Azimio la Umoja One-Kenya Coalition leader Raila Odinga's troops have retreated to his Nyanza stronghold to counter United Democratic Alliance's forays in the region.
The Standard has established Raila's ODM party has lined up a series of activities, targeting to rejuvenate its grassroots support. This includes planned meetings across the region aimed at strengthening the party amid a sustained onslaught by the UDA party.
Last week, ODM leaders continued with their efforts to strengthen the party in the region and conducted meetings in Ugunja and Nyatike constituencies.
The move is part of a pushback against President William Ruto's UDA party that has sustained an onslaught in Raila's backyard.
While Ruto's troops are optimistic that they are making fruitful incursions into Nyanza and Gusii, Raila's allies in ODM believe the efforts are a waste of time for the ruling alliance. They claimed the region is firmly behind the ODM chief and remains one of the key bases for Azimio.
Led by Minority leader Opiyo Wandayi, the party moved to Nyatike Sub-County where UDA has been calling on electorates to jump ship and join the Kenya Kwanza government by registering as UDA members.
“In this place, UDA is irrelevant,” Wandayi said.
Wandayi claimed that ODM's strength in the region would not wane and challenged more residents to join their fold.
UDA has been conducting registration drives in the Nyanza region as it targets Azimio la Umoja coalition leader Raila Odinga's strongholds across the country.
About one week ago, UDA camped at Nyatike Sub-County in Migori County, where it registered hundreds of voters who had dumped ODM.
Former Nyatike MP Edick Anyanga and the chairman of the Kenya Nuclear Regulatory Authority (KNRA), and former Kanyasa Ward MCA, who had ditched ODM for UDA after losing in the August 2022 elections, said they were doing the registration vigorously.
“Nyatike has subscribed to UDA, and we are doing it vigorously. We are receiving more members from ODM” said Mr Anyanga.
According to the duo, President William Ruto will carry the day in 2027. However, Wandayi termed their efforts null, saying that those moving around and telling electorates to defect had no influence.
“Those few fellas who are running around here don't represent anybody. They have gone to UDA on their own. They don't represent anyone,” said the minority leader.
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The minority leader was speaking in Karungu, Nyatike Sub-County. He was accompanied by Kitutu Masaba MP Clive Gisairo and Funyula MP Wilberforce Oundo.
He challenged leaders to stay loyal to ODM and Azimio as he promised rewards to those who expressed loyalty.
Gisairo and Oundo echoed Wandayi’s sentiments, saying that counties in Nyanza should be 100 per cent behind the party.
He claimed they will not be intimidated as they will stand with Kenyans to ensure the government does what is right.
Oundo, who said Busia has always been steadfast behind Azimioo leader Raila Odinga and ODM, claimed that any member of ODM who goes to bed with UDA is essentially betraying the electorates who elected him.
“If you are defeated, don't run the following day and go to the other side saying that ODM is bad. In a competition, there must be winners and losers. Please, remain in ODM and let's soldier on,” the legislator said.
Wandayi promised to reward non-party leaders who remained loyal to the party.
“We have seen Migori Woman Representative’s loyalty to the party even in parliament. The Woman Representative is solidly in ODM despite being in independent. We are praying that she comes back to ODM,” Wandayi stated.
He criticized rebellious leaders who have been moving with Kenya Kwanza in the name of bringing development to the people.