Jolted by fears of a loss in a constituency that has been described as his “bedroom,” Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga has taken charge of last-minute campaigns for the party’s candidate in the upcoming Kibra by-election.
Although campaigns for ODM candidate Bernard “Imran” Okoth was initially to be coordinated by the party’s Nairobi branch chairman George Aladwa, Mr Odinga is said to have been forced to personally take charge of the vote-hunt amid worries that Deputy President William Ruto’s campaigns for Jubilee Party candidate MacDonald Mariga had made unexpected inroads in the constituency.
His move is said to have also been influenced by internal polls conducted by both the Jubilee and ODM parties that portrayed a scenario of a possible split of votes among opposition coalition National Super Alliance (Nasa) candidates.
And, in a change of strategy, the former prime minister has embraced boardroom and town hall meetings, a break from his past preference for political rallies that attract multitudes.
On Saturday, Mr Odinga led a meeting involving members of the Kamba community in which governors Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Alfred Mutua (Machakos) pledged to support the ODM party candidate. A day before that, on Friday, Mr Odinga led another campaign meeting involving members of the Gusii community who are voters in Kibra constituency.