Western leaders dispel rumours of split in Azimio la Umoja

L-R: Kisii Governor James Ongwae, Vihiga governor Wilber Ottichilo, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati and Luanda MP Chris Omulele during Azimio la Umoja rally in Kidundu stadium in Majengo, Vihiga County. [Mumo Munuve, Standard]

Western leaders allied to Azimio la Umoja Movement have disputed claims of disunity within the group. 

On February 10, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho led leaders allied to Azimio in campaigning for Raila Odinga's presidential bid in Vihiga and Busia counties.

Conspicuously missing was Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo and his Kakamega counterpart Wycliffe Oparanya.

This elicited talk of sibling rivalry in Azimio.

But on Monday during a delegates convention at Kidundu stadium in Vihiga Count, the leaders said they are united.

The meeting dubbed Vihiga One was organised to dispel the rumours and this was evident in the speeches by the leaders.

Ottichilo and Oparanya who were in attendance reiterated their commitment to the ODM party and Azimio la Umoja Movement.

Leaders present were Governors Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma), Stanley Ongwae (Kisii), MPs Chris Omulele (Luanda), Caleb Amisi (Saboti), Justus Kizito (Shinyalu), Ayub Savula (Lugari) Godfrey Osotsi (Nominated), Kakamega Woman Representative Elsie Muhanda, Democratic Action Party of Kenya leader Wafula Wamunyinyi.

Ottichilo said he was firmly in ODM and was committed to ensuring Raila wins the presidency in the August 9 General Election.

"We are here to make one resolution as a county and that is supporting Raila and their will be no turning back," he said.

The governor declared that the ODM leader was best suited to revive the economy and protect devolution.

Mr Oparanya said Raila was fit to rule the nation and the Luhya community will rally behind him.

The leaders will hold similar meetings in all five Western counties.

"The group will have the same meeting today in other counties as we popularise Raila as our candidate for the presidency," said Oparanya.

Leaders who addressed the gathering criticised ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula decision to work with Deputy President William Ruto in Kenya Kwanza Alliance.

Governor Wangamati claimed that the alliance between Mudavadi and Ruto would not benefit Kenyans.

He said the odds were in favour of a Raila presidency.

Mr Wangamati claimed that Mudavadi won't be given the running mate position in the Kenya Kwanza coalition.

"Mudavadi don't be given deputy seat and thus makes him a non-factor in Kenya Kwanza," he said.

The leaders said the Luhya community should be in the next government regardless.

"We have seen our brothers go to Sugoi and we accept that that is their democratic right, but they should be honest with us as Luhya people," said Mr Osotsi.

The leaders urged Mudavadi and Wetang'ula to join Azimio la Umoja.

"Come back my brother Mudavadi and Wetang'ula the Azimio la Umoja house has enough room for all of us," said Mr Omulele.

MP Kizito said the ANC and Ford Kenya leaders could come back to support Raila but they should first be taught a lesson by the electorate.

MP Amisi said Raila had the charisma to steer the nation to prosperity socially and economically.

"Raila will not struggle to be the president of this nation he has already struggled beyond limit and Kenyans will only bestow to him the presidency on August 9," he said.

Wamunyinyi said the Western region communities will rally behind Raila.

"All the parties in the Azimio la Umoja coalition are united to one mission, to make Raila the president in few months," he said.

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