Wanjigi begins three-day Nyanza tour as he seeks to dislodge Raila
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) presidential aspirant Jimi Wanjigi landed in Nyanza yesterday and declared he was firmly in the 2022 race.
Wanjigi, who was making his first trip to ODM leader Raila Odinga’s turf asked Nyanza residents to vote for him during the party primaries.
“I know that our party leader is also running for President. But he believes in internal party democracy and this is the reason I am freely here to popularise the party and myself,’’ he said.
Wanjigi asked ODM members and leaders to embrace the spirit with which it was founded and accommodate the alternative views in the party and build its own internal democracy.
“Let us not castigate those with divergent views but let the voice of reason and maturity mark our politics. I am challenging Raila, but he is my great friend. He hasn’t told me not to do so.’’
Wanjigi told off a section of the party officials who failed to turn up at the Kisumu International Airport to welcome him saying he wasn’t cowed by their actions.
“ODM is not a Luo party. This is a national party and I want to move around to give it more national colour and help rejuvenate its grassroots strength,’’ he told the press at the airport.
But the local party officials gave him a cold shoulder. Wanjigi told the press that he had informed the party machinery of his intended three-day tour.
“Kisumu is my home. I have been here before in private capacity to visit many friends around and so I feel privileged to return but this time with a bigger agenda to discuss,’’ he said Wanjigi was given a thunderous welcome by several youths who received him at the airport.
But Kisumu county leaders and party officials said they were not aware of Wanjigi’s official visit.
Kisumu ODM Coordinator Ayiecho Olweny claimed they only learnt of his presence and visit through the media.
ODM Deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya said he was unaware of the trip.
“He didn’t inform us. I am also not aware he is raiding my party leader’s turf. I will find out,” Oparanya said.
Olweny said: “We were called for a party meeting in Nairobi at Orange House. All the Nyanza county chairmen. I don’t know of his visit to Nyanza.”
“Let him meet the people he has scheduled to. Maybe party delegates. But as a county co-ordinating team, we are not roped in… Maybe he will in the near future,’’ he added.
Kisumu Central ODM leaders led by Seth Kanga and vice Evans Otieno also denied knowledge of Wanjigi agenda.
“We don’t know whom he is meeting but we are told he is around,’’ claimed Kanga.