Gloves off as Raila, Mudavadi set for bruising battle over Western votes

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Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential aspirant Raila Odinga on Wednesday toured Vihiga County, a day after Kenya Kwanza Alliance leaders Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula led campaigns in the Western region.

The ODM boss is accompanied by governors Wilber Ottichilo (Vihiga), Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu),  Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) and former National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende.

Others are Senator George Khaniri, CS Eugene Wamalwa, Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi and ODM chair John Mbadi among other leaders.

Raila is seeking to galvanize the support of voters in Vihiga County to boost his bid in the region.

Odinga is set to hold several campaigns to water down Kenya Kwanza’s influence in the region.

Vihiga County, Mudavadi’s backyard, has traditionally voted for the ODM leader.

The entry of the duo into the DP Wiliam Ruto-led outfit could tilt the equation as Wetang’ula and Mudavadi pull all stops to deliver at least 70 per cent of the vote from the region to Ruto’s basket.

Vihiga, a perceived Raila stronghold, has traditionally voted for the ODM leader but the dynamics could change after  Mudavadi and  Wetang’ula joined Kenya Kwanza.

On Tuesday, Mudavadi downplayed the buzz generated around delivering 70 per cent of Western votes and said they in fact purpose to deliver 90 per cent of Mulembe’s votes to Kenya Kwanza.

Mudavadi exuded confidence saying the tides in Western Kenya have changed in Kenya Kwanza’s favour.

“Wetangula and I are here at home… 70 per cent of the Western vote is little, we will bring 90 per cent.”

Mudavadi has been promised the Prime Cabinet Secretary post in the Kenya Kwanza administration should Ruto win the August 9 election.

Ruto pledged to hand the former Vice President the post through an Executive Order.

But in a move aimed at retaining the Western Kenya vote, Raila promised to appoint Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya as Finance Minister and return, former National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende back to the House as Senate speaker should he win the polls.

The two leaders have now drawn the battle lines and are hitting the ground running to woo voters to align with their political camps.

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