Joho leads ODM team in Lamu hunt for votes

ODM leaders at the Coast took their campaigns to consolidate the party’s support in the region to Lamu on Friday and Saturday, a week after President Kenyatta visited the county.

ODM deputy leader Hassan Joho and governors Amason Kingi (Kilifi) and John Mruttu led the ODM contingent in seeking locals support for party leader Raila Odinga in Kizingitini on Friday. They later held a dinner for ODM aspirants at Lamu Fort.

Today, the ODM brigade will be in Lamu town, Mukowe and Witu.

The team was in Taita Taveta on Thursday where they launched a vicious attack on President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto forays in the area to try and turn the tides against the party. ODM scooped most of the votes in coast six counties in 2013 polls.

It is only in Lamu that Jubilee coalition showed a good showing in the coast region by winning the senatorial seat.

The governor’s seat went to UDF party, while the woman rep won in a Wiper Party flag. ODM and other parties shared the spoils in ward representative seats.

Lamu is Kenya’s smallest county in terms of population. It has about 110,000 people according to 2009 census.

The border county is crucial to Kenya’s economy due to vast land, tourism sites, the Lamu port, Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport corridor, the Sh200 billion coal plant and airports.

President Kenyatta visited Lamu last week and urged locals to back his re-election.

President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto doled goodies to locals, issued title deeds, gave Sh10 million each to three schools, waived land charges for a settlement scheme and launched building of Garsen-Witu-Lamu road.

Currently, Lamu county has less than five kilometres of tarmac road.

Mr Joho, Mr Kingi and Mr Mruttu are seeking to turn the tides in Lamu in favour of ODM and Nasa in August polls.

The three governors say although Coast is regarded a Nasa stronghold, locals are ODM fanatics and want Mr Odinga to be President.

The trio are visiting all the Coast counties to vouch for the former prime minister to be Nasa presidential torchbearer.

This, they argue is because ODM is the bigger partner in Nasa due to its strength in Parliament and support countrywide.

The ODM brigade are keen on watering down any gains made by Jubilee Party in the region.

ODM is also facing an onslaught from Nasa affiliate members including Wiper Party, Amani National Congress and Ford-K who are trying to eat into it’s backing.

Wiper Party is planning to field candidates in all Coast counties in against ODM aspirants.

Wiper Secretary General Hassan Omar has defended the move saying it will not split the coalition and pave way for JP to penetrate the region.

Mr Omar said Coast is an opposition zone and that Nasa candidates will carry the day in August ballot.

Mr Joho says Coast residents would hold a major rally in Tononoka grounds on March 26 to declare their political stand.

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