Raila Odinga crafts new team for 2022 presidential bid

Raila Odinga and Kivutha Kibwana

Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and ODM leader Raila Odinga address a roadside rally in Emali on November 12, 2021. Prof Kibwana backs Mr Raila in the 2022 presidential race.

Photo credit: Pius Maundu | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • ODM chief expected to announce his fifth stab at the presidency in Nairobi next month .
  • Interior CS Matiang’i and Governor Ongwae have been charged with delivering Kisii and Nyamira vote. 

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga has created new centres of power ahead of the announcement next month of his intention to contest the presidency in 2022. 

The new allies and nerve centres charged with mobilising support are in clusters and will be directly answerable to him. Also being set up is a national campaign secretariat. 

The strategy is to compensate for any support that may drift from him should he fail to patch up things with members of his National Super Alliance (Nasa) team in the 2017 election like Wiper Party boss Kalonzo Musyoka, ANC’s Musalia Mudavadi and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula of Ford Kenya.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and Kisii Governor James Ongwae have been charged with delivering the Kisii and Nyamira counties vote. 

Under them are the likes of Dagoretti North MP, Simba Arati, who is mobilising the  diaspora support.

The trips Deputy President William Ruto has been making to the region underpin the importance aspirants are putting on Kisii and Nyamira.

National Assembly Minority Whip, Junet Mohamed, said ODM took the step of seeking new partners when Nasa disintegrated.

“They are not replacement of  Nasa per se.  We are making forays into Mt Kenya and other places. Our Nasa friends are welcome but we can’t sit by and wait for them,” Mr Mohamed said. 

But it is the team made up of governors Charity Ngilu (Kitui), Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) and Alfred Mutua (Machakos) that has surprised observers. 

They are supposed to checkmate Mr Musyoka, who was Mr Odinga’s running mate in 2013 and 2017.

“Although we are competitors with Mr Odinga, we shall sit and agree on how to work together,” Governor Mutua said on Friday.

Sources in Mr Odinga’s camp told the Sunday Nation that the “dream team” would be unveiled at Bomas of Kenya on the same day he is expected to announce his fifth State House bid.

Mr Ben Agina, a journalist and a former staffer at the British High Commission, is expected to become the chief of staff. 

The ODM leader has been receiving defectors from other parties, with his publicity wing getting a boost from Royal Media Services owner SK Macharia.

The wing under Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, though not new, will ensure the Mudavadi supporters exodus does not dent Mr Odinga’s backing in Western Kenya. It is also made up of Busia and Vihiga governors – Sospeter Ojaamong and Wilbur Ottichilo respectively.

Then there is the Coast team,  which has newcomers like Lands Chief Administrative Secretary Gideon Mung’aro. He will work with Mr Suleiman Shahbal and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho.

In Northern Kenya, Petroleum CS John Munyes takes the place of Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok who now works with Dr Ruto. Treasury CS Ukur Yatani and Mandera Governor Ali Roba are expected to turn the tide in favour of Mr Odinga.

The Mt Kenya and diaspora team is made up of possible running mates like governors Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru), Francis Kimemia (Nyandarua) and Ndiritu Murithi of Laikipia. Also mentioned is former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth. Nominated MP Maina Kamanda and Kieni’s Kanini Kega are in the group too.

Yesterday Mr Kamanda said they are doing all they can to lock the UDA, a party associated with Dr Ruto, out of Nairobi. 

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