Uhuru’s team pile pressure on Raila’s ODM accept new deal and serve DP Ruto a humiliating defeat

File image of Raila Odinga and John Mbadi

Details have emerged on how President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party is piling pressure on Raila Odinga and his ODM party to pull out of the Bonchari by-elections in favour of Jubilee’s candidate so as to serve DP Ruto and his UDA troops a humiliating defeat.

The race is quickly turning out to be a test of strength of the union between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his ‘Handshake’ brother Raila Odinga amid concerns that DP Ruto’s UDA candidate could snatch victory should both ODM and Jubilee field candidates thereby splitting the votes.

After intense lobbying, Jubilee’s deputy secretary-general Joshua Kutuny confirmed that he expects ODM to pull out of the race in the ‘Handshake’ spirit.

“These are discussions going on because, honestly, Jubilee has the stronger candidate. We will persuade them to drop their candidature in favour of Jubilee,” said Mr Kutuny.

The decision is not an easy one for both parties and especially ODM that holds that the region is its political stronghold and would like Jubilee to similarly cede ground in the high-stakes push-and-pull between Jubilee’s Zebedeo Opore and Orange party candidate Pavel Oimeke.

Jubilee Party officials
Jubilee Party officials

ODM chairman John Mbadi said that “It would have been better if we did not compete against each other.”

“The initial thinking was that they allow us to field a candidate because Kisii is an ODM stronghold. However, we know that local politics played a role in Jubilee’s decision to also field a candidate. Some local leaders wanted to consolidate their positions,” he added.

His Homabay Town counterpart Opondo Kaluma however faulted Jubilee for destabilizing the region and the handshake.

“Jubilee is destabilizing the ‘Handshake’ by fielding a candidate in ODM’s Nyanza stronghold. Such an unwise move could unsettle the ODM base and prove costly in the long-run,” Mr Kaluma said.

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