Raila Odinga urges Gusii to vote as a bloc for Azimio la Umoja

Azimio la Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga with a section of Gusii leaders during a rally 
in Kisii County. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga on August 2, 2022, appealed to the Gusii to vote for him as a bloc.

Addressing rallies at Marani in Kitutu Chache North and Gusii Stadium, Raila said the country is ripe for leaders with integrity.

In a final dash to consolidate the region’s 960,293 votes, he warned governor candidates over their continued bickering, saying this could affect Azimio votes.

After his address at Gusii Stadium, Raila paraded Kisii Governor James Ongwae, DAP-K candidate Prof Sam Ongeri, Jubilee’s Chris Obure, Simba Arati (ODM) and Usawa kwa Wote party candidate Dr Ratemo Onchiri and asked them to agree and present a single candidate before Monday for the governor race.

Raila said he first nominated Arati as a civic leader in Nairobi before he was later elected MP. He warned the ODM governor candidate against disrespecting senior politicians in the region. This is after Arati called on his opponents to retire from active politics.

“Arati you are my son. I warn you as my son, respect your elders and always sit with them to get wisdom. Do not convict people in public without taking them through the legal process,” Raila said.

The ODM leader is keen to go to the ballot with a united team to make his presidential dream a reality.

He urged his allies in Gusii region to put aside their differences and focus on the bigger picture. Raila urged residents to turn up in their numbers and vote for him and Azimio candidates.

“We are going to war as a team, our enemies are those in Kenya Kwanza, and we need Azimio votes in one basket. Sibling rivalry is okay but we should not lose focus. Our opponents will take advantage of our differences and clinch these seats,” he said.

The Azimio presidential candidate promised to ensure a conducive environment for trade, manufacturing industry, agriculture, health and other sectors of the economy.

“We are moving to the last stretch of our journey. I have traversed all parts of the country and all Kenyans agree that they are tired. August 9 is our defining moment. We have talked about our Azimio agenda; how to change the country’s agriculture and industry,” he said.

Raila’s running mate Martha Karua said Azimio’s priority is to unite the country and deal with challenges facing Kenyans

“We need to move on as a united country. There is no better chance like the one we have before us,” she said.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i who also attended the Gusii Stadium rally urged the community to support Raila’s bid.

“We are bright people and we will vote wisely on Tuesday, support us and we will be able to form the next government,” he said.

Ongwae said the region remains an ODM zone and will vote as a bloc. “No vote will go out. Our people are focused, we are ready to be part of the next government,” he said.

Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli called for peaceful co-existence among Kenyans before and after the elections.

“We need to have all communities live together, there is no other Kenya. Any one of us is allowed to own land anywhere in the country. There is always life after every election, so don’t feel threatened,” he said.

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

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