CS Fred Matiang'i rallies Gusii leaders behind Raila Odinga

Fred Matiang’i

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i has been meeting Azimio leaders from the Gusii community to galvanise support for the coalition’s presidential candidate Raila Odinga.

The latest meeting was on Wednesday where leaders resolved to unite so that they can win as many elective seats as possible. It was the first meeting that brought together all Azimio aspirants from Kisii and Nyamira counties after nominations that Dr Matiang’i was chairing.

In the Wednesday meeting held at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, the CS implored on the Azimio aspirants to galvinise votes for Mr Odinga.

"The bickering amongst us must end. We need to focus on our main goal of ensuring victory for Mr Odinga," said Dr Matiang’i.

The meetings place the Interior CS at the heart of Gusii politics and amplifies his big role in the 2022 succession plan.

 They come in the backdrop of constant bickering, particularly among ODM leaders in Kisii County, where the outgoing governor, James Ongwae, has been accused of undermining the candidacy of Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati.

Speaking to the Nation, Mr Arati said Dr Matiang'i stopped short of reading the riot act to the leaders to either unite or lose in the polls.

"We had a very sincere conversation and the CS was clear; either we unite or get white-washed at the ballot," said Mr Arati.

During the meeting, the leaders opposed zoning in the region. It was, therefore, resolved voters choose on their own MPs, MCAs and Woman rep aspirants contesting on various parties allied to Azimio.

A source said, "The question of zoning is a tricky one. What we resolved is to have the best candidates win but those who have no new ideas and are unpopular were advised to step down and support stronger candidates."

The essence of the meeting, the source added, was to look for ways of consolidating Mr Odinga's votes and representation of various teams from regional, county and constituencies levels.

The leaders vowed to push for 95 per cent voter turnout in the August elections.

Some leaders took issue with the representation in the Raila Odinga's campaign presidential team, noting that Nyamira was left out.

They said Kisii had Mr Onyonka, Mr Ongwae and Mr Arati.

Nyamira, on the other hand,had Mr Omogeni, Woman rep Jerusha Momanyi and nominated MCA Rene Nyakerario.

Political observers believe that the squabbling and backstabbing among ODM leaders has created the leeway for the Kenya Kwanza Alliance and its leader and Deputy President William Ruto to start making inroads in Kisii reversing the many gains the party made in the past.