Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka will this morning kick off a series of roadside rallies to popularize Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
Marketed as the resumption of political activity after a long festive weekend, the three-day campaign run will see Mr Musyoka and Kanu chairman Gideon Moi address a series of roadside rallies in Machakos, Makueni, Taita Taveta, Kwale and Mombasa counties.
“We shall be drumming support for our presidential candidate, Raila Amolo Odinga,” Mr Musyoka said Wednesday in a short video clip in which he called on Wiper politicians to mobilize their supporters to the rallies in the major townships along Mombasa-Nairobi highway.
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Mr Musyoka is also planning to use the rallies to popularize candidates who secured Wiper tickets to contest various seats.
In a short video clip he has published on social media, he said the campaign will culminate with a mega rally in Mombasa on Saturday to popularize former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko who is eying the Mombasa governor seat on a Wiper ticket.
The road trip comes in the backdrop of a heated debate on who becomes Mr Odinga’s running mate.
Mr Odinga’s campaign has sparked a furore among Mr Musyoka’s supporters by indicating that the Wiper leader would not be issued with a direct nomination as a deputy presidential candidate.
As a result, the hardliners in Mr Musyoka’s camp have threatened to jump out Mr Odinga’s bandwagon if the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader does not nominate Mr Musyoka as his running mate unconditionally.
At the same time, Mr Musyoka has rubbed allies of Mr Odinga in Mombasa the wrong way after nominating Mr Sonko to vie in a region which is widely seen as an ODM stronghold.
Similarly, governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos), Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) accuse Mr Musyoka of stifling Mr Odinga’s campaign in Ukambani and, unknowingly, playing into the hands of Deputy President William Ruto who is also angling to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The former vice president is expected to use the roadside rallies to stem a looming fallout among his troops in Ukambani following the just concluded party nominations.
A last minute decision by Wiper to dole out direct nomination tickets especially to the sitting politicians has irked Mr Musyoka’s allies who were eyeing the party tickets to contest the August 9 General Election.
Many of those dissatisfied with Mr Musyoka’s decision to issue direct nominations have since ditched the party in protest and secured nominations as independent candidates.
The disgruntled lot includes Willie Malile, a former Makueni County government official who hoped to challenge Kibwezi East MP Jessica Mbalu for the Wiper ticket at the party primaries, and Mbula Mutula, a Wiper nominated MCA in Makueni County who hoped to challenge Makueni Woman Representative Rose Museo at the party primaries.
The two erstwhile allies of Mr Musyoka have kicked up a storm by ditching Wiper in a huff and securing nominations as independent candidates after the two MPs bagged the Wiper nomination tickets.
Mr Malile has since written to the chairperson of the Wiper elections board Agatha Solitei demanding refund of the Sh250, 000 he had paid as fees for the nomination exercise that did not take place.