Raila’s headache in Western as Mudavadi wards off reunion
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga faces a major headache in his fights to sustain his grip of the Western region in the next General Election.
The region is regarded as Raila’s second most critical voting bloc after Luo-Nyanza. The region rallied behind the former Prim e Minister in 2007 and 2017 presidential elections.
But on all the two occasions, he had the backing of Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi; who was his running- m ate in 2007 and his campaign manager in 2017.
Mudavadi is now in the race for the top seat with political pundits saying the move would scuttle Raila’s fifth attempt at State House.
Mudavadi has declined overtures to drop out of the contest in favour of Raila. That is the Herculean task Raila faces.
The ANC leader con tested the presiden cy in 2013 an d garn ered n early half a million votes, which observers say could have gone to Raila, who was seeking the presidency with Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka as his running mate.
Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya who is the ODM deputy party leader, Cen- tral Organisation of Trade Unions Secre-
tary-General Francis Atwoli and Devolu- tion Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wam alwa the ODM leader’s cam paigners in the re- gion. The other key local Raila backers are governors Sospeter Ojaam ong (Busia) and Wilbur Otichillo ofVihiga.
There is growing debate on whether Raila can attract the western bloc without the backing of Mudavadi and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetangula.
Oparanya yesterday told People Daily that he is Raila’s poin tm an in the Luhya community and that he would not bow to any pressure to back Mudavadi.
“Nobody should lie to you that Western is locked behin d Mudavadi. And no one should think Raila cannot win over our community without the support of Muda- vadi. We are on the ground,” he said.
The governor reiterated his am bition to be his party leader’s presidential running- m ate in next year’s polls. He said there was nothing wrong with Raila picking him as his presum ptive deputy as he did the sam e in 2007 when he settled on Mudavadi.
Political analyst Amukowa Anangwe says Raila n eeds Mudavadi more th an the latter needs him. He observes that the ODM leader’s efforts to use Mudavadi’s critics to reach out to the region would not bear fruits.
“They should have learn t som ethin g from the Matungu and Kabuchai by- election s on March 4. They used all the resources at their disposal but still lost to candidates allied to Mudavadi and Senator Moses Wetangula,” said Anangwe.
Mudavadi’s allies said they had no room for negotiations if their leader was still being undermined by their counterparts allied to Raila.
Businessman Fred Ikana who is one of the ANC chief’s close associates said Mudavadi will go for nothing short of the Presidency.
“We have put all mechanisms in place and have no time to negotiate with Raila or anybody else.We however gladly invite him and our other opponents to join us in this contest,” said Ikana who has set his eyes on the Shinyalu parliamentary seat.