The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: PM Turns to Rift Athletes in Race for State House

Prime Minister Raila Odinga is drawing up a new strategy using athletes and professionals to woe the Kalenjin community after his efforts to enter into a pre-election deal with Eldoret North MP William Ruto hit a snag.

About ten of the prominent the athletes including David Rudisha, Ezekiel Kemboi and Pamella Jelimo among others for the first time attended public meetings with ODM Reloaded team which was campaigning for the PM.

Raila is negotiating with professional, the athletes and key political point men to help him directly reach voters in the region ahead of the general elections.

Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey is playing a key role in Raila's plan which will see the PM carry out grassroot campaigns including visits to homes of the prominent athletes and professionals in the Rift Valley region.

The ODM reloaded team led by Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba has been visiting the Rift Valley region this week to campaign and make the necessary contacts for the PM to access sports personalities among other community leaders in the Kalenjin community.

Some of the runners met with Namwamba and pledged to help the PM access the community. They were introduced to the public during a meeting at Tambach although they did not directly campaign for the PM. Kemboi recently appeared at a rally for the PM in Eldoret.

"We have been to many areas in Nandi, Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet Counties and the people have clearly told us that they are with ODM and the PM and that we need to access them on the ground ahead of the polls", said Namwamba.

The ODM reloaded team campaigned in Nandi Hills, Kapsabet, Mosoriot, Tambach, Kabarnet and Eldoret town among other areas. Namwamba said they were impressed with the response during the campaigns.

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