Raila’s grand march to State House begins

ODM Party leader Raila Odinga (centre) with governors Ali Hassan Joho of Mombasa (right) and Samuel Dhadho Godhana of Tana River during the party's delegates meeting at Wildwaters in Mombasa. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga’s tour of the Coast region last weekend has sent a signal to his political rivals that his grand march to State House in 2022 has now begun.

Raila, who won the hearts of some influential politicians during the tour, hinted that it was just the beginning of many surprises to be witnessed in the country.  

He exuded confidence that the train had left the station and was heading to its final destination. “I have already talked to Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya, who has agreed to board the train to the State House,” said Raila.

He spoke after his presidential bid was endorsed by five Coast governors following the Saturday meeting with more than 600 delegates from the region at Wild Waters Centre.

The governors are Hassan Joho of Mombasa, Fahim Twaha (Lamu), Granton Samboja (Taita Taveta), Dhadho Godhana (Tana River), and Mr Mvurya.

Raila noted that Mvurya did not come to the meeting because he was attending a funeral in his county. “Mvurya confirmed to me that he is with me in the grand march to the Statehouse,” Raila said.

Twaha, who joined Raila during a roadshow in Kisauni on Saturday after a five-hour delegates’ meeting, also had dinner with the former premier.

Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, who hosted the delegates, explained that Raila’s past record had made Coast people have faith in his leadership.

“Coast people have faith in Raila because he has respect for them and has stood with them during good and bad times,” said Mr Nassir.

Ganze MP Teddy Mwambire, who has been spearheading Raila’s campaign in Kilifi County, said the train to State House was unstoppable. “We have confidence in Raila’s leadership because he has proved that he has love for Coast people,” said Mr Mwambire.

ODM leader Raila Odinga speaks to party delegates at Wildwaters, Mombasa. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Mwambire said Coast leaders who were on the opposing side had changed hearts because they felt more secure with Raila’s presidency.

The MP credited Raila with several appointments made for Coast people when he was in a power-sharing government with retired President Mwai Kibaki.

He noted that Raila ensured the appointment of former National Land Commission (NLC) chairperson Muhamad Swazuri. “Even the gains we have achieved during the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga are enormous,” said Mwambire.

The legislator added that local leaders were trooping to Raila because of what he had demonstrated to the region.

“If Raila made sure Coast people got appointments when he had limited power, what would happen if he becomes president,” posed the Kilifi ODM chairperson.

Mwambire said Raila could be identified with many things he fought for in land reforms and expansion of democratic space in the region.

“We have a bigger democratic space in Kenya because of Raila. What can others be identified with in this country? Raila fought the battles we can identify him with and that is why we know he cannot betray us,” said Mwambire.

Others who have joined Raila are Garsen MP Ali Wario Guyo of Wiper, Mombasa politician Suleiman Shahbal and Chief Administrative Secretary and former Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung’aro.