Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 00:00 -- BY FELIX OLICK
LET'S WORK TOGETHER: President Uhuru Kenyatta with Mombasa Deputy Governor Hazel Katana, Likoni MP Masoud Mwahima, Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir and Kilifi women?s representative Aisha Juma at Moi International Airport, Mombasa, yesterday.
PRESIDENT Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy are working to win over Raila Odinga’s most loyal supporters.
Because of the Jubilee strategy, Raila has summoned his MPs today to a Parliamentary Group meeting to discuss, among other things, their referendum plan and how to respond to the ruling coalition.
"The meeting will be about the referendum and the signature collection exercise," said a notice from ODM yesterday.
As part of the wider strategy to isolate Raila and his referendum supporters, the Jubilee leaders are wooing leaders from Kisii, Western Kenya and Coast regions that voted for Raila almost to a man at the last election.
The President has already appointed Professor Sam Ongeri from Kisii an ambassador and multiple sources say he is set to appoint New Ford Kenya leader Eugene Wamalwa and former Speaker Kenneth Marende to key positions.
For the last two days, Uhuru and Raila have camped in Mombasa, where Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi has, in Ruto's presence, told Raila to stop the referendum campaigns.
In an interview with Citizen TV on Tuesday night, Raila warned of a Jubilee's strategy to wrestle away his traditional strongholds. He vowed to meet his coalition supporters to rally them to wholeheartedly champion the referendum cause.
The former Prime Minister warned of a wider plot by the ruling coalition to infiltrate the Coast, Western and parts of Nyanza – regions that the opposition chief is banking on to make the referendum happen.
During the PG meeting today, the lawmakers will take a common stand on the referendum push as they seek unity following recent cracks in the Orange party.
“Our main agenda will be on the referendum. But we shall also discuss party unity and the all- important party discipline,” said an MP who did not wish to be named.
Last week, leaders from Raila's Nyanza and Western strongholds exchanged bitter words over an alleged list that that elbows out Budalang'i MP Ababu Namwamba from the top leadership.
ODM executive director Magerer Lang’at revealed that during today’s meeting, lawmakers would take up specific roles to spearhead in the referendum, saying the plebiscite run-up was entering a critical stage.
“Part of the agenda for the meeting is that MPs and Senators will be getting a role to play in the referendum. It shall also be a session for briefing and debriefing on many issues,” Magerer said yesterday.
But speaking on Tuesday, Raila maintained that President Kenyatta and DP Ruto are pushing leaders from Coast, Western and parts of Nyanza to form their own political outfits to weaken his grip on the regions.
“I can share with you a Jubilee strategy document which says that Jubilee should focus on the three areas. They are encouraging leaders to form regional parties to balkanize ODM,” Raila said in a televised interview.
Raila spoke in an apparent reference to threats from a section of Coast leaders to ditch ODM and form a regional party, following the ouster of Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung'aro as Cord Minority Whip.
Last week, calls for Ababu and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula to quit Cord intensified, with Amani leader Musalia Mudavadi warning the duo that Raila will not allow them to ascend to top national leadership.
There are unconfirmed reports that Uhuru is reaching out to former Speaker Kenneth Marende as well as former Westlands MP Fred Gumo.
- See more at: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-186957/uhuru-ruto-target-raila-strongholds#sthash.Etmj1Ax3.dpuf