ODM chief back at Coast to quell Azimio tension
Azimio-One Kenya presidential flagbearer Raila Odinga yesterday kicked off his four-day campaign tour of the Coast with a series of meetings and rallies in Tana River county.
Raila called on Azimio aspirants and supporters to remain united against their “common enemy” in form of Kenya Kwanza.
While addressing aspirants in Hola, Raila for once appeared to tone down on his call for six-piece voting in favour of ODM and insisted on unity within the coalition as the key strategy to defeat Kenya Kwanza.
He also asked Azimio candidates to engage aspirants who lost in the nominations and embark on the healing process to convince them to remain within the coalition.
“I want us to engage in a healing process with aspirants who did not make it during nominations. Do not let them join the rival camp,” the ODM boss said.
He continued: “Talk to them and convince them to return to Azimio. It does not mean that they will have nothing to do within. We will accommodate some of them to work within the county government while others will work at the national government.”
Raila’s tour at the Coast appears to be a response to defection of his key allies, notably Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi to Deputy President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza alliance.
Raila will today camp in Kingi’s Kilifi backyard to drum up support for Azimio, as he fights to forestall a growing threat by Kenya Kwanza at the Coast that has seen him lose his former allies.
The ODM boss has at the same time urged local leaders within the coalition to ensure the healing process is concluded within the next one week such that by the time the candidates submit their nomination papers to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the coalition will have a strong team to run campaigns.
He said the campaign is like a war and the coalition understands that the candidates will be required to be armed with ample arsenals to counter the enemy.
In the light of the above, he said his team is finalising the process of developing the manifesto, which he said will be ready this week.
“The manifesto will be launched in Nairobi where all candidates will be invited to witness. There will be the main manifesto and popular version of the manifesto that will give our candidates the guideline to our campaign agenda and what they will tell wananchi at the grassroots,” Raila noted.
He stated that the coalition is prepared to equip its army of candidates with sufficient arsenals to neutralise Kenya Kwanza camp.
He observed that the most important thing for the candidates is confidence, considering that they are in a strong camp called Azimio.
“We are ready to equip you in the best way we can but the most important thing is confidence and self belief. If you go into the war with weak confidence, you will be defeated. You need to walk with your heads high knowing clearly that you are part of the powerful army called Azimio, which has roots across the country,” Raila added.
“We are strong in Nyanza, Western, Eastern, Coast, North Eastern, Nairobi and parts of Rift valley. So this is a big army…so as you walk around do not be afraid of anything because you are representing a large army that carries the entire country,” he went on.
Narc-Kenya Martha Karua hailed Raila as a leader, who has fought for the country’s liberation, adding that there is no doubt that he will be the fifth president of Kenya.
“And I am not the only one saying this. It is people from Mount Kenya. They have decided and so is the entire country. If you see Mount Kenya supporting Raila Odinga, then you should know that the whole country is behind him,” Karua said.
“We were together fighting for second liberation, we were together fighting for the new Constitution even in those times he has failed to win the presidential election he continues to fight for Kenyans,” Karua said.
She dismissed the rival Kenya Kwanza as people who have fought for nothing and, therefore, they do not deserve to occupy the presidency.
On his part, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho said it is Raila’s time to occupy Statehouse, adding that he is keen to succeed him immediately when his time expires.
Raila led a series of rallies in Garsen and Gongoni (Magarini) areas to popularise his presidential bid.
Today he will be in Kilifi before moving to Kwale tomorrow and to conclude the tour in Mombasa on Saturday.