Kenya: Western Kenya Governors Craft Plan for Odinga Campaigns

President Uhuru Kenyatta greets supporters who turned up for a Jubilee rally in Samata Nadara, Nayandarua County, on October 7, 2017.
24 September 2017

Ten governors from western Kenya have agreed to work on a common campaign strategy to mobilise more than 4.6 million votes in favour of Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga.

The governors, who held their first strategic meeting in Kisumu ahead of the October 26 presidential election, said their focus will be to rally people to vote as well as ensure they protect the votes cast.

Dubbed Linda Kura Operation, the structure will be headed by the governors who will coordinate a secretariat that will run all the way to the polling station level.

Nyanza has a total of six counties which are Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii and Nyamira, with a total of 2,688,104 registered voters.

Western region which comprises Kakamega, Bungoma, Vihiga and Busia counties has 1,927,043 registered voters.

RALLY

Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o said they had already agreed as regional heads to hold their first rally in Kisii County, on a date to be communicated later. "We shall release our programme for campaigns as soon as possible. This is an election we must win," said Prof Nyong'o.

The governors who attended the meeting were Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Sospeter Ojaamong' (Busia), Patrick Wang'amati (Bungoma), James Ongwae (Kisii) and Wilbur Ottichilo (Vihiga).

Others were: Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay), John Nyagarama (Nyamira), Okoth Obado (Migori) while Siaya deputy governor John Okumbe represented Governor Cornel Rasanga, who was out of the Country at the time of the convention.

Kisumu deputy governor, Dr Mathews Owili, also attended the meeting.

Prof Nyong'o said their resolutions to head campaigns in the counties were approved by the Nasa secretariat.

REGISTERED VOTERS

"The head of the secretariat, Mr Joe Ager, was here (at the Kisumu meeting) and our resolve for campaigns has been endorsed. We are set to hit the ground," he said.

Of the ten counties, Kakamega has the highest number of registered voters at 743,736, followed by Bungoma with 559,850 and Kisii with a total of 546,580 votes. Kisumu comes fourth with 539,210 registered voters while Homa Bay, Siaya, Migori and Busia have 476,875, 457,953, 388,633 and 351,048 respectively.

Nyamira has 278,853 registered votes and Vihiga 272,409.

Prof Nyong'o called on Nasa supporters to help fund its campaigns through the pay bill number 991444. "We are making an appeal to Kenyans of good will to support our campaigns. Unlike our competitors, we have not raided anybody's treasury. We are not associated with robbing money from NYS (National Youth Service). We have not in any way benefited from Eurobond," said Prof Nyong'o.

BUYING VOTES

The governors accused Jubilee of buying support from the people of Kenya. "We can understand the money that is awash in Jubilee, used to buy people. We would like this election to be supported by the people of Kenya," he said. "To put in check this creeping authoritarianism that we are seeing, Kenyans must vote out President Uhuru Kenyatta."

The governor disclosed that they have also developed a vote protection strategy in the counties to secure Mr Odinga's votes.

He said the strategy will ensure Mr Odinga gets maximum votes.

"We have resolved to push for a 100 per cent voter turnout in the coming election," he said.

The secretariat will work with the county organising committee comprising the governor, county's party chairman, MPs, Speaker, senator, woman representative, business and community representatives.

CAMPAIGNS

"Under the county organising committee, is the sub-county organising committee to be chaired by the MP and comprising MCAs, sub-county party team, sub-county coordinators and interested partners," he added.

Under the sub-county coordinator (MP), shall be ward coordinators (MCAs) who will coordinate the polling centre coordinator. At the bottom, shall be two agents per polling station to closely monitor the campaigns in the areas and also ensure vote protection on election day.

During a campaign rally in Siaya County last weekend, Siaya Senator James Orengo told those seeking court redress through various petitions in Nyanza to be mindful of Mr Odinga's campaigns, saying their move could derail his chances.

"I want to tell all the poll losers to reconsider their stand and drop their cases and join the campaigns for Mr Odinga if they are truly loyal to him," he said.

Mr Orengo, one of the main strategists of Nasa, asked leaders to focus on campaigns.

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