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UKAMBANI Governors escalate campaigns for Raila as they pitch tent in Kitui

Three Ukambani Governors have continued rallying the region to back ODM leader Raila Odinga for his State House bid in this year’s polls. 

Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu (Centre) hosts her Machakos and Makueni counterparts Alfred Mutua and Kivutha Kibwana respectively during the opening of Mutomo Kicotec branch.Photo/COURTESY

The three county bosses Prof. Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni), Dr. Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Charity Ngilu (Kitui) on Saturday continued with their spirited campaigns for Mr. Odinga to become the Kenya’s fifth president.

The three who were joined by a section of Azimio leaning top bigwigs pitched tent at Mutomo town, Kitui South in Kitui County.

Earlier in the week the trio held similar meetings in Makueni and Machakos.  To stem up their support for ODM leader in his quest to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta, Muungano and Narc parties led by Kibwana and Ngilu respectively held a joint National Delegates Conference at Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi on Friday to endorse Odinga as their preferred presidential candidate. The former Prime Minister addressed the event moments after flying back into the country from India and Dubai.

The three governors who have been attacking Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka in their series of rallies have also been launching various projects done by their respective county governments. At Mutomo, it was Ngilu’s turn as she opened a new branch of the controversial Kicotec- a garment making factory that was dramatically established in 2018 at Syongila village in the outskirts of Kitui town.   

The governors were joined by ODM deputy party leader and Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Jubilee politician Peter Kenneth, ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna and Azimio leaning leaders and aspirants from the three counties that make Ukambani.  

Their relentless push for an Odinga Presidency by the governors got a major boost as the ODM brigade and Mr. Kenneth wooed the residents to join the Azimio bandwagon. Speaker after speaker, the Azimio Movement lieutenants warned residents against voting for Deputy President Dr William Ruto. Recent opinion polls have indicated that the UDA party leader is ahead of Mr. Odinga in the State House bid.

Retreat to Tseikuru

Governor Oparanya called on Kalonzo who is one of the One Kenya Alliance principals to team up with the three governors and join the Azimio coalition. Kalonzo who had vowed that he would rather resign from politics and retreat to his Tseikuru rural home than support Raila for a third time seems to have made a u-turn after earlier this week indicated he was ready to have talks with like-minded leaders including Raila.

“I call on you unite and support Raila Odinga so that he can form the next government which all of us will be part of,” Oparanya said.

 This comes even at a time the former VP’s allies have maintained that Azimio should join the OKA and support Mr. Musyoka’s presidential bid.

Wiper leaders including Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua, his Makueni counterpart Mutula Kilonzo Junior and Mavoko MP Patrick Makau have criticized the three Ukambani governors for attacking their leader whom they have maintained is the undisputed region’s kingpin.  

On his part Peter Kenneth said Ruto cannot lead the country terming him as disrespectful to other leaders and even other countries. “He has abused the President, Raila and recently he abused Congo,” Kenneth said.

Sifuna said the ODM party chief was better placed to lead the nation arguing that he understands the presidency roles better than his competitors. “Baba understands the assignment very well. He knows what is troubling Kenya, unemployment and strained standards of living standards,” he said.  He added that under 100 days of Odinga’s presidency the price of maize flour will decrease to affordable levels.

The Kalonzo factor

But even as the calls for Odinga’s presidency in Ukambani heightened, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria said Raila’s Presidency was impossible without the backing of Kalonzo. He spoke during a thanksgiving event at Thika Stadium in Kiambu County after jetting back to the country from Dubai where he was undergoing treatment for more than three months after sustaining burns on his foot last year.

“Even Raila knows there is no way Charity Ngilu, Alfred Mutua and Kivutha Kibwana can replace Kalonzo Musyoka. If Raila doesn’t sign Kalonzo to Azimio, he should prepare for Ruto’s coronation not even swearing-in,” Kuria said.

The vocal lawmaker also termed it as a huge blow for Raila loosing Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetangula to the DP’s camp.  “It means he has made Western votes one of the areas he has to do some heavy lifting whereas it could be a walk over, “he added.


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