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Raila seeks elders’ support in bid to clinch the presidency

Cord co-principal Raila Odinga is reaching out to elders from different communities to solidify his support ahead of the 2017 elections.

Already elders from four communities in Nyanza and the Rift Valley – Luo, Kipsigis, Gusii and Kuria met in Kisumu last week and resolved to back his bid.

The close to 70 elders drawn from 10 counties in Nyanza and the Rift Valley made the resolution at a meeting called by Luo Council of Elders led by chairman Willis Opiyo Otondi and secretary Owino Nyady in Kisumu.

The counties included: Kisumu, Siaya, Migori, Homa Bay, Kisii, Nyamira, Kericho, Bomet, Nandi, and Narok.

In an interview with the Nation, Kipsigis Council of Elders’ secretary Edwine Kimetto said their decision was influenced by Mr Odinga’s “relentless support on the protection of the Mau water catchment and his move to have the Sh38 billion controversial Itare dam project stopped.”

Mr Kimetto said elders from his community will rally residents to back Mr Odinga’s bid with a hope that the ODM leader will safeguard their interests.

In November, Mr Odinga had said that the Sh33 billion Itare Dam Water Supply Project in South West Mau would destroy the Masai Mara and dip tourism revenues.

Mr Kimetto said that they will hold of rallies Rift Valley region to drum up support for Mr Odinga.

“We have already planned the inaugural rally at Sosiot in Kericho County on January 7 and invited Raila Odinga among other leaders including governors,” Mr Kimetto said.

He said that they will use the rally to give the community direction regarding the 2017 elections.

STOP PROJECT

Mr Otondi said after the Sosiot rally the elders will visit the site of the Itare dam project on January 16 and thereafter mobilise lawyers to block its implementation in court.

“Even though the Kalenjin elders’ initial attempts to have this project stopped seems not to have bore any fruits, we hope we shall succeed to stop its implementation,” Mr Otondi said.

Luo Council of Elders’ secretary Owino Nyady said during their meeting at Lesavana hotel in Kisumu, the elders agreed to form teams to campaign for Mr Odinga.

Already, Mr Odinga has been reaching out to leaders in the region. Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi to form a political coalition under the National Super Alliance (NasA).

Mr Kimetto said that for long, Mr Odinga has fought against social injustices facing the community.

“Jubilee has not keen on addressing past injustices against our community (Kalenjin) thus we have decided to back Raila,” he said.

Mr Odinga, Mr Mudavadi, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula have declared their interest in the opposition ticket for the presidency.

They have vowed to support whoever clinches the ticket in February to face off with President Uhuru Kenyatta in the August 8 General Election.

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