Orange party leader Raila Odinga will on Saturday kick off his State House campaign in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s backyard, a major signal that the Central Kenya vote is at the heart of his election strategy.
Raila will lead the Azimio La Umoja brigade to Thika, Kiambu County, where he is set to hold what will be his first campaign rally in the election year.
Thika has some nostalgic significance for Raila, having been the venue at which he launched his 2005 campaign against the draft Constitution alongside Uhuru and other members of the Orange team.
The campaign would culminate in the defeat of the Constitution, that was being spearheaded by President Mwai Kibaki and eventual formation of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).
It created momentum for the hotly contested 2007 General Election between the two, leading to post-election violence.
On Wednesday, Raila said he would address residents of Thika to popularise his presidential bid in a region that has in previous elections voted against him.
In July 2017, Raila had to cut short his campaigns in Thika town after rowdy youths confronted and stoned his motorcade.
Police fired teargas canisters to disperse the violent youths who accosted the opposition leader as he was addressing residents from the top of his car.
However, his Handshake with Uhuru seems to have changed Raila’s relationship with the Mt Kenya region with key leaders from the area endorsing his quest for State House.
In attendance will be Mt Kenya tycoons close Allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta.