Raila’s new war fronts on Uhuru

ODM leader and han­dlers have crafted multi-pronged tac­tics to mas­sively dis­credit Ju­bilee’s first term in power.

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - FELIX OLICK @olick­fe­lix

ODM leader Raila Odinga and a new team of strate­gists have crafted a multi-pronged tac­tic to dis­credit Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta’s first four years in power.

The strat­egy, rolled out by a newly formed strate­gic group and a strike force––both in his inner cir­cle––aims at mas­sively step­ping up pres­sure to un­seat Ju­bilee.

The op­po­si­tion chief and his “Dream Team” have pitched the themes of eco­nomic ex­clu­sion and sab­o­tage, de­vo­lu­tion, his­tor­i­cal in­jus­tices and mega graft as their new ral­ly­ing calls for Ju­bilee’s re­moval.

Raila elec­tri­fied the Maa­sai com- mu­nity in a two-day blitz in Narok county last week, cit­ing the his­tor­i­cal land in­jus­tices the com­mu­nity has en­dured and Ju­bilee’s fail­ure to im­ple­ment the Truth, Jus­tice and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Re­port.

Narok North MP Moitalel ole Kenta (TNA) said Maa­sais have stuck with Raila be­cause of his ef­forts to con­serve the Mau For­est that cost him the Pres­i­dency in 2013.

“Raila seems to be very sen­si­tive to the plight of the Maa­sai, while the others are ac­tu­ally out to ex­ploit them. That is a very strong mag­net that pulls the Maa­sai to­wards him,” ole Kenta told the Star.

Ole Kenta is among TNA elected lead­ers who have re­fused to join Uhuru’s new Ju­bilee Party ma­chine.

The strate­gic mes­sag­ing and rel­e­ga­tion to the side­lines of the old guard pre­vi­ously in Raila’s inner cir­cle are among a host of strate­gies the op­po­si­tion supremo is lay­ing for his 2017 bat­tle against Uhuru.

“We have known Ju­bilee’s soft un­der­belly. Men­tion the TJRC re­port that im­pli­cated them and they run hel­ter-skel­ter. With the new strate­gic mes­sag­ing, we will con­fine Ju­bilee to two re­gions,” an in­flu­en­tial ODM of­fi­cial told the Star.

The two re­gions are Uhuru’s Cen­tral back­yard and Deputy Wil­liam Ruto’s Rift Val­ley turf.

The strat­egy ap­pears to have par­tially worked in Narok, where the for­mer Prime Min­is­ter whipped up the emo­tive land is­sue as it af­fects the Maa com­mu­nity at a huge rally on Fri­day.

He also ac­cused se­nior govern­ment of­fi­cials of si­phon­ing rev­enue from the Maa­sai Mara Game Re­serve.

Raila is fight­ing to ring-fence his tra­di­tional bases in Nyanza, Coast and Western and ex­cite new vot­ers

‘WE HAVE KNOWN JU­BILEE’S SOFT UN­DER­BELLY. MEN­TION THE TJRC RE­PORT THAT IM­PLI­CATED THEM AND THEY RUN HEL­TER-SKEL­TER. WITH THE NEW STRATE­GIC MES­SAG­ING, WE WILL CON­FINE JU­BILEE TO TWO RE­GIONS’

in pas­toral­ist and marginal­ized com­mu­ni­ties, par­tic­u­larly in the North­east­ern re­gion.

Ad­dress­ing a mam­moth rally in his Kisumu bastion on Satur­day, Raila said Nyanza had suf­fered eco­nomic marginal­i­sa­tion, eth­nic dis­crim­i­na­tion and po­lit­i­cal op­pres­sion for years.

Raila claimed the three eco­nomic zones cre­ated un­der the Grand Coali­tion govern­ment in Lamu, Mom­basa and Kisumu were be­ing shifted to Naivasha, which is only 76km from Nairobi––Kenya’s eco­nomic pow­er­house.

This was also the mes­sage he com­mu­ni­cated as he went through the swel­ter­ing heat of Taita Taveta and Kwale al­most a week ago.

Be­fore Raila trav­eled to Kisumu, Mom­basa Gov­er­nor Has­san Joho had al­ready set the tempo for the ODM cru­sade.

He said Ju­bilee’s eco­nomic ex­clu­sion and sab­o­tage in­clude flood­ing Kisumu with cheap im­ports of Chi­nese fish and mov­ing the con­tainer ports of Mom­basa to in­land ports.

