Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga’s political rally in Busia took an unexpected turn on Monday when a violent confrontation erupted among a segment of the youth, signaling a rocky start to his three-day tour of Western Kenya.
The chaos unfolded following an incident where Busia Governor Paul Otuoma, recently accused of sympathizing with the Kenya Kwanza movement, was shouted down by a section of the crowd at Busia Polytechnic. Otuoma, after being verified as ODM member number 32, faced resistance from some audience members, leading to a volatile situation.
In the aftermath of the governor’s encounter, running battles ensued as ODM supporters scattered in an attempt to avoid the escalating tension.
The disruption came as Raila embarked on the second phase of the party’s membership recruitment drive, holding two meetings and rallies in Busia County.
Seeking to address internal dissent within the party, Raila assured ODM supporters that he would take measures to rectify party structures, particularly in regard to nominations.
This response was prompted by concerns raised by party members and officials about the chaotic party primaries, which they claimed contributed to voter apathy among ODM supporters during the general election. Additionally, members questioned the denial of nomination slots to committed campaigners in county and national assemblies.
Raila addressed these concerns directly, mentioning that issues raised by MP Oku Kaunya regarding the party primaries would be handled through party structures. Despite the internal challenges, Raila expressed his commitment to strengthening ODM and urged supporters to focus on the larger goal of achieving political transformation.
In a bid to rally support, Raila emphasized his longstanding relationship with the Teso community, recalling their political journey that dates back to the Jaramogi era. He encouraged the community to stand with ODM.