The former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has moved to put his house in order ahead of the presidential elections in 2022 and rallied his supporters to vote in only ODM candidates in various positions in next year’s General Election.
In a meeting characterized by a stinging rebuke of his critics in the region and an explanation of his ‘Handshake’ with President Kenyatta, Mr Odinga rallied his troops and put on notice any opposition within his ranks.
Mr Odinga said ODM will benefit from the ‘Handshake’ as it will give the party a bargaining chip in both Houses of Parliament.
Drummer ensued after Odinga ejected some of the governors deemed to be ODM party rebels, Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga, Migori Governor Okoth Obado and Kisumu Senator Fred Outa from the VIP podium. The crowd booed the leaders as they left the stage to sit with the rest of the delegates. Mr Odinga dismissed talks that his ‘handshake’ partner, President Uhuru Kenyatta, was “fattening him” and would later ditch him in 2022.
He termed such claims as cheap talk peddled by those out to cause disunity in the country. Kenyans, he said, should elect leaders who will be able to implement what is passed in the BBI.
During the forum in Kisumu, the delegates lauded Mr Odinga and Mr Kenyatta for their decision to put aside their differences to join hands in addressing age-old problems that have held the country back over the years.
Mr Odinga’s sentiments came following unease by some of his supporters and critics, who have repeatedly claimed that the President is “using him and will betray him just as he did to his Deputy William Ruto”.
However, after narrating the journey of the Building Bridges Initiative and the ‘Handshake’ that started at the steps of the Harambee House on March 9, 2018, Mr Odinga assured his supporters that the President meant well and would not betray him.
“Many people have been saying that Uhuru is not sincere and that I’m being lied to by the President. This is not the case and I know he won’t betray me, and I, Raila too, will not betray him,” Mr Odinga said.
He was addressing elected leaders from the Luo Nyanza region as well as other stakeholders during a meeting called to discuss and chart the way forward for the BBI and solidify the party’s grassroots support ahead of 2022.
The meeting was attended by all the four governors from Luo Nyanza — Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu), Cornel Rasanga (Siaya), Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay), Zachary Obado (Migori), their deputies and at least 40 elected MPs and senators.
Panellists, including experts such as Adams Oloo and Senate Minority Leader James Orengo, explained to the delegates the contents of the BBI.
The five-hour discussion among the more than 2,000 delegates who also included the clergy and civil society representatives, buttressed Mr Odinga’s sentiments by resolving that he continues to support Mr Kenyatta to help him deliver on the development agenda for the country.