CHARM OFFENSIVE

ODM in rigorous bid to recover lost ground in Western

Number of party MPs dropped from 12 in 2013 to seven in 2017.

In Summary
  • The latest activities are seen as part of the wider plans by Raila to neutralise ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang'ula.
  • Oparanya who had earlier declared his interest in the 2022 presidential race appeared to back down and instead asked Raila to find him a position in the next government. 
Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya's advisor Paul Posho, Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito, ODM leader Raila Odinga, Oparanya, Mayoni MCA Libinus Oduori and Kakamega county assembly Minority leader Joseph Ngome at Oparanya's Emabole home on Sunday, September 6, 2020.
Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya's advisor Paul Posho, Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito, ODM leader Raila Odinga, Oparanya, Mayoni MCA Libinus Oduori and Kakamega county assembly Minority leader Joseph Ngome at Oparanya's Emabole home on Sunday, September 6, 2020.
Image: HILTON OTENYO

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga's ODM has panicked and moved to claw back its political dominance in Western.

The party has intensified political activities in the past four weeks, especially in Kakamega county, as it consolidates its support base ahead of the 2022 election. 

ODM's parliamentary strength declined drastically in 2017. It had 12 MPs after the 2013 polls but that reduced to seven in the last election, a stark contract to its performance in terms of presidential votes.

 

The latest activities are seen as part of a wider plan by Raila to neutralise ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang'ula who have also heightened their campaigns to rally the region behind them and are seen to enjoy massive following.

ODM has been holding meetings in Kakamega subcounties of Shinyalu, Khwisero and Lurambi in the past month.

Raila spent Saturday night at Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya's Emabole home in Butere before meeting party MCAs at the same venue on Sunday.  Details of the meeting remain scant.

However, a party official close to the two leaders said the meeting discussed coalitions ahead of 2022. 

"Basically, it's all about strengthening Raila's last stab at the presidency. Raila feels other parties benefit from ODM's popularity in pre-election coalitions and prefer post-election pacts instead,” said the official who requested not to be named.

Another party official said, “The meeting was to be held on Saturday night but it aborted after Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi, Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati and nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi dropped in. The two leaders had to wait until Sunday morning when they had a closed-door meeting. No one knows what they discussed.”

ODM has twice gone to the general elections in a coalition with other parties. In 2013, the party joined Wiper and Ford Kenya in Cord coalition, while in 2017 it was part of NASA that comprised ANC, Ford Kenya, Wiper and Chama Cha Mashinani.

 

Oparanya, who had earlier declared his interest in the 2022 presidential race and urged Raila to back him, appeared to back down, instead asking Raila during a press briefing to find him a position in the next government.   

One of Oparanya’s advisers, Musa Chibole, said they discussed party grassroots election, whose calendar was disrupted by the Covid-19 crisis and laying the ground for the BBI to ensure the region speaks with one voice ahead of the envisaged referendum.

"Now that the pandemic is easing, they want to prepare themselves so that party elections are held before 2022. The other issues discussed included ridding the party of people who no longer fully subscribe to it. There are people who left the party and were officials and cannot just come back and start from where they left,” Chibole said.

"The meeting by the two leaders was a show of confidence between them given that was the platform Raila used to declare Oparanya should join national politics."

The party has operated without a county office for the last eight years. Meetings are held in the county chambers at the county headquarters.