ODM leader Raila Odinga has assured nominations losers that the party will consider them for other engagements when he forms the next government after the 2022 elections.
Raila said this when he received at least 100 defectors from various parties at the Cleopatra Grounds in Malindi town yesterday.
The ODM party’s statement was seen as trying to allay fears that the forthcoming party primaries that have threatened to tear its unity, with loyalists claiming newcomers are being favoured.
Contesters for the Mombasa governor seat on ODM are businessman Suleiman Shahbal and Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, while in Kilifi, Devolution Chief Administrative Secretary Gideon Mung’aro has thrown his hat in the ring.
“ODM is a party of democracy and when a cooking stick breaks, it does not mean it’s the end of cooking. All those who will lose will be considered in other engagements,” he said.
Raila, who is in touring the Coast region, was accompanied by Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, Machakos’ Alfred Mutua, Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi, Siaya Senator James Orengo, Kilifi’s Stewards Madzayo and MPs Teddy Mwambire (Ganze), Ken Chonga (Kilifi South), Junet Mohamed (Suna East) and Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa) and several Kilifi MCAs and aspirants for several political positions within the county.
“Remember when you oppose your rival, your fellow contestant after losing the nomination, you are rivalling the ODM party since they, too, have ODM votes. We will not forsake those who will have lost the nomination; they will be considered for other opportunities,” said Raila.
He dismissed competitors who had downplayed his enhanced social protection proposal by claiming the government was broke.
Raila has promised that his government will pay Sh6,000 monthly to poor families and youth to bridge the poverty gap.
Raila’s welfare programme plans to reach at least 8 million people in one year after its rollout. “There are those who have been saying that it is not practical, but I want to tell them that having served as prime minister, I know how I will fund the programme. I will seal all the graft loopholes to get money to finance the programme,” he said.
He added: “I’ve said no Kenyan should sleep hungry in this country, and that is why we shall roll out the biggest social protection in Africa, and it is happening in Namibia.”
The ODM leader called on the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to go slow on small and micro-enterprises.
Mr Kinyanjui said he supported Raila’s presidential bid and his efforts to unite Kenyans.
“I have my own party, but I decided to support Odinga and walk with him to unite Kenyans. I decided to work with him after the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and the ODM leader to unite Kenyans and bring development,” he said.
Dr Mutua said Kenyans deserved better education and jobs to sustain their families, which could only be achieved if responsible and visionary leaders were elected.
“I have known Raila Odinga for many years and… he is the best candidate to serve and unite Kenyans,” he said. Mr Mwambire said he was slowly fulfilling the promise he made to ensure all those who abandoned the party were brought back and accommodated.
“As I said three months ago, that I will ensure that I recruit more members to the party, this is the first successful recruitment Baba,” he said.