What you need to know:
- Deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya on Sunday hosted a delegation from West Pokot County, led by ODM chairs Joseph Akaule and Rhoda Katalai, at his Likuyani home in Kakamega County.
- He seized the opportunity to dismiss claims that their Kabarak meeting with Mr Moi was meant to endorse his 2022 presidential bid.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is keen on making inroads into Deputy President William Ruto’s turf in the Rift Valley.
Deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya on Sunday hosted a delegation from West Pokot County, led by ODM chairs Joseph Akaule and Rhoda Katalai, at his Likuyani home in Kakamega County.
“We have launched campaigns to revitalise the party in Deputy President William Ruto's North Rift home turf,” the Kakamega Governor revealed.
ODM, he said, wants to penetrate the region to restore the supporter base it enjoyed in the run up to the 2007 elections.
“We have made plans to re-open party offices and recruit new members in the region. We will soon have a series of activities that will give the party a new life in the region," he said.
The team from West Pokot affirmed its commitment to strengthening the party ahead of the next General Election and pledged support for Mr Odinga and Mr Oparanya.
On Saturday, Mr Oparanya, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and Cotu Secretary-General Francis Atwoli led a delegation from Western to a meeting with Kanu chair Gideon Moi.
Mr Oparanya told the Nation that the visit was part of ODM’s plan to build alliances in the region before the polls.
“We have to strengthen Baba’s (Raila’s) position ahead of 2022,” Mr Oparanya said on Sunday.
In Likuyani, he seized the opportunity to dismiss claims that their Kabarak meeting with Mr Moi was meant to endorse his 2022 presidential bid.
“Our main agenda was to ensure all leaders, regardless of their party affiliations, work together for the benefit of our nation. Nothing like endorsements were discussed," he said, adding it was unfortunate that some people read too much into political gatherings.
“It was CS Wamalwa who requested me to go to Baringo to assess the flood situation there,” he said.
“The Senator then invited us for lunch so we seized the opportunity to come along with a few MPs so that the aspect of politics would also be there,” Mr Oparanya said, adding they would continue to build alliances with like-minded individuals.
“At Mr Moi’s home, we agreed that we will jointly support the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and our leader Raila Odinga.”
Meanwhile, Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi, on Saturday hosted more than 100 youths from Nyanza under the umbrella of ‘Nyanza Youth Movement for Ruto 2022’.
The group was led by Mr Stephen Midenyo and Mr Everest Okambo.
Before Covid-19 halted mass gatherings, the DP had taken his 2022 presidential campaigns to virtually all regions except Luo Nyanza.
MP Sudi and his Kiharu counterpart Ndindi Nyoro last month made a discreet visit to Bondo and Kisumu in what they described as “private functions” but which had strong political inclinations.
They met youth leaders to mobilise support for the DP in the region.
The Nation has learnt that the Saturday meeting attended by MPs Kimani Ngunjiri and Didmus Barasa was to prepare the delegation to meet DP Ruto.
The DP’s allies used the meeting to form a committee that pledged to campaign for Dr Ruto in 2022. Mr Midenyo said the region cannot continue suffering.
“It is ODM which fought for devolution but if you look at Luo counties, there is nothing to smile about,” he said.
Suba South MP John Mbadi, who is also ODM chairman, however, dismissed the meetings.
“Such meetings will have no impact on DP’s 2022 State House bid, for one to penetrate Nyanza politically, he must have blessings of Baba,” he told the Nation.
Homa Bay Woman Representative, Gladys Wanga, termed the meeting as ‘inconsequential’.
“Those claiming to be opinion shapers from Nyanza are lying to the DP’s camp that they will deliver votes. They are political conmen. Let them eat while it lasts,” said Ms Wanga.