Raila hints at Azimio la Umoja zoning areas to bag more seats

ODM leader Raila Odinga (second left) with other Azimio la Umoja leaders during a rally at Tononoka Grounds, Mombasa County. February 20, 2022. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga yesterday said Azimio la Umoja could opt to zone the country to enable each outfit in the coalition to ring-fence its strongholds.

Speaking in Mombasa, Raila also said ODM would delay its primaries until all outfits keen to join the Azimio La Umoja bandwagon have signed a political pact and agreed on how to approach the election.

“We do not want a situation where we compete and divide our votes which will enable the rival party to win the seats. We will have to wait until we have signed a coalition pact,” he said.

Raila was at Tononoka Grounds in Mvita while Kalonzo and other One Kenya Alliance principals Gideon Moi and Martha Karua were at Kadongo Grounds in Kisauni.

Meanwhile, at the Tononoka Grounds, Raila said his administration will review the operations of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) blamed for the near-collapse of the economy of the Coast.

Speaking yesterday at the historical Tononoka Grounds, the former premier also hinted at making Mombasa a free port and accelerating the establishment of the Dongo Kundu economic zone.

Outlining his agenda for the region, an energised Raila said he will revive the collapsed factories and establish firms in Mombasa to create value addition for agricultural produce.

He said value addition will be key in his “smart farming” and “the Buy Kenya Build Kenya agenda. This he noted, will create clean jobs and wealth for the Coastal people.

Raila who is on a four-day tour of the Coast region to consolidate his support base projected that the economy will grow by over 10 per cent under his administration.

“We will relook the SGR issue and turn Mombasa into a free port to spur the economic growth of the Coast and create jobs for the millions of the youth in the region,” said Raila.

Coast leaders and traders blame the State for ordering that all Nairobi-bound containers be evacuated by the SGR for the near-collapse of the logistics sector in Mombasa.

A study conducted by the University of Nairobi shows that the SGR, which is one of the largest capital-intensive infrastructure projects has led to layoffs and a drop in revenue for the Mombasa County government

Meanwhile, the ODM leader launched a broadside against Deputy President William Ruto, whom he described as a pathological liar good at giving empty promises.

“He promised us laptops, modern stadia in all the counties and the creation of one million jobs in a year which he never delivered. He is now promising four million jobs and yet he has not delivered the one million,” said Raila.

Giving an analogy of an alligator, he said Ruto appears not to grasp the Kenyans problems. “Under my leadership, Kenya will in the next 10 to 15 years move from a middle-income nation to be a developed nation,” said the ex-premier, who reiterated that he will establish a social fund for vulnerable Kenyans.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho said Coast will back Raila for the fourth time and “when he retires I’m the one who will take over the leadership of the country.” 

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