Governors in Kalonzo Musyoka's turf resolve to embrace Raila Odinga

ODM leader Raila Odinga, with Ukambani governors Kitui’s Charity Ngilu, Machakos' Alfred Mutua and Makueni’s Kivutha Kibwana at a leaders’ meeting Forum in Wote, Makueni County on November 12, 2021. [Emmanuel Wanson, Standard]

Three governors from Ukambani have agreed to conditionally work with ODM leader Raila Odinga in support of his 2022 presidential bid.

During a conference at Wote in Makueni County yesterday, Governors Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni), Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Charity Ngilu (Kitui) said they want pragmatic leadership, for the people to benefit as a community as opposed to individuals.

“We must be pragmatic. Azimio la Umoja is for all leaders to come together. We are not competing against anybody in this region, it’s for everybody, everywhere in this country,” said Kibwana.

The governors said they support Raila’s commitment to address economic challenges facing the region through value addition in agriculture, investment in manufacturing, up scaling of social protection and strengthening devolution.

Kibwana said the three Ukambani governors are the only gatway to the region since their track record is visible and they can be weighed using their scorecards.

He said Ukambani is a marginalised region and anybody who does not support their unity is the reason the South Eastern counties lag behind in development.

“We have sat in several meetings to formulate what is required for our economic bloc. Despite being in the Kenyatta, Moi, Kibaki and Uhuru governments, the region lags behind in development. There are high rates of poverty and unemployment,” said Kibwana.

He added: “Basic essentials like water and food are still a problem for a sizeable part of the population. The youth of this region are unemployed. Women and children still trek long distances looking for water. This is despite past leaders of this community holding many senior positions in government.” 

He revealed the region’s plans to work with Raila and end politics of negative competition among leaders.

Dr Mutua read the Wote declaration and called out Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka for making the region underdeveloped for years claiming he (Kalonzo) has been working in pursuit of his own personal interest at the expense of the people.

“We have deliberated on the unique problems facing our region, including lack of economic opportunities, persistent drought, lack of markets and low prices for agricultural produce, inadequate infrastructure, insecurity, rising poverty levels, boundary disputes and unemployment, among others,” said Mutua.

He added: “We have resolved that we will support Raila as the next president and we unanimously support the agenda of shared prosperity and inclusivity being championed through the Azimio la Umoja.” 

Ngilu accused Deputy President William Ruto for Jubilee government’s failure to deliver on most of its promises.

“I can see a repeat of 2002 where various leaders came together. We don’t want the DP’s piracy leadership. In 2013, we were together with the president and the DP and we made a manifesto for our children to be given laptops. Now, that has failed and the DP is promising our youth and children wheelbarrows. He must know the difference between the two,” Ngilu said.

Ngilu extended an olive branch to Kalonzo, asking him to work with the three governors and join Raila’s team.

“I want to see Kalonzo and Mudavadi, among others, on this same table. We must come together and rally behind Raila Odinga,” she said.

Raila accepted to work with all like-minded leaders from Ukambani for a robust economic revolution with unity being his first priority.

“We can invest in water harvesting to fight perennial droughts. Israel is a desert but it’s the headquarters of agricultural products. We can harvest rain water because rivers such as Tana and Athi pass through this region. We can have enough food production in this region,” said Raila.

Raila also said his plan of making youth resourceful citizens was practical. “If we don’t empower the youth, then they will become criminals but when we empower them, they become resourceful people. We have said about giving Sh6,000 to the unemployed and people think this is propaganda. We have to give people capital to start businesses,” he added.

“Kenyans want to know how to fish and not being given the fish itself. We will seal all corruption loopholes,” said Raila.

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui told Ruto that Mt Kenya was too steep for a wheelbarrow and that they will deliver over three million votes to Raila next year. He said Azimio la Umoja has already brought unity and peace.

“I never thought Mt Kenya region will at one-time support Raila, but this time we are behind him, it’s now happening. We want to support someone who doesn’t ask that small parties be folded, and I also want to tell you that this man (Ruto) can’t put promises after promises,” he said.

Also present were Kisii Governor James Ongwae, former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, MPs Caleb Hamisi (Saboti) and Richard Chonga (Kilifi South) and ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna.

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