- ODM leader Raila Odinga has received a major boost after bigwigs from Turkana promised to back his 2022 presidential bid.
- Influential political figures, including Petroleum Cabinet Secretary John Munyes, declared their support for Raila.
ODM leader Raila Odinga has received a major boost after political bigwigs from Turkana pledged to back his 2022 presidential bid.
The move would be a big blow to Deputy President William Ruto who has been pushing to secure Turkana votes to tighten his grip on his Rift Valley bastion.
At a rally in Lodwar on Thursday, political figures including Petroleum Cabinet Secretary John Munyes declared their support for Raila, rejecting Ruto’s "wheelbarrow politics".
Munyes declared the region will reject the politics of handouts, a reference to Ruto’s frequent donations. He said the pastoralist community will vote overwhelmingly for Raila.
“Today is a historic day because you (Raila) have come here to witness the Turkana declaration that you will be our presidential candidate,” Munyes said.
He spoke during a meeting of the Azimio la Umoja in Lodwar.
Munyes launched a scathing attack on Ruto’s style of politics, saying he has no clear agenda to liberate the pastoralist community from poverty.
“He (Ruto) is so weak until he has now started to dish money here and there to get support. We shall vote for Raila,” Munyes said.
Raila appears to be deploying key rivals of Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok to popularise his presidential bid. The region has backed him in the last three general elections.
Nanok who is serving his last term as the Turkana governor is now a key Ruto ally. He ditched Raila two years ago following his removal as ODM national vice-chairman.
As the battle for the Turkana votes enters the homestretch, Loima MP Jeremiah Lomorukai warned Ruto that the region is solidly behind Raila.
"Our people will vote for Raila to be the next president of Kenya. We don’t want the difficult job of pushing a wheelbarrow,” Lomorukai said.
He went on, “We shall stand with the President’s position that Raila is his preferred choice for 2022,” the ODM legislator said.
Munyes, who is running to be Turkana governor on an ODM ticket, said the county will not let Raila down in his "hour of need".
Munyes was Turkana senator between 2013 and 2017.
“It is only Raila whose ODM party is promising to give a fair share. Given the party will form the next government, we don't want to be left out," he said.
Raila said his government will prioritise agriculture and pump billions of shillings into irrigation to ensure that the largely pastoralist region becomes a food production hub.
“This county has a lot of potential in agriculture, we will implement more of the proposals that were in the Building Bridges Initiative to ensure Turkana is food sufficient,” Raila said.
The ODM boss, who is in a countrywide consultation before unveiling his 2022 presidential bid, warned the Turkana people against depending on handouts.
“They have stolen millions and are now giving donating in churches and buying school buses. That is the money we will channel to devolution once we seal loopholes,” the ODM boss said.
Raqila is on a charm offensive in the Rift Valley in an attempt to chip away at Ruto’s support. The DP is the acknowledged Rift Valley kingpin.
Raila was accompanied by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and a host of MPs including Kanini Kega (Kieni), Junet Mohamed (Suna East), Raphael Wanjala (Budalang'i), Geoffrey Osotsi (nominated) and Stanley Muthama (Lamu West).
(Edited by V. Graham)