What you need to know:
- ODM leader criticises the Deputy President for talking ill of the same government he serves.
- Mr Odinga's allies say Dr Ruto is feeling the heat as the presidential campaigns progress.
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga Saturday took his campaigns to Machakos county where he urged residents to back his presidential bid.
He criticised Deputy President William Ruto for talking ill of the same government he serves.
“He is portraying President Kenyatta as a thief during his trip to the United States yet we know who the real thief is,” Mr Odinga said.
“You voted for us in 2013 and 2017 and we urge you to stick with us. We are uniting Kenyans under the Azimio La Umoja political formation. There is no discrimination here.”
The ODM chief’s message was seemingly understood by many to be directed at Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka.
Mr Musyoka is widely seen as the Lower Eastern political kingpin.
He earlier expressed interest in working with Mr Odinga ahead of the August 9 General Election, but appeared to have a change of heart days later.
The Wiper Party boss accuses Mr Odinga of betrayal and working with governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos), Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Makueni’s Kivutha Kibwana to undermine him.
Raila’s State House bid
The three county bosses, however, say Mr Musyoka is taking too long to make up his mind on the August elections.
They have even gone a step further in telling Mr Odinga that he does not need Mr Musyoka to solidify his support in the region that reportedly has 1.6 million registered voters.
Yesterday, Dr Mutua took a swipe at former allies of Mr Odinga who failed to attend his mock swearing-in following the contested 2017 presidential election.
“Leadership is about making decisions. You cannot progress without making decisions. We have already joined Azimio La Umoja and have begun campaigning,” the Maendeleo Chap Chap party leader said.
“Other leaders are dithering. They have not made a decision. They cut deals and campaign in boardrooms,” he said.
He portrayed himself, Prof Kibwana and Mrs Ngilu as the gateway to the region.
Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho and MPs Junet Mohammed (Suna East), Kanini Kega (Kieni) and Imran Okoth (Kibra) urged the leaders to bury the hatchet and rally behind Mr Odinga’s State House bid.
“Kitui, Machakos and Makueni county residents voted overwhelmingly for Mr Odinga in 2013 and 2017 but the victories were stolen. We are wiser. Your votes will count this time. We are not taking chances,” Mr Mohamed said.
Unfit to be president
“We suffered together in 2013 and 2017. We were teargassed and beaten together. Raila will not abandon you when he enters State House. People who have been on a long journey together do not part ways when the destination is in sight. You can tell the direction of the wind. I urge you to unite and vote for Raila in his presidential bid.”
Mr Odinga’s entourage included former United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Secretary General Mukhisa Kituyi, Nominated MP Maina Kamanda and former State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita who is eyeing the Machakos governor position.
The leaders addressed rallies in Machakos town, Kyumbi, Athi River and Mlolongo.
Mr Odinga portrayed Dr Ruto as morally wanting and unfit to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Dr Kituyi, said the DP should have used his trip abroad to woo investors instead of portraying Kenya as a failed state.
The leaders said Dr Ruto is feeling the heat as the presidential campaigns progress.
Prof Kibwana said Mr Odinga’s plan to double the amount devolved governments get from the Treasury would accelerate sustainable development.
Mrs Ngilu said the ODM leader is the region’s only hope in having a significant stake in the government.
“We have remained with Raila because we want water in our taps, job opportunities for the youth and good roads,” Mr Waita said.
*Written by Pius Maundu | [email protected]