Kenya: Odinga Moves to Secure 'Bedroom'

21 September 2020

ODM leader Raila Odinga Sunday camped in Kisumu, the headquarters of his Luo Nyanza political bedrock, as he sought to ring-fence it from his political ally-turned-foe William Ruto.

Sources told the Nation that the Kisumu ODM delegates' conference was hurriedly arranged on Saturday night following reports that Dr Ruto was going to raid the region with bags of goodies later this week.

Mr Odinga fired salvos at Dr Ruto, signalling his intention to ward off Nyanza forays by the latter ahead of 2022 polls.

The ODM leader was unrelenting in his criticism of the Deputy President, describing Dr Ruto's planned forays as acts of "tokenism" to jobless youth.

"From the current development status, we are talking about baking a bigger cake for the whole country. But some people are snatching a lot from the cake we are baking, which is not enough, and bringing you crumbs," said Mr Odinga.

Mr Odinga's latest onslaught on his political archrival appeared to be part of his strategy to protect his political 'bedroom' from invasion by the DP.

There has been some change of minds by his supporters who feel they are not getting fruits of development from the ODM-led county governments and are now warming to DP Ruto.

Political forces

However, Mr Odinga was keen to assure his supporters that what DP Ruto was dishing out -- cash, motorcycles, sewing machines, wheelbarrows and others -- was not as attractive as what he and President Uhuru Kenyatta were offering.

He also stressed on strengthening party structures at the grassroots level following inroads by various political forces.

This visit came after youth allied to Dr Ruto drummed up support for him, ahead of his tour.

The team dubbed Nyanza Youth Movement for Ruto 2022 have been accusing the ODM of abandoning young people.

They held a meeting at Tom Mboya Estate where they vowed to take the ODM party head on when campaigns start.

"As the youth, we are ready to walk with Ruto and we will not be going to the DP with these leaders. We want to bring everyone on board so that they know that ODM is not popular as they thought," said Mr Oliver Ochieng.

Traitors

While the DP's team are yet to reveal the exact date of his tour, Mr Odinga and the leaders present made it clear that his supporters should be careful with their votes.

The language in the ODM conference was mostly civil but there was a thinly veiled threat to those who were planning or are already walking with the DP that they stand to lose.

Nyakach MP Aduma Owuor said ODM will not condone any member who joins Dr Ruto's camp.

"We will not condone anybody or members who will go on Ruto's tour. Already I have kicked out a youth leader from Nyakach who attended the Kapseret meeting and I would urge all the branches to treat those 'traitors' as such," said Mr Owuor.

Dr James Nyikal, who is chairman of the Luo MPs Caucus, stressed that leaders and Mr Odinga's supporters should not lose track of the bigger vision the region has come 2022, which is to be in government and if possible get the coveted presidential seat.

The conference was attended by Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o, Deputy Matthews Owili, Speaker Elisha Oraro and MPs Fred Ouda (Kisumu Central), Dr Nyikal (Seme), Owuor (Nyakach) and Kisumu MCAs.

Mr Odinga trashed the 'hustler movement' narrative saying an individual's background should not be used as a measure for leadership.

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