Raila dangles jobs to deputy race losers

Raila core team

From left to right: Hassan Joho (Lands), Wycliffe Oparanya (Treasury), Peter Munya (Agriculture) and Kenneth Marende (Speaker Senate). They are part of the core team unveiled by Raila Odinga on Monday May 16.

Azimio la Umoja presidential flagbearer Raila Odinga yesterday May 16 unveiled a core team he said would enable him form the government if he wins the August 9 elections, dangling Cabinet positions to regional kingpins in a bid to boost his vote hunt.

Following his nomination of Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua as his running mate, Mr Odinga moved to apportion government positions to some of the unsuccessful Azimio deputy presidential candidates in a bid to lock their backyards as campaigns enter the homestretch.

And in a demonstration of his intention to empower the DP’s post in his government, the former Prime Minister announced that apart from being his principal assistant, Ms Karua would also double up as Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Constitutional Affairs. Ms Karua served in the same post in the Grand Coalition government.

At the same time, Mr Odinga named Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka Chief Cabinet Secretary in the anticipated Azimio government.

Mr Musyoka gave the Ms Karua unveiling ceremony a wide berth to chart his own presidential campaign path with Narok senator hopeful Andrew Sunkuli as his running mate.

“I nominate Hon. Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka as the Chief Cabinet Secretary and Hon. Kenneth Marende as the Speaker of the Senate,” Mr Odinga announced.

The proposed nomination of Mr Marende as the Senate Speaker-designate is seen as Mr Odinga’s way of countering Deputy President William Ruto’s offer for Western region following his agreement with Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula that the seat currently held by Mr Kenneth Lusaka be reserved for him.

Mr Marende served as the National Assembly Speaker in the Tenth Parliament (2007–2013) but his nomination by Mr Odinga is also seen as a calculated move to persuade him to drop his Vihiga gubernatorial quest that could have disadvantage ODM candidate and incumbent Wilbur Ottichilo.

Yesterday, to further entice the Western region vote bloc and to counter Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi’s influence, Mr Odinga also nominated Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya as the designate CS for the National Treasury.

The ODM leader said he would retain Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya in his docket, if he were to win, as he further nominated the CS to be the chairman of the Kenya Productive Sector. Mr Munya is vital in Mr Odinga’s camp as he is earmarked to rally Mt Kenya East into the Azimio leader’s fold.

Mr Odinga also nominated Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho as the Lands Cabinet Secretary designate “to be able to address the historical injustices meted on the coastal people and solve the land question in the country.”

Mr Joho’s nomination is also seen as a move to counter any possible inroads by DP Ruto in the coast region through Pamoja African Alliance leader and Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi.

“The public servants I have nominated above need no introduction. Their commitment to Kenya, to change, efficiency and their energy speaks for itself,” Mr Odinga announced.

The ODM leader also announced formation of 12 regional teams, which he said will drive the Azimio campaigns.

“In the quest for this new Kenya, I have worked out a programme that I believe will make our dreams come true. First, I have created 12 formations to drive the Azimio campaign. The leadership of these teams will be announced on Wednesday,” Mr Odinga said.

The teams include National Azimio Women, National Azimio Youth, Nyanza and Western campaign team, Rift Valley Team, Central Kenya Team, Coast Team, Team Nairobi and Team Ukambani.

Others are Nakuru, Laikipia and Nyandarua Unit, Team Mt Kenya East, North Eastern Team and Samburu, Marsabit and Isiolo Azimio Unit.