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Choice of flagbearer won't break Cord, says Raila

Tuesday September 6 2016

Cord leader Raila Odinga addressing a rally at Sabatia in Butere Constituency,  Kakamega county on September 5, 2016. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE |

Cord leader Raila Odinga addressing a rally at Sabatia in Butere Constituency, Kakamega county on September 5, 2016. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

LINET WAFULA
By LINET WAFULA
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BENSON AMADALA
By BENSON AMADALA
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The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) will be stronger after the Opposition’s presidential candidate has been picked, Raila Odinga said on Tuesday.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader, who is a second charm offensive of the western Kenya region, said the coalition will not split like their rivals — Jubilee Coalition — have been telling their supporters.

Speaking in Kakamega County, Mr Odinga said he was confident the three heavyweights — Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) and himself — will settle on the best and stronger candidate to go for the presidency with support from the rest.

Mr Odinga said that the coalition’s bigwigs have agreed on supporting the flagbearer and that the Opposition was confident of clinching the presidency.

He addresses a rally at Shanderema in Shinyalu constituency before flying to Ileho where he addressed students and teachers at Shanderema Secondary School.

“I am asking our supporters to register in large numbers as voters and prepare for the elections next year,” he said.

The Opposition chief kicked off his second five-day tour of Kakamega County in a bid to consolidate support in the western region ahead of next year’s polls.

On Monday morning, Mr Odinga met MPs, ward representatives and elders from Butere and Khwisero constituencies at the Kisa Homes Guest House before addressing his first rally at Manyula market.

He will use the tour to pacify the recent revolt by a group of disgruntled MPs as well as heightened campaigns by other politicians to popularize the Jubilee Party to locals who overwhelmingly supported the Opposition in the 2013 elections.

Jubilee leaning MPs led by UDF’s Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), have stepped up campaigns to prepare the ground for President Uhuru Kenyatta's visit to the region immediately after Mr Odinga’s tour.

According to the Washiali-led group, voters in western region are tired of being in the cold by supporting the Opposition and stand to benefit by working with the Jubilee government.

But Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya — who is also the ODM deputy party leader — has told residents of the region to remain firmly in ODM and back Mr Odinga, saying he is the best suited to give the country a new beginning if he clinches the presidency in 2017.

Mr Odinga is accompanied by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, MPs Andrew Toboso (Butere), John Mbadi (Suba), Moses Kajwang (Homa Bay), Tj Kajwang (Ruaraka), Wilberforce Otichilo (Emuhaya), Florence Mutua (Busia), Raphael Otalo (Lurambi) and Opio Wandai (Ugunja).

His tour of Kakamega is meant to help him tighten his grip on western Kenya, which overwhelmingly voted for him in 2013.