Raila to hold three rallies in Mandera to avert sibling rivalry

Azimio la Umoja Presidential candidate Raila Odinga address Isiolo residents in Garbatulla on June 21, 2022. He promised to deal with graft if elected and prioritize on empowerment.

Photo credit: Waweru Wairimu I Nation Media Group

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga will hold at least three rallies in three different towns when he tours Mandera County on Saturday.

This is in an attempt to avert sibling rivalry in the county among political parties in his coalition.

He is expected to land in Mandera East and be received by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) brigade before heading to Elwak in Mandera South and Takaba in Mandera West.

Mandera County ODM chairman Yusuf Hassan said each affiliate party in the coalition has been given an opportunity to host their presidential candidate.

“ODM will host our leader in Mandera East then the Jubilee Party group will have him in Elwak while the United Democratic Movement (UDM) will host him in Takaba,” Mr Hassan said.

He said the plan is meant to avoid a clash among supporters of each of the political groups.

Each of the three parties has its own line-up, with a governor candidate, and the fight for Mr Odinga’s attention is expected to play out.

“He (Raila) will not be endorsing any candidate for any seat in Mandera but he will be seeking votes to take him to State House,” Mr Hassan said.

ODM has Mr Hassan Noor Hassan as its candidate, while the Jubilee team is led by Mr Adan Mohamed, a former Cabinet Secretary.

UDM, whose leader is Governor Ali Roba, has Mr Mohamed Adan Khalif as its governor candidate.

It remained unclear why UDM would be in charge of a rally in Takaba, more than 300km from the county headquarters.

“Mr Odinga should be hosted by the current regime at the county headquarters but not anyone else,” Mr Noor Ali lamented.

Signs of a clash during the Azimio presidential candidate’s tour of Mandera have been showing following a recent meeting between the UDM team and Mr Odinga in Nairobi.

On Sunday, UDM managed to trick Mr Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua into a meeting a week after the duo met the ODM Mandera team.

“Martha called me and told me that Abdullahi Abdi, chairman of NAMLEF (National Muslim Leaders Forum), wanted us to meet. I didn’t know it was about leaders from Mandera as I thought it was about NAMLEF,” Mr Odinga said at the meeting.

Mr Abdi is also the UDM national campaign coordinator.

In Mandera, politics has always been emotional, because it revolves around clans and tribes and every political party will always herd its clan and rally it against the other.

In 2017, two political parties that supported President Uhuru Kenyatta hardly walked the same path, and on July 22, 2017 when the President set foot in the county for a campaign, the cat came out of the basket.

The Economic Freedom Party (EFP), then backed by the council of elders, clashed with Jubilee under Governor Ali Roba.

Attempts to have a joint rally almost collapsed after supporters of both parties turned Moi Stadium into a battlefield.

Several people were injured in the stone-throwing match before the police erected a human wall between the two teams.

The same morning, Deputy President William Ruto had been forced to end his rally prematurely in Mandera West after the two groups turned against each other.

DP Ruto joined President Kenyatta in Mandera East from Mandera West.

Then, President Kenyatta’s re-election campaign in Mandera almost disintegrated after Governor Roba dared the Economic Freedom Party (EFP) to back any presidential candidate other than Mr Kenyatta.

Jubilee and EFP had been engaged in accusations and counter-accusations on alleged illegal transfers of 50,000 voters, including elected leaders and candidates in the run-up to the 2017 elections.

And this year, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has named Mandera among counties that recorded high voter transfers.

Unconfirmed reports showed that the names of at least 20,000 voters had been transferred to Mandera North constituency from other parts of the country.

From Mandera, Mr Odinga’s team is expected to hold rallies in Wajir on Sunday before proceeding to Garissa.

In Wajir County, the team is expected to face another challenge.

Nine candidates from different parties have been cleared to vie for governor’s seat, but the challenge is how Mr Odinga’s team will accommodate the seven in the Azimio coalition.

Mr Ahmed Abdullahi (ODM), Mr Abdullahi Ibrahim Ali (UDM), Mr Prof Osman Warfa (NARK), Dr Siyad Abdullahi (Wiper), Dr Hassan Mohamed (Jubilee), Mr Ibrahim Elmi and Mr Mohamed Abdi Mohamud (both independent candidates) are supporting the Azimio presidential candidate.
To deal with sibling rivalry, Mr Abdirizak Mohamed Burale, Wajir Azimio county coordinator, said all affiliate parties and their candidates had been consulted and involved in planning.

“We have consulted all affiliate parties and their candidates for planning to avoid unnecessary competition and clash,” he said.
While in Wajir, the Azimio team is expected to hold town hall meetings with local leaders and other stakeholders before holding public rallies.

“We have planned at least four political rallies in areas outside Wajir town, including Tarbaj, Bute, Hadado and Habaswein,” Mr Burale said.

He said Wajir remains Mr Odinga’s stronghold in the North Eastern region and that the Azimio ticket is a brand that resonates well with locals.

“Raila gave Wajir a ministerial post in 2002 and 2008. The current Azimio manifesto is equally a pro-pastoral agenda and we feel safe in the Raila-Martha presidency,” he said.

Insecurity, livestock production and infrastructure are among the top issues Mr Odinga is expected to address.


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