Cord Leader Raila Odinga has identified new regional point men — his Summit — as he prepares for the 2017 elections. In an aggressive strategy in the past two weeks, Raila has already launched two social media platforms, a website and an SMS targeting young people who are the majority of voters. Raila is yet to announce if he will be running for President but his activities strongly indicate he could give it another try. The move to identify regional pillars of support has been motivated by Raila’s desire to keep his numbers and popularity, multiple sources said.
The ODM leader has already identified influential opposition politicians from his strongholds to make up the team that will be Cord’s second-most powerful decision-making body. The Summit, his top tier, will be fashioned like the now-defunct Pentagon that drove his campaigns in the run-up to the 2007 presidential polls. It will be tasked with mapping campaign strategies to sell the opposition leader. Apart from his co-principal Moses Wetang’ula, Raila has also identified Funyula MP Paul Otuoma, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Senator Boni Khalwale to join his team. In Eastern, Rail has kept his co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka and Johnstone Muthama as the key people. He is yet to identify someone from lower Eastern since Tigania East MP Mpu Aburi started drifting towards Jubilee.
In Nairobi, the ODM leader will take charge himslelf, having been an MP for Kibra for two years. It is understood that Raila will later rope in Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, MP Tom Kajwang and Senator Elizabeth Ongoro. In Rift Valley, the former Prime Minister has identified Isaac Rutto, Jackson Kibor and Turkana Governor Josephat Nanok as forces to help him regain the region’s backing. Raila has also identified Kajiado Central MP Memusi Konchori. Rift Valley voted for Raila overwhelmingly in 2007. Orengo, the new co-chair of the Cord coordinating committee, has been given the responsibility of ensuring Nyanza voters get voter’s cards and turn out on election day.
Orengo will be free to pick his regional team to ensure free and fair party nominations. Nominations of dubious fairness cost ODM a great deal in the last elections. Mombasa will be managed by ODM deputy leader Ali Hassan Joho and Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi together with Wiper Secretary General Hassan Omar. In 2007, Raila had key personalities inthe former eight provinces who helped campaign for him. They included current Deputy President William Ruto who represented Rift Valley province, Wycliffe Mudavadi (Western), Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala (Coast ), Joseph Nyaga (Central) and Charity Ngilu (Eastern). Raila is said to have approached Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto to join the Summit. Rutto will be tasked to try to woo back the Kalenjins to Raila’s fold Mohammed Elmi and Wajir Senator Abdirahman Hassan will be his new point man in North Eastern.