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Clergy, opposition leaders welcome new arrangement

Nyanza and Coast Opposition leaders and supporters welcomed the naming of ODM leader Raila Odinga the Nasa flag-bearer.

Kakamega largely remained quiet and muted in Vihiga.

Bishop Julius Kalu of the Anglican Church of Kenya in Mombasa said Mr Odinga’s team could forge a new force if it united Kenyans.

“If they unite and assure Kenyans that they can bring development in all regions, they will bring change,” he said.

LEADERS BACK PLAN
Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya chairman Abdhallah Ateka said the naming of Mr Odinga and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka was expected.

“They were together in 2013. The only difference is that they included the other three leaders but it is Kenyans who will decide who goes to State House,” Sheikh Ateka said.

As expected, the Luo Council of Elders chairman Willis Otondi lauded the decision.

“It is time to foster peace and unity. We thank the other principals for backing Mr Odinga,” Mr Otondi said.

PEACE IN ELECTIONS
Nyanza Council of Church leaders Chairman Washington Ogonyo-Ngede also welcomed the line-up.

He called on Kenyans to pray for peace before, during and after the elections.

In the deal submitted to the registrar of political parties, Mr Mudavadi will be premier cabinet secretary in charge of government coordination.

Mr Wetang’ula will be the deputy premier cabinet secretary for economic coordination while Mr Isaac Ruto will be co-deputy premier in charge of governance.

MUDAVADI SUPPORTERS
Kakamega residents gathered at social spots to follow the proceedings at Uhuru Park in Nairobi.

A sense of disappointment was evident among Mr Mudavadi’s supporters.

Amani National Congress western region coordinator David Malala had said if Mr Mudavadi was picked as the flag-bearer, it would boost chances for the opposition to clinch the presidency.

He said party supporters would decide on the next move.

“We do not want to appear to be working against efforts by Nasa to dislodge Jubilee from power by causing unnecessary disagreements,” he said.

NO FALL-OUT

Reaction was muted in Vihiga County, but residents expressed confidence in the team.

Kakamega Ford-Kenya chairman Abel Mutimba said the region would back Nasa.

“Our focus should not be who the flag-bearer is but how we can unite to strengthen the opposition,” he said.

He added that Ford-Kenya supporters were happy the opposition had kept its promise to name a torch-bearer and ease tension and anxiety.

ODM Treasurer Timothy Bosire said Nasa would embark on vigorous campaigns.

“We are putting Jubilee on notice. Let them prepare to leave power and allow us to educate them on how a country should be run,” Mr Bosire said.

Vihiga Nominated county assembly member Ben Ombima called on Nasa supporters to embrace the new line-up.

“We vowed to support whoever wins. ODM, Wiper, Amani, Ford-K and Chama Cha Mashinani. Supporters must live up to that promise. Let us back Raila to give us victory in August,” he said.

ACCEPT DEFEAT
In Machakos, residents welcomed the Nasa line-up.

“We were expecting the Wiper leader to be the presidential candidate but we accept the team. What we pray for are peaceful elections. Whichever side loses should accept defeat,” Mr Paul Manthi, a resident, said.

Ms Violet Kioko said most area residents would vote for the opposition.

“Raila has a large following across the country. Nasa represents the face of Kenya after uniting many parties. I’m confident the opposition will win in August,” Ms Kioko opined.

NOTHING NEW
She added that the other principals still had a chance to run in subsequent elections “but this will be Mr Odinga’s final bid”.

However, some were not sure if the arrangement would deliver results.

They said it was the same line-up in the 2013 elections.

“It is like doing the same thing all the time and expecting different results,” Mr Francis Wambua from Masinga Constituency said.

He added that he would vote for President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Reports by Justus Ochieng, Winnie Atieno, Benson Amadala, Stephen Muthini and Ahmed Mohammed

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