Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo
Opposition leader Raila Odinga struck a conciliatory note as he fought to consolidate support in his Siaya County home turf amid pockets of resistance from supporters of independent candidates.
Raila, the National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate, told his former close allies – Gem MP and first cousin Jakoyo Midiwo and his Rarieda counterpart Nicholas Gumbo, who are leading the anti-ODM campaign in the county – to stop fighting and join him in removing the Jubilee government from power.
He said yesterday that he would meet Mr Midiwo, who is defending his seat as an independent candidate after losing the party ticket in the party nominations, to tell him to end his hostility towards ODM candidates.
Midiwo and Gumbo are leading a fierce offensive against the Orange party.
Raila, who flew across the county and addressed several rallies, ran into trouble at Aram market – Gumbo’s home-ground – where a fight between supporters of Gumbo and Governor Cornell Rasanga forced him to cut short his address. Police had to intervene after supporters of the two politicians began pelting each other with stones, sending many people scampering for safety.
There had been tension at the market since morning as Gumbo’s supporters danced and sang his praises while waving his campaign posters and flags, before Raila arrived.
As he spoke later, the crowd cheered him but things suddenly turned ugly when he began campaigning for other ODM candidates.
“I came to Rarieda to request you to vote for ODM candidates. Kindly make it a ‘six-piece’ suit plan,” he said.
At this juncture, some youths started murmuring and a fight broke out when they were accosted by youths from the rival camp.
Rarieda OCPD Joannes Chebii said there were no reported injuries.
Earlier, Raila, who was accompanied by his national campaign leader and NASA co-principal Musalia Mudavadi and several other Opposition leaders, addressed rallies in Sega and Gem.
They later spoke in Bondo and Siaya, where they asked Nyanza region to give him full backing.
Raila said he expected 95 per cent of the votes from Nyanza on August 8 and requested those still not supporting NASA to change their minds.
“Experts say Nyanza is known for voter apathy. This time you must all come out to vote for change,” said Raila. [Story by Isaiah Gwengi, Harold Odhiambo and Olivia Odhiambo]