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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Raila takes BBI campaign to Turkana

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Opposition leader Raila Odinga has started a two-day tour of Turkana County.

This comes just a day after he hosted Kajiado leaders in Nairobi in his continued charm offensive of Rift Valley pastoralist counties seen to be tilting towards Deputy President William Ruto.

Raila said the Turkana tour will be the beginning of what he said will be country tours to sell the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) message, with confidence that the 24 county assembly threshold to push the initiative to the next level will be achieved by the end of February.

“We will go to the length and breadth of this country to sell this BBI message. The parts are coming together in support of BBI and the momentum is on our side,” Raila told journalists on Thursday at a Nairobi hotel after meeting Kajiado leaders led by Governor Joseph Ole Lenku.

The Deputy President has been on a charm offensive of the pastoralist counties, targeting Narok, Kajiado, Samburu, Turkana, West Pokot, and Laikipia in his 2022 presidential bid.

President Uhuru Kenyatta won Narok and Samburu counties and retained Kajiado in 2017, but the margins were small.

Both Raila and Ruto are pushing to get a pie of the region that was split down the middle between the two camps, but with one strong foot in Raila’s’ camp.

Raila bagged Turkana County in 2017 with 71,063 votes against President Kenyatta’s 58,744, but the former prime minister has since lost ODM vice-chairman and Turkana Governor Josephat Nanok to Ruto’s brigade, which now has the support of the majority of the MPs in the county.

In his speech, Governor Lenku made reference to Ruto’s inroads in the county – -over six trips in December and January alone — saying Kajiado “still remained a BBI county.”

“We have come together today to erase the perception that Kajiado is not a BBI zone. We have agreed as leaders that we will have joint rallies, joint church services, and joint meetings to mobilise for BBI,” said Lenku.

The ODM leader said the Kajiado county assembly had promised to pass the BBI Bill in the next two days, following in the footsteps of the ODM leader’s home county of Siaya which on Wednesday became the first regional House to endorse the Bill.

On Thursday, Raila was confident that he will upstage the DP both in the Rift Valley pastoralist counties as well as in the ongoing BBI debate.

“We have seen those going round unsure of where to support or oppose. They are just lukewarm. But we are focused. I see a big win in the county assemblies and the referendum,”  Raila exuded confidence.

Raila accused the DP of throwing money at Kenyans to convince them to shoot down the document, borne out of the March 2018 Handshake between Raila and President Kenyatta.

“I want to tell Kenyans to take this money when it is thrown at them. It is your money. Take it, but instead of saying thank you, say BBI,” said Raila.

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