Section of ODM leaders want Junet to keep off Nairobi politics

Some allies of opposition leader Raila Odinga now want Suba East MP Junet Mohamed to distance himself from Nairobi politics. They have asked him to focus on selling the Building Bridges (BBI) Initiative in Nyanza and Western Kenya.

Speaking to The Times on request of anonymity, the leaders expressed their anger at the manner in which Junet tried to micromanage Mr. Odinga’s Sunday rally In Nairobi’s Soweto estate. They also questioned Junet’s choice of words when making speeches to residents in informal settlements.

“What is he doing in Nairobi when we have too much ground to cover in our strongholds across the country?”   One of the agitated leaders questioned.

They argue that the political terrain in Nairobi where Odinga has enjoyed overwhelming support in the last two decades needs leaders who understand the tactics and ways to maneuver.  

“This is Nairobi and some of these people have no clue how to build a narrative that resonates with the wishes of people in the informal settlements,”

They admitted that Deputy President William Ruto’s narrative of pitting the rich against the poor (Hustlers versus Dynasties) seems to have been taken seriously by some of ODM party supporters in the city.

“We have not been campaigning quite enough like DP Ruto and we therefore have to be careful not to appear as if we don’t care about the plight of our people who are struggling economically,” the officer said.

Another leader suggested that the party must “clean the ground” or simply put, spend more money on youths if it has to hold grip of the city politics. “The wallets have to be opened and our people must know that we are still ‘organized’ and aware of their problems,”

In the run-in to the 2013 and 2017 elections, ODM heavily depended on Mr Odinga’s wave and the loaded pockets of former ex-governor Evans Kidero to control the city politics. Mr. Kidero has declared interest in the Homabay gubernatorial seat but some of the officials have suggested that he can still be of help “in cleaning the ground”.

The Orange party has some of the most vocal MPs, with the likes of George Aladwa( Makadara), Simba Arati ( Dagoreti North),Babu Owino ( Embakasi East) and Woman Representative Esther Passaris seen as most crucial in securing the city votes for Raila in the BBI drive.

The party’s Secretary General Edwin Sifuna came in as a late candidate for the 2017 senate race and his popularity has also significantly increased.

When contacted, ODM Nairobi County chairman George Aladwa said that he is now aware of any disquiet but noted that he is aware of a special meeting being organised to strategise on how the party will win back the gubernatorial seat come 2022.

“We need everyone but if someone has issues then we are ready to listen to them but what matters now is that we will have a special meeting to discuss the party’s plans for Nairobi come for 2022.

He also revealed that ODM is keenly watching whatever is happening in Nairobi County regarding the fate of newly appointed Deputy Governor Anne Mwendwa.

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