ODM leader Raila Odinga
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga plans to hold 31 meetings during his four-day tour of Western region next week.
The campaign by the party comes against a backdrop of resignations by leaders from Western region, which is one of the party’s strongholds.
The planned charm offensive was arrived at during the party’s Central Management Committee (CMC) meeting held yesterday to discuss modalities of stemming the tide of dissent.
Although ODM Director of Communications Philip Etale said the visit had nothing to do with the current crisis in the region, it is not lost on observers the intensity of Raila’s itinerary in the region.
On Monday, Raila will be in Vihiga County where he will have nine meetings, starting with one in Sosa Hotel before winding up with a roadside rally in Hamisi.
On Tuesday, the ODM leader will still be in Vihiga where he is scheduled to have eight meetings.
On Wednesday and Thursday, he will be in Busia County where he will have 10 meetings before winding up his tour in Kakamega where he is scheduled to address four meetings starting with Town Hall in Matungu and ending with a public rally in Musanda.
Yesterday’s CMC meeting took place in the absence of ODM Secretary General Ababu Namwamba (MP Budalang’i), who has publicly declared that he has resigned from his position. However, the committee is yet to receive resignation letters from Mr Namwamba and Paul Otuoma (MP Funyula) who also announced his resignation from the position of vice chairman.
The meeting held yesterday under Raila’s chairmanship opted to dwell on what they viewed as pressing matters and deferred discussions on the Namwamba-led revolt.
“Since the party has not received resignation letters from the members who are reported to have announced their resignation from various party posts, the matter was deferred until they hand in the letters,” said Mr Etale in a statement sent to newsrooms.
But even as the party put on a strong face in the unfolding crisis in the region, Migori Senator Wilfred Machage yesterday threatened to lead the Kuria community out of the party.
Mr Machage was conspicuously missing during Suna East MP Junet Mohammed’s homecoming rally last Friday. Raila attended the event.
Machage’s threat comes hot on the heels of the move by leaders in Kisii, Coast and Western regions to ditch the Orange party.
In a phone interview with The Standard, Machage said he skipped the Friday rally because he anticipated crowd intolerance because of infamous negotiated democracy in the last polls.
Machage said the Kuria community, which is a minority in the county, felt ridiculed and offended, and it remained to be seen whether they would vote for Raila in next year’s electionsHe challenged the Luo, the majority in the county, to play their role as “big brother” and ensure other tribes felt included in ODM.
Machage’s move is seen as a response to the challenge by Kitutu Chache South MP Richard Onyonka to the Kuria community. Onyonka challenged the Kuria to join the Abagusii in forming a political party that would serve their interests as a marginalised community.
Onyonka’s statement comes after some Kisii leaders, led by Kisii Senator Chris Obure, called for a political party to spearhead the community’s interests.
He, however, said forming a political party was not in any way a means of fighting Jubilee or CORD but ensuring the community’s interests were served.
In a show of defiance, the Kuria, through their select committee secretary Matiko Bohoko, said they would no longer negotiate with parties but with individuals.