’s handshake partner, must be part of the Head of States entourage.

“It’s saddening to note that a few individuals in ANC and Ford-Kenya, who are in fact the minority, want to politicise the President’s visit in guise of stopping Raila from accompanying the former. Those bickering are minute groups of leaders who are less popular,” said Mr Kizito.

“Raila is the Western region’s political kingpin and no one can stop him from visiting his bedroom. You can’t dictate to the President who to come with and you cannot zone western Kenya from other leaders,” he added.

Kizito claimed some ANC MPs planned to heckle some leaders during the visit and warned that such acts would not be tolerated “as we shall invite the law to take its course.”

The legislator claimed they had reports of some meetings held at night to incite locals to heckle some leaders. “Raila will accompany the President during the visit and no one will stop him from speaking. We urge the police to apprehend those leaders out to cause scenes and arraign them,” said Joel Ongoro, the Kakamega County Assembly Majority.

Governor Wycliffe Oparanya’s Chief of Staff Nabii Nabwera said the President would be on a development tour, and that Raila must accompany him since the visit was part of the handshake deal.

Mr Nabwera said during the visit, Uhuru would bring money for the completion of Bukhungu Stadium and the new Kakamega County Teaching and Referral Hospital and commission the construction of a gold refinery plant.

Earlier, political leaders from the region claimed to have been sidelined in the planned tour after Uhuru met governors from the region at Mombasa State Lodge moments before he jetted out to the United Kingdom.

In attendance were governors Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Wilber Ottichilo (Vihiga), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma), Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia) and Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia).

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