Raila Odinga Is Hard To Sell, These Aspirants Worried

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Raila Odinga

The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party is confronting the dilemma of its aspirants in Mt Kenya shunning Mr Raila Odinga ’s symbol on their campaign posters and avoiding marketing his presidential bid, citing hostility from voters.

Some aspirants have resorted to using Jubilee Party colours and are avoiding campaigning for Mr Odinga so as not to jeopardise their own bids in a region largely perceived as backing Deputy President William Ruto and his United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

Mr Odinga, who has secured the endorsement of President Kenyatta, is looking to turn the tide in a region where he has performed poorly in the last four presidential elections but reluctance by some of his foot soldiers there has rang the alarm bells.


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His strategists say Mr Odinga is targeting at least 1.5 million votes to help him get over the 50 percent plus one vote to win the presidential elections in the first round. This explains the decision to address the panic among his allies in Mt Kenya before it hurts his fifth bid for President.

Initially whispered in silence, the concern that even some Azimio bigwigs were growing cold feet boiled over in public forums attended by Mr Odinga in Kiambu and Muranga.

Azimio announced that it will not fund campaigns for aspirants in the region who don’t publicly associate with Mr Odinga and popularise his candidature.

This was proposed by area Azimio bigwigs and endorsed by Mr Odinga when he met Murang’a aspirants on Wednesday at Thika Greens Hotel.

The warning came as aspirants appeared to have boycotted associating themselves with the Odinga presidential pitch, preferring to package themselves as Jubilee party aspirants.

“We want footsoldiers who are brave and optimistic. In Mt Kenya we know it might be tougher than in other areas. But keep the faith and remain committed to the cause. We have other fronts that are performing very well in this war and I guarantee you that we are winning,” Mr Odinga said.

He said he knows footsoldiers require “guns and bullets” ( read campaign financing) to face the battle.

“Those who have shown commitment will get lots of ammo from me. Do not have any doubts about that. I have since directed that we get ward, constituency and county campaign committees and sync them with the presidential campaign secretariat that has former Jubilee Party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju as the executive director,” he said.

If by pushing for his candidature the aspirants lose their seats, they should not worry as they will get appointments in government if Azimio wins, Mr Odinga said.

“Do not be worried at all. We will win. Stand tall and campaign for Raila. Do not fear that if you associate with me, you will lose. If you lose, the Azimio government is big, and Raila will appoint you to it,” Mr Odinga said.

National Assembly Majority leader Amos Kimunya, during a forum attended by Mr Odinga with Kiambu leaders, lifted the lid on the matter, saying, some Azimio candidates in Mt Kenya had chosen to campaign for their seats and had refused to market Mr Odinga.

“We have to focus on all our seats, and the big one that Raila Odinga is looking for. Do not be distracted by anybody that in some places you cannot talk about Raila [in Mt Kenya]. If you cannot sell Raila’s candidature, then why are you in Azimio? So let us go down to the ground; to the people. When you leave here, go to the ground, assemble people at the polling centre, and talk to them. It is not a hard exercise. It can be done,” Mr Kimunya told the Kiambu forum.


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