Ruto targeting Raila strongholds with Kalonzo being considered to have a soft spot for Odinga’s base ahead of 2027 polls.
Traditional strongholds of Raila Odinga are increasingly being targeted by influential political figures in the government and “friendly fire” from the opposition coalition.
While it is widely believed that Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka has a high chance of inheriting Raila’s support, political rebels and President William Ruto have launched a joint offensive to seize the regions from the seasoned politician should the former prime minister give Musyoka the go-ahead.
The 77-year-old opposition leader is already under pressure from a group of Nyanza politicians led by former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero to step down from active politics and hand the reins to younger people.
President Ruto has also made political overtures in areas where he did not have support by distributing government positions to them in preparation for elections in 2027.
Coast, Gusii, Western, and North Eastern are in the sights of Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza Alliance government.
Since then, some politicians from these areas have deserted Mr. Odinga; the most recent examples are the resignations from ODM of the former governor of Kisii, Evans Ongwae, and the former Woman representative, Janet Ong’era.
While opening the five-day agricultural expo in Mombasa on Thursday, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua revealed their plans to challenge some of Mr. Odinga’s strongholds in anticipation of the year 2027.
“We are hopeful that you will abandon the person you have been supporting because we have good plans for this region,” DP Gachagua told residents.
“We have given you cabinet secretaries – Salim Mvura (Mining) and Aisha Jumwa (Public Service) – principal secretaries, Senate Speaker (Amason Kingi) and we are still going to give you more,” said the DP.
However, according to a publication by Daily Nation, political commentator, and lawyer Dunstan Omari said Nyanza leaders agitating for change have no backing of the voters in the region.
He argued that most of the politicians will be forced back to Mr. Odinga’s fold when they realise that they do not have the support of the people.
“The people from Luo Nyanza who are walking to Ruto are not going with any votes. They are walking to Ruto so that some of their court cases can be dropped, among other favours. They are strategically moving there and will troop back in 2027 because people are not with them. This is the time for people to migrate and will go back to their communities when the time comes,” he said.
Strategists in Kalonzo Musyoka’s circle believe that Raila Odinga is unlikely to run again for the presidency in 2027 and have since started to project him as the alternative face of the opposition. Raila Odinga is 77 and will be 82 when the country holds its next General Election in 2027.
Before the elections on August 9, Mr. Musyoka announced that he will launch his campaign for president in 2027 right away.
He had declared that he will emulate Dr. Ruto, who launched his campaign to succeed former President Kenyatta as soon as they were reelected in 2017.
Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua – a close ally of Kalonzo Musyoka said that Wiper is already preparing its party leader for the presidency come 2027.
He said the former vice-president will continue making political forays not just within Azimio strongholds but also in other regions that did not back the coalition.
He stated that an endorsement by Raila would be a major boost for Mr. Musyoka’s second stab at the top seat.
“He is a national leader and will be making visits not just in Nyanza but in all parts of the country. It would also be okay if Raila throws his weight behind him.
“As Wiper, we are preparing for a stab at the presidency. Expect more of those visits in all parts of the country. He will continue engaging his contacts, and old friends while building new networks in readiness,” said Mr. Wambua.
Although it is still too early to start running for office, Kitui Central MP Makali Mulu described Mr. Musyoka as a politician with ambitions to be the president of the nation.
According to ODM Chairman John Mbadi, Mr. Musyoka has a special place in the hearts of Mr. Odinga’s supporters because of his steadfast backing. He claimed that Mr. Musyoka’s intention to travel to Nyanza was not unexpected given his aspirations for the presidency.
“It is a good move for him to reach out to the Azimio support base if he is keen on running a successful bid. He will certainly need Raila’s support. He will need to reach out to Nyanza, Coast, and Western which have traditionally been Azimio support bases.”