In executing his game plan that has sent reverberating effects across the political divide, Raila Odinga is making calculations that will culminate in him succeeding Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022.
In the elaborate vote-hunting strategy, Raila is locking in ODM’s traditional support bases as he penetrates Jubilee party strongholds in readiness for what is touted to likely be a very hotly contested elections.
Raila, according to sources, is playing politics of re-branding by maintaining what his insiders term as loyalty and dropping political coat-hangers who, they say, join him during election years and desert him at the hour of need as it happened during his purported swearing-in ceremony as “People’s President”.
It is this strategy that is behind the frequent meetings at his Capitol Hill offices where scores of hitherto Ruto supporters, including elected leaders, have been trooping to pledge allegiance to the ODM leader.
Insiders intimate that Raila has assured his inner core that he will be on the presidential ballot in 2022, and more so, has secured the tacit support of Uhuru Kenyatta in executing the plan. In the scheme, Raila is mobilizing a war kitty to rival that of his main opponent, Ruto, politically and financially destabilizing his perceived competitors, consolidating support in his traditional strongholds, identifying new faces across hostile regions to form an alliance with, using his newfound status in the government to employ provincial administration to coerce opponents.
His next action is planting friendly faces at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, and finally breaking up National Super Alliance to team up with Kanu and Jubilee to ensure a smooth ride. The former Premier has zoned the country into eight regions, previously former provinces and marked them either as red, green or battleground.
He is now assembling an arsenal to retain or capture them. The former provincial zones were Nairobi, Coast, Western, Nyanza, Central, Rift Valley, Eastern and North Eastern.
The regions falling under red are those his rival enjoys massive support such as the Kalenjin dominated sections of Rift Valley together with sections of Mount Kenya. In these regions, the ODM leader has intensified his bids to woo the deputy president’s backers to cross to his side and in the latest development, he has won Laikipia woman representative Kate Waruguru, Laikipia North MP Sarah Korere and North Imenti MP Rahim Dawood.
In DP Ruto’s Kalenjin backyard, Raila has on his side Baringo senator Gideon Moi and Chama Cha Maashinani leader Isaac Ruto.
In the past three elections – 2007, 2013, and 2017 – Raila heavily relied on friends and donors to raise his campaign money but some like the controversial businessman Jimi Wanjigi let him down by failing to fulfill their pledges, a mistake he does not want to repeat.
Instead, Wanjigi is said to be working on the re-branding of ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi as Uhuru successor. Raila has now personally embarked on raising funds and to this end, has been pushing for firms associated with him and his cronies to get government tenders.
Last week, one of his firms, Spectre International bagged a multi-million shillings tender to supply water in parts of Kisumu county which will see it pocket millions of shillings, some to be channeled to the campaign. Interestingly, Spectre was in the news a few days ago when it faced auctioneers over an Sh7.7 million debt it owes a Mombasa firm, Betric Kenya Ltd.