ODM leader Raila Odinga has rallied his supporters to prepare for the 2022 General Election by acquiring national identity cards and registering in large numbers as voters.
His message on Saturday appeared to target the youth in Nyanza and Western regions, who have attained the voting age but are yet to apply for ID cards and register as voters, as he steps up his campaign ahead of the 2022 General Election.
The former Prime Minister said at least two million youths in Nyanza are reluctant to apply for IDs and register as voters despite being at least 18 years old.
Mr Odinga, who has been endorsed for the presidency, said: "I cannot vie if my people have not registered for IDs and voters cards. I will first gauge the number of people who are registered before I make my announcement on the presidential race, so take this matter seriously.”
Mr Odinga, leader of the Orange Democratic Movement, told his supporters that he could change his mind and opt out of the race if the number of registered voters remains low, as voters are the weapons one relies on to win an election.
"I have seen where we are going and mastered all the ways to manoeuvre through the journey. Nyanza residents should support me in his journey by registering as voters. My aspirations depend on voter registration," the ODM leader said.
He spoke at Omoche village, Homa Bay County, on Saturday during the burial of Robinson Nyacharo, father-in-law of Rangwe MP Lilian Gogo.
Mr Odinga, while maintaining that he is still concentrating on his bid to ensure a united and peaceful Kenya, also rallied his supporters to register as voters so as to elect leaders of their choice.
He cautioned that the DPs dynasty-versus-hustler rallying call is a dangerous trajectory that has the potential of upsetting the country’s peace and stability.
Leaders from the region said it was unfortunate that a large number of youths lacked ID cards despite being of age.
Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang, Rangwe, Homa Bay Town’s Peter Kaluma and Nyatike’s Tom Odege were among those who accompanied Mr Odinga to the burial.
Also present were ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna, Alego Usonga MP Samuel Atandi, Busia Woman Rep Florence Mutua, former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga.
While attending a burial in Siaya County, ODM leaders told Deputy President William Ruto to prepare for a bruising battle in the August 9, 2022 General Election.
They accused the DP of launching early campaigns for his bid to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta and failing to deliver on his mandate as the second-in-command
Led by Raila Odinga's elder brother Oburu Oginga, they said it is irresponsible for Dr Ruto to remain in office while undermining the projects initiated by the government.
The Deputy President, in response to such criticism in the past, has said national projects for the public’s benefit remain a priority.
Mr Oginga, the East African Legislative Assembly member of Parliament, said: "The DP should realise this is a marathon, not a sprint. He has been going around the country competing against himself.”
Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo accused the DP of sending mixed signals on whether he supports the government or is in the opposition.
"This is a joint presidency. The DP should learn to take both credit and blame for what the Jubilee administration has or has not done," he said during the burial of former West Uyoma councillor James Akello Ombuoro.
"He cannot tell Kenyans that he has now discovered what they need," he said on Sunday.
Mr Atandi asked the DP to resign honourably.
Mr Odinga also used the gathering to advocate for the rights of the girl child, saying teenagers are suffering sexual assault, hence a rising number of pregnancies among young people in the region.
He noted the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic had on this – schools were shut for many months and children exposed to more risks.
The ODM leader further drummed up support for female politicians seeking elective positions, saying they should be given the opportunity to do so.
"We need to shun traditional practices that prevent women from contesting for political seats. They should have equal opportunity because they have the same political right as men," he said.
He also noted that several female politicians have contributed immensely to ODM’s popularisation so they should be given chances to serve in elective posts.
Mr Odinga also advanced his Azimio la Umoja (Call to Unity) initiative, which he said is meant to unite the country and help it grow economically.
He said, however, that he is concern about the government’s failure to promote the blue economy in Lake Victoria.
"This region will have roads and industries. Youths will no longer have to travel to towns to look for jobs because they will practice value addition at their doorsteps," he said.