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ODM won’t form coalition with Nyanza parties

ODM leader Raila Odinga. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

ODM has ruled out the possibility of getting into a coalition with other parties in Nyanza.

The move sets the ground for a return of the push for the ‘six-piece’ voting pattern that ODM advanced in its strongholds in past polls to ensure its dominance.

The party is keen to lockout outfits from its Nyanza stronghold but is keen on building alliances in other parts of the country where it is in talks with other parties.

ODM Director of Political Affairs Opiyo Wandayi said the party would not enter into a coalition with small parties in the region. Instead, the Orange party wants those outfits to join it.

Wandayi said aspirants were free to join ODM and compete for its ticket and help strengthen party leader Raila Odinga’s grassroots support as he seeks the presidency.

“There is no day ODM will get into a coalition with any small party at the grassroots in Nyanza. If these aspirants refuse to return to ODM to compete fairly, then they must be ready for defeat in the next election,” he said.

In other parts of the country, however, the Orange party has adopted a different strategy and has prioritised coalitions with others to help deliver a Raila presidency.

ODM appears determined to convince Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula, whose party has scooped parliamentary seats in Nyanza in the past, to back Raila. The Orange party officials from branches had earlier cited ANC’s influence as one of the factors that was hurting Raila campaigns in the region.

ODM Western campaign team coordinator Nabii Nabwera said Raila would meet more than 2,000 youths from Trans Nzoia, Vihiga, Busia, Kakamega and Bungoma counties during his planned tour of Western soon.

“He will also receive defectors from other parties, including elected leaders who are ready to join ODM,” said Mr Nabwera.

Questions, however, remain as to whether the push to lock out small parties in Nyanza will bear any fruit after some officials vowed they will not fold them and that they will not be pushed away from supporting Raila’s bid.

They said the decision not to have a pact with ODM is driven by selfish interests by Raila allies who fear being voted out in the next General Election. Former Ndhiwa MP Augustino Neto of the United Green Movement and Booker Omole of the Communist Party of Kenya faulted attempts to lock out small parties.

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