Odinga, Moi new found relationship
Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s visit to Eldama Ravine last Sunday and his apparent rapprochement with former President Moi is raising speculation about his new effort to recapture the Rift Valley vote.
The perceived closing of ranks between the two started two weeks ago when Mr Moi and his aide, Mr Joshua Kulei, attended the wedding of the PM’s son, Raila Odinga Jnr.
The speculation intensified when Mr Odinga picked Mr Moi’s son, Gideon, to head a Mau resettlement committee whose members include East African Community minister Musa Sirma, assistant ministers Magerer Lang’at and Beatrice Kones, as well as Sotik’s Joyce Laboso — all the PM’s allies.
The younger Moi’s appointment is intriguing, given that his father is associated with the Kiptagich Tea Factory, earmarked for demolition in the next phase of the forest’s restoration.
Analysts say while it might be a little late in the day to win back the support of a region, it is important to tone down the community’s antipathy towards Mr Odinga after he severed links with the region’s de facto leader Eldoret North MP William Ruto.
Were he and Mr Moi to work together, it would be a dramatic reunion after they differed in 2002 when Mr Odinga led an exodus of top Kanu leaders from the party to protest Mr Moi’s choice of Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta as his preferred successor, a move that effectively quashed the latter’s bid for State House.
Mr Odinga had, despite having been detained for nine years by the Moi administration, joined the party in its sunset years under the Kanu-NDP merger.
Energy assistant minister Magerer Lang’at told the Sunday Nation on Friday: “It would have been pretentious for us to claim we have the people when key leaders like Mr Moi were not with us. We don’t want to repeat the mistake made by the other group,” he said, referring to the Ruto camp.
“We acknowledge that everybody cannot be in ODM, but we can work together with the other leaders in a structured manner so long as there is no question about who the presidential candidate is.”
He said the PM had adopted a new approach of meeting target groups together with holding rallies.
“We shall be visiting county after county because the needs of every region are unique. We shall also be talking to professionals, business people, church leaders, youth and women’s groups.”
The Kipkelion MP said ODM leaders in the Rift Valley had decided to debunk the myth created by the rebel MPs that Mr Odinga had wronged the community
“Wherever we go we shall be asking what Mr Odinga’s charge sheet is. Because you cannot accuse somebody without a charge sheet containing his alleged transgressions,” he said.
He said the PM had in the past week met the Kalenjin Council of Elders chairman Maj (rtd) John Seei, and more meetings had been lined up for other leaders from all Kalenjin sub-groups