Raila Odinga expected at Gusii Stadium for final rally ahead of polls

Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga, third left, with a section of leaders at Kisii Sports Club. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Azimio La Umoja One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga returns to Kisii County today for a rally at the historical Gusii Stadium to seek the community’s blessings ahead of the August 9 elections.

This will be the second last rally for Odinga in his Nyanza backyard.

He will have another rally at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega County on Wednesday and a last rally in the region at the Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in the Lake City of Kisumu. 

Kisii and Nyamira counties remain a critical voting bloc in Odinga’s quest to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Odinga is seeking to capitalise on his changing fortunes in the region where for the first time, some of his fiercest critics are supporting his bid.

The ODM party leaders enjoy the support of a number of seasoned politicians from the region including Deputy Majority Leader in the National Assembly and Kitutu Chache MP Jimmy Angwenyi, long-serving politicians Zebedeo Opore, Stephen Manoti and Timothy Bosire.

Unlike in the 2017 General Election were the two main parties in Kisii were competing against each other, the 2022 race favours Odinga as the two parties have now combined their efforts in his favour.

The handshake and the formation of the Azimio alliance seem to have given Odinga an added advantage in the region with senior government officials in the current regime supporting his bid.

In 2017, Odinga had 143,630 votes and Uhuru 138,817 in Kisii, while they got 88,866 and 86,284 votes respectively in Nyamira.

Interior CS Fred Matiang'i. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

In 2013, Odinga got 95,596 votes in Nyamira while President Uhuru Kenyatta had 54,071 votes. In Kisii, the ODM leader garnered 236,831 votes against Uhuru’s 95,596.

Odinga is still holding onto the blessings of the ODM union with other smaller parties that have fielded candidates in the region to earn him a majority of votes.

On his previous trip to the region three weeks ago, Odinga noted that Kisii and Nyamira counties had shown the rest of the country and indeed the world that they are fully in the change movement.

“The Abagusii community has shown that they are committed and will continue with Azimio La Umoja quest and the ultimate goal of liberating Kenya from the stranglehold of corruption and poverty. The march is on and steadfast we shall remain until the very end. We should not allow corrupt leaders at the helm of our country’s leadership.”

Yesterday, Kisii Governor James Ongwae told The Standard that despite inroads from their opponents, their party boss will score majority votes in both Kisii and Nyamira.

“Odinga enjoys overwhelming support from our people. This is solid ground that has taken more than two decades to cement. This is our time to show the country that indeed we are ready to occupy the country’s top seat,” he said.

Ongwae said Gusii region is blessed to be part of the second liberation of the Country.

“Nyanza is voting as a bloc for our party leader. The region has presented the most qualified candidate in the race. We expect a near 90 percent vote for Odinga,” he said.

ODM National Treasurer Timothy Bosire, who is also seeking the Nyamira governorship, said Odinga has shown what perseverance and determination are all about.

ODM National Treasurer Timothy Bosire. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

“He has weathered several storms. The journey has been rough but we are headed to victory. Our people know where to vote; it is an Odinga moment. Those of our opponents are daydreaming that they can get votes from Gusii. Our party leader has shown love for our community and it is time we came out as a region to give overwhelming support,” he said.

According to advocate Stephen Mogaka, the Jubilee candidate for West Mugirango parliamentary seat, Gusii region has made a decision to support Odinga’s bid.

“We have our sons and daughters working in some senior appointive positions in government and we could wish to have them remain in similar positions after in the next regime. The only person who has assured us to do so is Odinga Odinga,” said Mogaka.

Kitutu Chache MP Jimmy Angwenyi said he has never supported Odinga in his entire life was now rooting for Azimio candidate.

“I am ready and prepared to rally my people to vote for our son. I have no reason why I should not support him this time. Power is coming back to Nyanza and Gusii Nation must be ready to support our own,” he said.

According to advocate cum political pundit Danstan Omari, Nyamira and Kisii counties have achieved a lot post-handshake.

“Odinga made a sacrifice to join President Uhuru Kenyatta through the handshake and consequently Nyanza became part of Kenya after years of being out of government. We have demands as a community and it is clear that they will be honoured by the Azimio government,” said Omari.