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Kisii leaders warming up to Raila Odinga

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By RUTH MBULA
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ODM leader Raila Odinga is marshalling his troops in Kisii as he seeks the support of elected leaders ahead of the anticipated constitutional referendum through the Building Bridges Initiative, (BBI).

On Wednesday, the former Prime Minister met governors James Ongwae and John Nyagarama who, sources say, are at the heart of his agenda in the region.

The meeting, held at Mr Odinga’s Capitol Hill office, was also attended by Kisii Senator Prof Sam Ongeri, Woman Rep Janet Ongera, MPs Richard Onyonka, Jimmy Angweny, Samuel Arama and Simba Arati.

Sources say the two governors, who were elected on an ODM ticket, will be instrumental in implementing initiatives by Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta who became allies after their historic March 9, 2018 handshake.

The leaders who attended the meeting will be key in scuttling inroads made by Deputy President William Ruto in the region, sources said.

Mr Ruto enjoys the support of most MPs in Kisii with deputy governor Joash Maangi leading the brigade. The meeting also consulted on a number of developmental issues. The Nation has established that apart from BBI, the ODM leader asked them to support the handshake and the Big Four agenda. Contacted for comment, the two governors and Mr Onyonka declined to give details of the meeting only stating that it was not unique.

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“Mr Odinga has been meeting so many groups from all over Kenya,” said Mr Onyonka.

“We have always felt comfortable with Mr Odinga because he is our immediate neighbour. We are the biggest beneficiaries of the handshake because our largest market is in Luo Nyanza.”

The vocal MP said the strong relationship between Mr Odinga and the Kisii community was historical.

Mr Odinga has been enjoying backing by both Kisii and Nyamira counties after support for him faded towards the 2017 election giving Jubilee considerable votes from the region.

Then, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i led the Jubilee brigade into marshalling support for the party, a move that put him at loggerheads with the ODM party leader.

But Mr Odinga is now keen to consolidate his support in the region. He has of late been praising Dr Matiang’i in what some locals claim is a larger political scheme.





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