Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga have camped at the Coast to woo new members as parties marshal their troops ahead of the 2022 polls.
Mr Odinga said the Orange party would recruit young members in the region while the DP scoffed at leaders cobbling tribal alliances.
The ODM boss fired back, telling his rival to stop lecturing him on election manifestos. He said his agenda was birthed long before Jubilee was formed, as the two continued to feud over whose pro-poor policies were realistic.
Critical voter base
Parties are in an aggressive member recruitment drive with the registrar revealing they have listed 16.2 million, with ODM claiming its membership is 4.5 million as the Ruto-linked United Democratic Movement (UDA) claimed 2.4 million members.
Mr Odinga’s announcement signals a scramble for youthful members, a key voter constituency, considering projections indicate 9.2 million new voters will join the voters’ roll by next year, a number observers say could influence the outcome of the General Election.
It’s this critical voter base that UDA is keen to tap on with its hustler nation campaign strategy intended to charm mostly youthful members in informal businesses, a group that is spread across the country.
“We have old members of our party. What we are doing is allowing an opportunity for the younger people to also join the party so that they can meaningfully participate in the planning and management of the party as we head into the polls,” he said.
“This registration is a process of inclusion to bring new blood into the party so that they can work together with the older members to make the party stronger,” Mr Odinga told mourners on Sunday at Tiribe, Kwale County, during the burial of local ODM leader Hassan Chitembe, a former councillor.
The DP said UDA would end tribalism and improve the economy with a bottom-up model.
“As other leaders are joining forces to come up with tribal outfits, we are planning to unite Kenyans, and when they plan to change the Constitution, we are coming up with strategies to improve the economy,” he said.
Speaking at a meeting with over 1,000 women in small businesses from 35 wards in Kilifi South Constituency, the DP said the current system of government has let down many Kenyans.
“In UDA, we have agreed that it’s important to set a new system in Kenya to end tribalism in our politics and come up with strategies to economically empower everyone without discrimination, and also develop the country,” he added.
The UDA boss criticised the push to change the Constitution, saying, the interests of the country are not in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) campaign.
“We should forget about BBI and focus on building our economy. That way, we will fight the biting effects of poverty. It’s not possible that the constitutional amendment that will give power to leaders and create more positions will change the poor life of the citizens,” he added.
“They are saboteurs who rejected everything that was meant to improve the lives of the people, wasted the four years that was meant to complete our Big Four Agenda, and changed all the programmes to reggae and constitutional amendment,” he claimed.
Additional reporting by Maureen Ongala