ODM leader Raila Odinga’s tour of the coastal region last weekend signaled to his political rivals that his grand march to the State House in 2022 has now begun.
Raila, who captured the hearts of some influential politicians during the tour, hinted that this was just the beginning of many surprises in the country.
He exuded confidence that the train had left the station and was headed for its final destination. “I have already spoken to the governor of Kwale, Salim Mvurya, who has agreed to take the train to the State House,” Raila said.
He spoke after his presidential candidacy was approved by five coast governors after meeting more than 600 regional delegates at the Wild Waters Center on Saturday.
The governors are Hassan Joho of Mombasa, Fahim Twaha (Lamu), Granton Samboja (Taita Taveta), Dhadho Godhana (Tana River) and Mr. Mvurya.
Raila noted that Mvurya had not come to the meeting because he was attending a funeral in his district. “Mvurya has confirmed to me that he is with me on the big march to the Statehouse,” said Raila.
Twaha, who joined Raila on Saturday after a five-hour delegates’ meeting during a roadshow in Kisauni, also had dinner with the former prime minister.
Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, who welcomed the delegates, said that Raila’s record so far had led the Coast people to believe in his leadership.
“The coastal people trust Raila because he respects them and has stood by them in good times and bad,” said Nassir.
Whole MP Teddy Mwambire, who led Raila’s campaign in Kilifi County, said the train to the State House was unstoppable. “We have faith in Raila’s leadership because he has proven that he loves the people on the coast,” said Mwambire.
Mwambire said that the coast leaders who were on the opposing side changed their hearts because they felt safer with Raila’s presidency.
The MP credited Raila with several coastal people appointments while in a power-sharing government with retired President Mwai Kibaki.
He noted that Raila had secured the appointment of the former chairman of the National Land Commission (NLC), Muhamad Swazuri. “Even the success we have achieved with the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga is enormous,” said Mwambire.
Lawmakers added that local guides moved to Raila because of what it had shown the region.
“If Raila made sure that Coast people got appointments when he had limited power, what would happen when he became president,” asked the ODM chairman of Kilifi.
Mwambire said Raila could be identified with many things he had fought for in land reforms and the expansion of democratic space in the region.
“Thanks to Raila, we have a larger democratic area in Kenya. With what can others in this country be identified? Raila fought the battles that we can identify him with and that is why we know he cannot betray us, ”said Mwambire.
Others who have joined Raila include Garsen’s MP Ali Wario Guyo from Wiper, Mombasa politician Suleiman Shahbal, and Chief Administrative Secretary and former Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung’aro.