Raila Odinga moves to quell growing revolt in his Nyanza backyard

Raila Odinga

Azimio party leader Raila Odinga greets the crowd during a rally at Gusii Stadium in Kisii town on February 17, 2023.

Photo credit: Ondari Ogega | Nation Media Group

Opposition leader Raila Odinga yesterday made a triumphant entry to his Nyanza backyard in Kisii, with a strong warning to President William Ruto that his “liberation movement” was unstoppable.

Mr Odinga, who is expected to address a rally in Kisumu today, said he was not worried by schemes by President Ruto to lure MPs and other leaders from Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party to his side, saying, he enjoyed massive support from ordinary Kenyans.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) boss said he will forge ahead in his fight to protect the Constitution and promote electoral justice and good governance. The former premier, who received a heroic welcome in Kisii and Nyamira counties, used his Gusii tour to send a strong warning to the Kenya Kwanza administration against the recent raid by police at the home of former Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.

In a show of solidarity with Dr Matiang’i who hails from Gusiiland, leaders who attended the rally at Gusii Stadium said they will do whatever it takes to protect their son.

Gusii Declaration

Mr Odinga read the “Gusii Declaration”, marking Gusii as an opposition stronghold that will play a key role in the liberation movement. He was received by Mr Arati, MPs Obadiah Barongo (Bomachoge Borabu), Clive Gisairo (Kitutu Masaba) and Irene Nyakirario (nominated), ODM National Treasurer Timothy Bosire and several MCAs. Mr Odinga was accompanied by his running mate in the presidential election Ms Martha Karua, Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, former Defence CS Eugine Wamalwa, former Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Jubilee Secretary-General Jeremiah Kioni.

Governors James Orengo (Siaya), Ochilo Ayacko (Migori), Senators Ledama Ole Kina (Narok), Edwin Sifuna (Nairobi) and Godfrey Osotsi (Vihiga) and a host of elected leaders from Nyanza and Western also attended the rally. Mr Musyoka criticised Azimio politicians who were cosying up to Dr Ruto.

“Those rushing there are doing so to seek protection from the many sins they have committed,” he said. But even as Mr Odinga promised to deal with the rebels in Kisii, those now leaning towards President Ruto were in Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s Nairobi office for yet another meeting with the Kenya Kwanza team. The MPs that met the DP yesterday were Kisumu Senator Professor Tom Ojienda, Phelix Odiwuor aka Jalang’o (Langata), Bondo’s Gideon Ochanda, Mark Nyamita (Uriri), Elisha Odhiambo (Gem) Paul Abuor (Rongo), and Caroli Omondi (Suba South).

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 Additional reporting by Angeline Ochieng