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Is Raila creating an exit window out of Azimio? ODM says no!

Azimio leader Raila Odinga with members of a youth resistance movement dubbed "movement for defense of democracy" at Kamukunji grounds in Kibera, Nairobi. [Emmanuel Wanson, Standard]

The emergence and surge of a new movement within opposition leader Raila Odinga's Azimio La Umoja has set tongues wagging as to the future of the coalition.

Complete with maroon berets, and combat gear, Movement for the Defence of Democracy (MDD) has all the hallmarks of overtaking the substantive outfit, Azimio, except that its proponents say nothing could be further from the truth.

In the past, Raila has mastered the art of make-overs, dumping and adopting new outfits or creating others within, often after elections season, in a bid to redefine his politics. More often than not, these makeovers proved controversial, and divisive but in the end, he succeeded.

From the "Summit" within Narc, "Pentagon" within ODM, Okoa-Kenya within CORD, "Resist" with NASA and now MDD within Azimio, Raila does not appear to run out of ideas to rejig his political career. These are quite apart from his coalition cobbling skills which have come in handy over the years.

And with the clash of ambitions within Azimio- Wiper's Kalonzo Musyoka barely made it into Azimio in the run-up to last year's poll- the new movement is bound to raise the stakes within the opposition coalition.

During the three political rallies held in Nairobi so far, the Azimio leader has broken protocol to allow the MDD leaders to address residents in what appears to be efforts to popularise the outfit in readiness for the next political dispensation.

During the Kibra rally on Sunday, the MDD leaders were dressed in military combat uniform with boots and maroon berets in what appears to be an organized movement that is ready to take over the political scene by storm.

While other Azimio affiliate parties take time to absorb what is happening, Raila's ODM has defended the place of the new outfit, with Secretary General Edwin Sifuna describing it as a mere affiliate of the coalition.

"Movement for the Defence of Democracy is just an affiliate of Azimio la Umoja coalition just like the National Resistance Movement was affiliated to the National Super Alliance, anybody talking of MDD taking over from Azimio is not aware of what he is saying," said Sifuna.

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga addresses supporters at Kamukunji Grounds in Kibra on February 5, 2023. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina said that MDD is just one of the many youth wings of the Azimio that will come up in the coming days and they will be out to fight for the rights of mwananchi who has suffered under Kenya Kwanza administration that has failed to live up to its expectations.

Ole Kina warned that many youths are going to rise up against the deceit of President William Ruto's government and it was time he delivers election promises.

National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi dismissed the notion that Azimio will fold up gradually to pave way for MDD. Wandayi also refuted claims by Kenya Kwanza leaders that MDD was intended to radicalise youths.

Strategic Political Advisor Dr Barack Muluka said Azimio rallies are setting a wrong trend where politics as civic competition begins giving way to intransigence, civil unrest, and on to insurgency and even armed conflict.

Dr Muluka said that the very name of MDD should be seen alongside the clarion call that "Ruto must go" culminating in occupation and paralyzing strategic national institutions and cities.

"That is where Azimio doesn't matter anymore, it is the new movement that matters and the movement intends to morph into a militia entity, we think of these things as happening in other countries and to other people, like all other things that we wish to deny but we are dead wrong," he said.

Muluka cautioned that at some point President Ruto will decide whether he should dig in and repulse them and his guess is as good as that of any other Kenyan on what will come up next if matters reach that level.

"National Super Alliance Supporters are not going to support a government that was not elected according to the Constitution that is why NASA is turning to the National Resistance Movement to ensure that we have legitimate government in power," Raila said in 2017 while announcing the emergence of NRM.

Azimio plans to hold a rally in Machakos on Friday before proceeding to Busia county on Sunday and later move to the other regions across the country.

By Ben Ahenda 11 hrs ago
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