Raila takes on ODM politicians over 'early' 2027 campaigns

Azimio leader Raila Odinga

Azimio leader Raila Odinga addresses a public rally during an  Orange Democratic Movement mass recruitment exercise in Rongo, Migori County on Sunday, November 26. 

Photo credit: Pool

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has moved to nip early campaigning in his Nyanza backyard, warning politicians eyeing seats in the 2027 elections to let the incumbents work first.

Speaking in Macalder in Nyatike constituency on Saturday, the former prime minister urged local politicians eyeing various elective positions to give serving leaders time to deliver to the electorates.

"Why don't you wait until 2026 and declare your interest? We only did an election last year and some of you are already back on the campaign trail," posed Mr Odinga.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) asked those who are seeking re-election or gunning for higher positions to use their development track records to ask for votes from the people.

"Early campaigns impairs performance of ODM legislators and governors," Mr Odinga said.

On November 12, Mr Odinga held similar meetings with ODM politicians in Mfangano Island in Homa Bay County where infighting among party members was spiraling out of control.

In what was widely seen as an endorsement of politicians for the 2027 polls, Mr Odinga openly drummed up support for a number of leaders in Homa Bay.

He used his signature style of lifting up the hands of politicians while heaping praises on them.

As if heeding to his party leader’s call, Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma on Friday said elected leaders in the county have decided the line-up that ODM party will have in 2027.

“Governor Wanga will be elected unopposed. People like me will wait for the next available opportunity,” he said at a funds drive at Tom Mboya University.

ODM National Chairman John Mbadi, who is currently a nominated MP and who had expressed interest in the governorship, is now said to be eyeing the Suba South parliamentary seat where he served for three terms.

If he were to run for the seat, the ODM National Chairman will compete against Suba South legislator Caroli Omondi who is now supporting President William Ruto.

Mr Odinga said he made a mistake by campaigning for the Mr Omondi in the last election during which the party was pushing for six-piece voting system.

"You know Mbadi wanted to vie for the governor seat but I told him to wait and let Wanga lead. But I also did a mistake campaigning for the other guy (Caroli) who then moved to be with the other people," he said.

Senator Moses Kajwang also got the opportunity to have his hand raised by the opposition leader.

He was described as ‘a good debater in the Senate’.

"I can only compare him with his elder brother (The late Senator Gerald Kajwang). He is a well-educated individual," Mr Odinga said.

Rangwe MP Lilian Gogo was described as one of the foot soldiers of the ODM leader.

"She is like my mother back and home and a strong member of ODM," Mr Odinga said.

The opposition leader used the opportunity to explain why ODM issued a certificate to Ms Wanga after a deal was struck with his current deputy and former MP Oyugi Magwanga.

"Just like I spoke to Mbadi, I also told Magwanga to step aside and let a woman lead as governor. He now works with Wanga," the ODM leader said.

Mr Odinga described governor Wanga as a friend and a hardworking governor.

"She was listed as the best performing governor in an opinion poll. It shows that she is hardworking," he said.

In Migori, Mr Odinga dismissed reports that UDA has registered more than 100,000 members in their ongoing recruitment drive, and asked youths to join ODM.

He said their registration will determine his next political move.