People Daily Team @PeopleDailyKe
National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader Raila Odinga has camped in his Nyanza political base to smooth the ground ahead of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to the region. His mission is to pacify some of his supporters who are anxious about the political deal between him and Uhuru, and sell a joint government agenda for the region.
The famous handshake between Uhuru and him , which caught flat-footed his co-principals—Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper Party) Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) and Musalia Mudavadi (ANC)—also left most his supporters confused. It has emerged that politicians in the region have now been tasked to appease supporters, who still harbour resentment toward the Jubilee government following a chaotic electoral cycle last year.
And even as he prepares the ground for Uhuru visit, the disquiet on the fate of the Opposition alliance continues, with Kalonzo trying to reassure his supporters the deal struck a fortnight ago would not scuttle Nasa. In an MoU signed by the Nasa principals ahead of the August poll, Kalonzo was decreed the alliance’s presidential flag bearer in the 2022 race.
On Saturday, Raila visited Kisumu, where he appealed to his supporters to embrace the deal. “I know that you are angry because you have seen a lot. We have lost so many people during the struggle, but I am pleading with you to join me because this unity if for the good of all of us,” he urged.
He maintained no amount of theatrics employed by his co-principals would reverse reconciliatory and unity momentum taking shape in the country. Instead he Kalonzo, Mudavadi and Wetang’ula to shelve their political ambitions for now and join the unity drive being spearheaded by him and the President.
Raila cited poor economy, insecurity, electoral injustice, graft, impunity, hatred and ethnicity as problems that can only be cured through the deal between him and the President.
“Let us forget the leadership wrangles and our political ambitions for now and strategise on how to enhance peacefully co-existence as we sort out the perennial problems bedevilling the country from within,” said Raila. Raila is keen to ensure the President arrives in Kisumu and other counties to a warm reception.
“I am going to come with my brother Uhuru very soon and please I call upon you to welcome him because he means well for us,” he told supporters in Kisumu. Raila and Uhuru’s truce, symbolised by a handshake at the footsteps of Harambee House in Nairobi, has elicited mixed reactions in his Nyanza stronghold, with a section of it feeling betrayed.
But Raila defended his move, saying unity would bring development in the region and end tribal hatred between the two communities. “Very soon you will understand why I have opted to work with him (Uhuru),” he assured supporters.
Of concern to his supporters have been details of his deal with Uhuru. The two leaders have kept it under wraps save for scanty details of the projects will work on jointly. Raila’s visit to Luo Nyanza, which boycotted the October 26 repeat presidential poll, is a precursor for Uhuru who is expected to tour the region after his Cuba trip.
Raila is focused on ensuring Uhuru’s visit in Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay and Migori counties is successful. People Daily has learned the Nasa leader has warned ODM governors and legislators against attacking their jubilee counterparts or making inflammatory statements that would strain the deal.
Governors Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu), Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay), Cornel Rasanga (Siaya) and Okoth Obado (Migori) have all been tasked to marshal support for the new pact.
Awiti told the People Daily they had laid out elaborate plans to campaign for the unity pact in all the regions that did not support Uhuru in last year’s elections. “We had violence in Homa Bay after elections.
People did not want to hear anything about Uhuru, but because of the new unity deal we will welcome him,” he assured. ODM-allied MCAs in Nyanza were also tasked with sensitising the electorate on the importance of the unity deal. Nyando MP Jared Okello revealed they have been cautioned by the “boss to toe the line”. Reporting by Baraka Karama, Seth Onyango and Eric Juma