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Without Nasa, can Raila still command support in regions?

By Eric Abuga and Nathan Ochunge | August 10th 2021

ODM leader Raila Odinga. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga could be working to prop regional kingpins in Western, Eastern and Rift Valley following the collapse of Nasa.

In the last General Election, Raila received support from Wiper, Amani National Congress (ANC) and Ford Kenya. ODM is crafting a new strategy to boost Raila’s chances to clinch power next year.

In Nyanza, Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyongo, his Kisii counterpart James Ongwae, ODM national treasurer Timothy Bosire, Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga and Suna East MP Junet Mohamed are working on a strategy to solidify the region’s support for Raila.

Mr Bosire said: “We will all play our role to ensure Raila ascends to power. I have supported him for years and will not relent on doing my best to have our party get majority votes.”

“We have a mission. ODM stands for fairness that can be achieved in our democratic space. We are equal to the task. There should be no space to negotiate with someone of questionable personality,” he added.

“The party has demonstrated in the recent by-elections that it has what it takes to win more elective seats,” said Mr Ongwae.

The governor explained that elections are won by crafting a proper strategy and having a united team.

National Assembly minority whip Junet says the party has the best policies to transform the country. “We are not only looking beyond Nyanza and Western regions. We will discuss real issues with our people,” he said.

Suna East MP Junet Mohamed. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Political analyst Dismus Mokua said Raila cannot be wished away. “Many could be in for a political bombshell. He has an impressive grassroots network that one cannot wish away. Besides that, he has an emotional, rational support base that has always stuck with him,” he said.

In Western, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya who is also ODM deputy party leader argues that he has not dropped his presidential bid in favour of Raila.

The county chief, who together with Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa were picked to champion the region’s economic recovery agenda said he has what it takes to run for the top seat amid talks of him planning to support other candidates.

So far, Oparanya has begun to engineer leadership changes in regional ODM structures. 

ODM delegates in Kakamega removed Oparanya’s deputy, Philip Kutima as branch chairman, replacing him with Shinyalu MP Kizito Mugali who has vowed to revamp the outfit.

The governor is Raila’s trusted ally alongside Governor Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia) and Vihiga’s Wilbur Ottichilo.

Oparanya has been meeting delegations of professionals to deliberate succession politics and how to strengthen ODM.

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Over the weekend, he met county Kenya National Union of Teachers members to discuss education and politics.

Prof Frank Matanga of Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology argued that Raila, Mudavadi and others must unite.

He said recent remarks by Mudavadi and Raila on the possibility of working together offers ray of hope for Western and Nyanza.

“It is a good sign to let the political players just work on the unity aspect of the two regions and everything else will fall in place, they have worked before together in CORD and under Nasa,” said Matanga. 

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