“The port is mov­ing to a dif­fer­ent part of the coun­try through a pol­icy that re­mains not-too-well dis­guised. That is eco­nomic sab­o­tage ... Rice is be­ing im­ported from Pak­istan in ex­change for tea ex­ports. That is eco­nomic sab­o­tage,” Joho said.

Raila and his team also claim JP is fight­ing de­vo­lu­tion and is un­able to faith­fully im­ple­ment the Con­sti­tu­tion.

The ODM team also claim Ju­bilee is ir­re­deemably cor­rupt, and cites the Sh1.9 bil­lion Na­tional Youth Ser­vice scam and the al­leged loss of the Sh250 bil­lion Eu­robond cash.

In fact, Cord has turned the “tu­nakula nyama” re­mark by Pres­i­dent Keny­atta, in a sharp re­tort to Raila in Narok, to de­pict Ju­bilee as a se­verely cor­rupt ad­min­is­tra­tion, in­sist­ing he was jus­ti­fy­ing the “it is our turn to eat” mantra.

Dur­ing the burial of Maa­sai po­lit­i­cal king­pin Wil­liam ole Nti­mama on Septem­ber 14, Uhuru hurled the barb at Raila, say­ing JP was eat­ing the meat of in­cum­bency while the Op­po­si­tion was only sali­vat­ing.

The Ju­bilee team has been try­ing to make in­roads in Cord safe seats, es­pe­cially in Kisii, Ukam­bani, Western and Coast.

How­ever, Cord think tanks be­lieve the real bat­tle­grounds and the 2017 swing vote lie with the pas­toral­ist, the So­mali and North­east­ern re­gion.

The ODM team seeks to por­tray the govern­ment han­dling of the war on ter­ror as a pub­lic re­la­tions dis­as­ter to thwart JP’s reach­ing out to the So­mali com­mu­nity.

They are fo­cus­ing on the mas­sive 2014 crack­down on al­leged ter­ror sym­pa­this­ers in Eastleigh and their de­ten­tion at the Kasarani Sta­dium that stirred an in­ter­na­tional hu­man rights out­cry.

But Raila has also rel­e­gated the old guard in his inner cir­cle to the side­lines of his new, ag­gres­sive po­lit­i­cal game plan and is work­ing with more youth­ful lead­ers.

In Kisumu, Raila told off crit­ics who say that he is not keen on youth­ful lead­er­ship and proudly in­tro­duced ODM chair­man John Mbadi, sec­re­tary gen­eral Agnes Zani and sec­re­tary for Po­lit­i­cal Af­fairs Opiyo Wan­dayi.

Raila said Wan­dayi was a match for Ju­bilee ma­jor­ity leader Aden Duale–– known for pas­sion­ately push­ing through govern­ment busi­ness in the Na­tional Assem­bly.

For some time now, Kisumu Se­na­tor Anyang’ Ny­ong’o, Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo and Nom­i­nated MP Oburu Odinga have been miss­ing from Raila’s events.

The strike force, also known as the War Coun­cil, are peo­ple who can “take the war to the Ju­bilee doorstep” and have the lan­guage to do so.

They in­clude ODM trea­surer Ti­mothy Bosire, Homa Bay Woman Rep Gla­dys Wanga, and Dagoretti South MP Simba Arati.

This strate­gic group de­signs mes­sages and is­sues re­sponses to op­po­nents.

This group also com­prises Mbadi, Wan­dayi and Suna East MP Junet Mo­hamed.

Then there are the youth­ful and en­er­getic lead­ers who can eas­ily con­nect with the youth: Mom­basa Woman Rep Mishi Mboko, her Kil­ifi coun­ter­part Aisha Jumwa and Ka­jido South MP Elija Me­musi.

On Sat­u­rady the ODM leader got a boost in con­sol­i­dat­ing his Nyanza back­yard fol­low­ing the re­turn of ODM MPs who had de­camped af­ter chaotic nom­i­na­tions in 2013.

These in­cluded Mig­ori Gov­er­nor Okoth Obado and Muhoroni MP Onyango K’Oyoo, both from the Peo­ple Demo­cratic Party. There was also Awendo MP Jared K’Opiyo, Kisumu West’s John Olago Alu­och from Ford Kenya and Kuria East’s John Ma­gaiwa.

/COUR­TESY

ODM leader Raila Odinga ad­dresses his sup­port­ers in Kisumu on Satur­day

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