Baraka Karama @PeopleDailyKe
Opposition leader Raila Odinga landed in Kisumu yesterday to prepare ground for President Uhuru Kenyatta ahead of his visit next week.
The President who is expected to officially launch the Universal Healthcare Coverage next week, will be making his first visit in the region where he has had minimal support.
Raila’s visit to Kisumu is similar to the one in February 2008 when he went round the town to ask his supporters to accord the then president Kibaki a cordial welcome after the disputed 2007 presidential elections.
Yesterday, he held a two-hour closed-door meeting at the Kisumu International Airport VIP lounge with the county leadership led by Deputy Governor Mathews Owili and five MCAs.
His sister and former deputy governor for Kisumu Ruth Odinga was also present at the meeting. A source who attended the meeting said the ODM party leader instructed the county leaders to ensure Uhuru is given a warm reception.
During the run-up to last year’s General Election, Uhuru visited Kisumu only once duringKenya Breweries Limited ground-breaking ceremony where he took the opportunity to campaign for his re-election.
The crowd, however, was not receptive and even booed Deputy President William Ruto who had accompanied him. Ruto was forced to cut short his speech as the heckling continued.
After the meeting, Raila left the airport amid tight security and a convoy of six vehicles led by a police traffic rider and a contingent of armed administration police officers. He is today expected to meet various political and religious leaders ahead of the visit.
Thereafter, he will join ODM members for a political rally at the main ODM party office behind the bus park. “We expect that he will join the party members and later on address rallies to let the people of Kisumu know that he will have a visitor,” said Owili.