Raila meets Nyanza, Western governors in move to step up bid to fortify his support base

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga met Lake Region Governors to evaluate the progress of the devolution for the last ten years on September 11, 2023. [Emmanuel Wanson, Standard]

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga has embarked on a plan to consolidate his support in Nyanza and Western regions amid claims President William Ruto is courting governors who were elected under Azimio la Umoja.

In a strategic move to solidify his influence and counter rebellious members of his party, Raila yesterday held a closed-door meeting with governors from Nyanza and Western at a Kisumu hotel, which lasted for nearly three hours.

The nature, purpose, and details of the half-day meeting remain scanty but sources revealed it was aimed at rallying his troops to firmly remain in his corner.

The governor’s present were James Orengo (Siaya), Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay), Anyang Nyong’o (Kisumu), Ochillo Ayacko (Migori), Simba Arati (Kisii), Fernandes Barasa (Kakamega), Wilberforce Otitchilo (Vihiga) and Paul Otuoma (Busia).

The meeting was also attended by former Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, who is the ODM deputy leader.

Open discussion 

It comes barely a day after the ODM chief pitched tent in Kisii to solidify his support base following overtures from President Ruto, who visited the Gusii region three times within days. On Friday,  Raila also held public meetings in Migori.

Yesterday, however, the Governors who attended the meeting reaffirmed their support for Raila.

Governor Nyong’o, in a presser held after the meeting, told journalists that they were firmly behind Raila and are loyal to the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition.

He described their meeting as an open discussion where all of them contributed.

“We know for certain we are in Azimio and the vision bearer who has been the father of change and progress in the nation is our party leader. So there is no other party and no other coalition that can do it better than Azimio,” he said.

Nyong’o claimed that no amount of political wind can blow Azimio governors apart and no earthquake can shake their foundation.

According to the county chief, some Azimio governors were approached by Kenya Kwanza to shift their loyalties but they have not been swayed by the overtures. 

On Sunday, while on a tour in Kisii County, Raila told Ruto to keep off Azimio governors. He said counties must be left to perform their duties.

He said Ruto was courting Azimio Governor’s by dangling goodies in their counties in an attempt to cripple Azimio parties.

Investments 

Nyong’o also said they talked about various economic issues, transportation in Lake Victoria and how to link ports and beaches along the lines of the system that existed in the old East African Community.

“We also discussed what investments are needed. Investment on agriculture, access to capital and these are pertinent issues that will come out in a communique as soon as possible as a report of this meeting,” added Nyong’o.