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Raila Odinga (left) and Kalonzo Musyoka.

| File | Nation Media Group

Raila, Kalonzo on collision course ahead of Makueni rally

Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga is on a collision course with Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka ahead of a rally in Makueni tomorrow.

The planned meeting is causing jitters in Ukambani amid claims that Mr Musyoka has been sidelined by the Orange team. His allies have even threatened to boycott the rally due to the friction.

Mr Odinga yesterday met a delegation of grassroots leaders from Kitui, Machakos and Makueni counties ahead of the South Eastern Kenya bloc’s ‘Azimio La Umoja’ forum. 

Mr Musyoka’s camp has protested that Mr Odinga is working with governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos), Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) to undermine the former vice president.  

“We shall be in Ukambani on Friday. We are still consulting with leaders ahead of the Ukambani chapter of the ‘Azimio la Umoja’ forum planned for Makueni,” Mr Odinga told delegates at Chungwa House yesterday.

Separately, the ODM boss met Prof Kibwana who accepted an invitation to attend the meeting. “This is the time to share and digest ideas that will save our country. Like Muungano Party, ODM subscribes to the UTU economic model,” he posted on tweeter. 

The governor was re-elected on a Wiper ticket and named party chairman but he has since fallen out with the outfit. Yesterday, Makueni MP Daniel Maanzo said the Wiper fraternity will boycott the rally. 

He accused Mr Odinga of using local governors to penetrate the region instead of going through Mr Musyoka. “Using the governors means Raila does not understand Ukambani well. It is a clear indication he does not wish to work with Wiper going forward,” he said. 

Although Dr Mutua and Prof Kibwana have separately declared their presidential bids, they are perceived to lean towards Mr Odinga.

While Dr Mutua has accompanied Mr Odinga to some of his meetings, including one in Gatanga, Prof Kibwana has been blowing hot and cold. The three governors do not believe in Mr Musyoka’s presidential campaign. 

The Orange party said ODM executive director Oduor Ong’wen and Prof Kibwana had discussed “arrangements for working together”. 

He listed the strengthening of devolution among his plans should be manage to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“We shall ensure that the national government devolves all the money which is meant for counties and that the money is put to good use to develop the devolved units. Ukambani is expansive. Some of the places like Mua hills in Machakos County receive a lot of rainfall, while the lowlands regions are mainly arid and prone to famine,” he said.

“But there are rivers such as Tana that snake through Ukambani. We shall build ponds and dams to harvest rain water, which we shall use to irrigate farmlands. We shall also sink boreholes and pipe the water so that residents do not travel far to access water. This are some of the plans we have to improve the living standards of our people,” he added. 

Mr Odinga has been traversing the country promoting unity, while hitting out at Deputy President William Ruto’s ‘hustler’ narrative. 

“I am consulting Kenyans on what they want before I decide whether I should contest the presidency. We should move this country together,” he said. 

The Friday rally comes hot on the heels of a series of meetings by the DP in the region. 

Dr Ruto accused the ODM leader of short-changing Ukambani when he reconciled with President Kenyatta three years ago. In the 2012 and 2017 polls, the region voted overwhelmingly for Mr Odinga, who ran on a joint ticket with Mr Musyoka. 

They have since parted ways and Mr Musyoka now accuses Mr Odinga of betrayal. But the former vice president, who said he would be a fool to support Mr Odinga for the thirds time “without a measure of reciprocity”, has been under intense pressure to support the ODM leader. 

“Kalonzo is a good leader, just like One Kenya Alliance principals Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetang’ula and Gideon Moi. But they cannot beat Mr Odinga in terms of votes. If we decide to go it alone as the Kamba community we will be disadvantaged,” Ms Ngilu said recently.
 
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