ODM leader Raila Odinga received a heroic welcome in Budalang’i on Wednesday during his second-day tour of the western region.
Mr Odinga, who will spend two days in the backyard of embattled Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba, brought business to a standstill in Mau Mau after his arrival.
Mr Namwamba recently resigned as secretary-general of ODM alongside Funyula MP Paul Otuoma, who relinquished his vice-chairman position.
Mr Odinga rode on an open pickup truck though his supporters wanted him to walk with them to the grounds.
Waving at residents lined on the roadside, the Orange party chief had a difficult time accessing the grounds as his supporters demanded he address them.
A section of the crowd, however, dampened the celebratory mood after the former prime minister finished his speech as they started chanting Namwamba’s, name prompting a scuffle.
Police, however, dispersed them.
NO JUBILEE PROJECT
Mr Odinga said most of the projects being implemented by the Jubilee administration were commissioned during the Grand Coalition government, when he was prime minister.
“Construction of the Sigiri Bridge could have been initiated then but the other side of the government denied us funds. There is no development project that this government has initiated. They are implementing the Grand Coalition’s plans,” said Mr Odinga.
“The Bumala-Port Victoria road was tarmacked during my time as a prime minister; the fish cooling plant was set up then. We commissioned the tarmacking of many roads here and I am sure you remember. If we did all that with half the government what will we do with the whole government? “asked Mr Odinga.
Mr Odinga is waging a spirited campaign to maintain his grip on the western Kenya bloc that voted for him in the last election in the face of a strong onslaught from the Jubilee coalition.
The visit is meant to calm a restless region whose leaders have accused him of frustrating them in the Orange party and vowed to explore other alternatives.
Mr Namwamba two weeks ago quit his position as secretary-general while Mr Otuoma resigned as vice-chairman, jolting the party in the region.
Besides, senior politicians from the region, led by Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, have been rallying members of the Luhyia community to abandon Mr Odinga and vote for one of their own.
At the rallies, ODM deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya warned that the Luhya community should be careful not to be divided by Jubilee, saying the move would deny the community bargaining power.
“They have planned to have Busia County join LPK, Kakamega and Vihiga join ANC and Bungoma to move to New Ford-Kenya. This is a colonial tactic of divide and rule. Let us resist as one people,” said Mr Oparanya.
At other stopovers, police dispersed youths waving placards in support of Mr Namwamba and chanting anti-ODM slogans.
Mr Odinga was accompanied by governors Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia), Oparanya (Kakamega) and Cornell Rasanga (Siaya), Senator Hassan Omar (Mombasa) and MPs Florence Mutua (Busia), Geoffrey Odanga (Matayos) and Andrew Toboso (Butere).
After a short rally, Mr Odinga left for Port Victoria, where he is expected to hold a meeting with ODM delegates from Budalang’i before holding a rally at the Budalang’i centre and thereafter pitch tent in Funyula constituency.