Blame game: Bitter exchanges engulf Azimio over Raila loss

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta follow proceedings at Kasarani Stadium.

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta follow proceedings at Kasarani Stadium on September 13, 2022, during President William Ruto's inauguration. Some MPs accuse ex-President Uhuru Kenyatta, Suna East MP Junet Mohammed and others of letting Azimio down. 

Photo credit: Jeff Angote I Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • MPs accusing ex-President Uhuru Kenyatta, Suna East MP Junet Mohammed and others of letting Azimio down. 
  • But Mr Odinga has defended the two, blaming IEBC and Supreme Court for bungling the elections and throwing out a petition challenging the same. 
  • His Rarieda counterpart Otiende Amolo now claims a series of blunders by dishonest individuals around the ODM leader led to his defeat in last month’s polls.


The war of words in Azimio La Umoja One Kenya coalition has escalated with key figures in the camp being blamed for the loss of its leader Raila Odinga in the August elections. 

With the former Prime Minister having lost to President William Ruto in the just concluded General Election, bitter exchanges have continued to engulf the Azimio coalition, with some Members of Parliament (MPs) accusing ex-President Uhuru Kenyatta, Suna East MP Junet Mohammed and others of letting Azimio down. 

But Mr Odinga has defended the two, blaming IEBC and Supreme Court for bungling the elections and throwing out a petition challenging the same. 

Embakasi East MP Babu Owino attributed Mr Odinga’s loss to failure by Mr Kenyatta, who is also the chairperson of Azimio, to rally his Mount Kenya region behind the ODM boss, accusations that have not augured well with some allies of the former head of state.

“Thank you Uhuru Kenyatta for keeping your word to Ruto. Your body language tells it all. It was a long con. We will reach where we are going. If we could not hunt with a dog, we will use a cat,” the vocal legislator said on the eve of Dr Ruto’s inauguration.

His Rarieda counterpart Otiende Amolo now claims a series of blunders by dishonest individuals around the ODM leader led to his defeat in last month’s polls.

They not only messed up the nominations, leading to low morale but also painted a rosy outlook when the situation was different, he noted.

Mr Otiende added that the Orange party must retreat to establish where the rain started beating them.

“We as the Orange party must go back and ask ourselves where the rain started beating us. There are people who cheated Mr Odinga till the last minute, we know them and we shall ask them hard questions,” said Dr Otiende.

Kenyatta role

Mr Boniface Mwangi, who was a member of Mr Odinga’s running mate Martha Karua’s campaign secretariat, has come out to claim that the Azimio team failed due to the involvement of Mr Kenyatta which made it hard to shed the ‘projects’ tag.

“Because of Uhuru’s incessant and ill-advised utterances, Raila and Martha struggled to shake off the ‘projects’ tag. Far from being ‘state projects’, Raila and Martha’s reformist credentials needed no emphasis. Unfortunately, Uhuru was the chairman of Azimio, a position that I stated publicly that he should resign from,” said Mr Mwangi.

The activist also pointed to certain figures in the Azimio secretariat, saying that they were not ready to receive advice, and at the same time could not speak the truth for fear of being kicked out.

“The secretariat ignored feedback on how to make the campaign resonate with Kenyans, including withdrawing old men and people facing criminal charges from our rallies, getting more youthful voices on the campaign stage, and having local leadership at the centre stage instead of having one man run the show at all rallies. Politics is local,” he said.

The lack of coordination in the campaign team, he noted, resulted in the formation of two factions- campaign board, chaired by outgoing Laikipia Governor Nderitu Muriithi, and the secretariat led by Elizabeth Meyo.

Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat said there were too many centres of power.

But Mr Muriithi yesterday told the Nation that there was no need for blame games saying that the two teams did what he described as an ‘exemplary’ job despite the outcome of the elections.

Homa Bay Town MP Opondo Kaluma asked the Azimio leaders to move on and desist from blame games noting that some of those pointing fingers did not contribute anything to Mr Odinga’s State House bid.

“Some guys who contributed nothing to Azimio presidential votes have been blaming Junet for everything. Let’s soldier on,” said Mr Kaluma.

Early this week, Mr Odinga defended his campaign secretariat which has come under sharp criticism for not protecting the coalition’s presidential votes.

He added that despite Azimio having agents across the country, the team failed to have a counter mechanism to the intimidations and blackmails the agents went through in United Democratic Alliance (UDA) zones.

“When there are too many centres of power, you will find that things will not cook well. Everything was done from the top down but somehow, it fizzled out before it got to the ground. When I went to the polling stations, it got to a point that there was fear of being an Azimio agent in areas perceived as UDA strongholds,” said Mr Salat.

The fight in Azimio has dominated Twitter where certain lawyers who are close to Mr Odinga like Donald Kipkorir have blamed the Azimio Secretariat for lying that things were in control when they were not.

The arguments have been supported by Narok Senator-elect Ledama Olekina recently saying that the problem happened hence there is no need to blame games but the focus should be on fixing it.

“There is some painful truth to this matter but for now let us be part of the solution. A time will come when the good, bad and ugly must be told, named and shamed,`` Mr Odinga’s chief agent lawyer Saitabao Ole Kanchory said.

Mr Muriithi yesterday told the Nation that there was no need for blame games saying that the two teams did what he described as an ‘exemplary’ job despite the outcome of the elections.

“When the results are not the one desired, people will now tend to point fingers and it is a very unfortunate situation. I am not aware of any push and pull. What I saw was a very large temporary organisation performing superbly,” he said.

Homa Bay Town MP Opondo Kaluma asked the Azimio leaders to move on and desist from blame games noting that some of those pointing fingers did not contribute anything to Mr Odinga’s State House bid.

“Some guys, including elected leaders, who contributed nothing to Azimio presidential votes have been blaming Junet for everything. Let’s soldier on,” said Mr Kaluma.

Early this week, Mr Odinga defended his campaign secretariat which has come under sharp criticism for not protecting the coalition’s presidential votes.

Mr Odinga through his presidential campaign spokesperson Prof Makau Mutua said his team delivered on their mandate and hence should not be attacked for Azimio’s presidential loss.

“Importantly, let me state clearly that the issue of agents was not the cause of a bungled election. We must appreciate that it is not the responsibility of candidates to protect the vote or conduct a free and fair election. That constitutional duty lies squarely with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) working in concert with relevant institutions. No one should blame Azimio or our candidates for stolen votes or a fatally flawed election,” said Prof Mutua in a statement.

Additional reporting by Kassim Adinasi

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