Raila reaps big in Western as defectors from Amani join ODM

ODM party leader Raila Odinga addressing Azimio La Umoja rally at Angurai market in Testo North, Busia county on March 25, 2022. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga yesterday bagged at least five legislators from Kakamega County as the window for party hopping closed.

Former ANC MPs Tindi Mwale (Butere), Christopher Aseka (Khwisero), Titus Khamala (Lurambi) and Oscar Nabulindo (Matungu), crossed over to the Orange party as Raila intensified campaigns in the region.

The others who are expected to be polled in the team dubbed “Kakamega combined” are Jubilee’s Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo) and Ben Shinali (Ikolomani) who will defend their seats on ODM tickets and former Shinyalu MP Silverse Lisamula who vied as an independent in the 2017 elections.

Yesterday, Raila and allies of Deputy President William Ruto under the Kenya Kwanza formation held parallel political events in Kakamega.

The former Prime Minister started his campaigns at Sabatia trading centre in Butere with stopovers in Khwisero constituency, Shibuli trading centre in Lurambi constituency, Mumias East and Matungu. Azimio la Umoja team later proceeded to Mumias town for a big rally.

The Kenya Kwanza brigade led by Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford-K’s Moses Wetang’ula attended a leader’s meeting in Kakamega town.

They later made stopovers in Lurambi Constituency and urged residents to reject both Azimio la Umoja and Raila.

Raila yesterday paraded the lawmakers who defected from ANC during the stopovers and gifted some of them direct nomination tickets.

He said the defectors who comprise youthful and energetic legislators are on a mission to tame Kenya Kwanza in the region.

Raila who was accompanied by former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, ODM whip Junet Mohammed among other leaders promised to turn around the country’s economy in his first three months to ease the cost of living.

“In my first 100 days in office, you will feel the change because I target to build the economy by 10 per cent annually. The price of petroleum and electricity will first of all come down,” Raila told hundreds of supporters at Shibuli.

“Azimio is leading a third revolution. We kicked out the colonialists 58 years ago, fought for the 2010 Constitution and the third fight will be that for economic liberation.”

He vowed to seal the corruption loopholes that have adversely affected the cost of living and channel the amount lost because of graft to a social welfare programme that will involve giving Sh6,000 monthly to low income households.

He said Deputy President William Ruto lacked vision.

“When I lay down my development agenda like I am doing, he retaliates by calling me names yet he can’t tell the people the source of money he dishes out in funds drives every now and then,” he said. “Besides he undermines the youth by promising them wheelbarrows. Is that what our youth deserve?”

Speaking at stopovers in Sabatia, Khwisero, Lurambi and Matungu, Raila called himself a son of the soil who deserved the Mulembe votes.

“I am a descendant of the great Luhya leader Nabongo Mumia. I need not campaign here but camp elsewhere hunting for votes,” he said. “One promise that I leave you with though, is the revival of Mumias Sugar, that will be done this year and I will stop the sugar barons who have filed cases that frustrate its revival.”

The defectors led by Mwale said they were ready to paint Kakamega in Azimio colours and do away with Ruto followers now that they were flagged off by a formidable presidential candidate.

“We will carry out the mother of all campaigns in Kakamega to ensure that Azimio bags majority elective seats and that Raila lands in State House,” said Mwale.

Bishop Khamala said he left ANC when Musalia Mudavadi settled for an unknown seat in Kenya Kwanza.

“It would be easier for the Mulembe nation to get more government slots if we vote en masse for Raila and that we will do,” he said.

Karua, who recently joined Azimio, asked the Mulembe nation to vote for Raila because he was a tried and tested reformist.

She characterised Raila as a cog in key national reforms whose popularity was growing by the day. “He is enjoying support from a section of Mt Kenya and we will be campaigning for him to ensure that the mountain is under him,” she said.

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