Raila Odinga is reshaping his 2017 campaign strategy with the aim of scuttling the votes so as to secure a presidential re-run. His latest move is aimed at rectifying a litany of mistakes such as internal wrangles, bungled party nominations, confused tactics and poor strategy that cost him the March 4, 2013, general elections by 7 percent. Raila managed to get 43.7 percent of the votes compared to Uhuru Kenyatta who garnered 50.07 percent of the votes. However, Raila previous attempts to re-strategies his political ambitions and mileage keeps hitting a snag. For instance, Raila’s website- http://www.rao.co.ke that was launched on May 8, 2015, did little to revamp Raila’s image.
His second move was that of launching The Kenyan Weekly. The weekly newspaper launched by Raila Odinga on November 2015 was primarily tasked to drive the ODM party agenda. However, few months down the line the ODM paper is facing financial problems that threaten its survival in the market. It is said the situation is so bad that staff working for the newspaper have not been paid for Months and some have opted to quit due to persistent delays in salary payment.
The Kenyan Weekly has been unable to attract advertising due to its poor and slanted content that often praise ODM leader Raila Odinga.The third move was that of Okoa Kenya Initiative. However, the initiative failed to meet the one million constitutional thresholds for signatures. Cord submitted booklets containing 1.4 million signatures in October 2015 but only 891,598 were found to be valid.
As a result, the Okoa Kenya initiative was declared null and void and Raila Odinga opted to use his best mode of strategy which is violence by leading Demos every Monday morning so as to eject the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). Having failed in all the strategies since 2013, Raila Odinga has resulted in building up again his campaign capacity come 2017 General election. As a result on September 2016, Raila led an ODM delegation of 45 selected political leaders, governors, party branch officials and business elites drawn from all the 47 counties in Germany.
The trip was used to craft the 2017 ODM’s political capacity that is currently been seen by Raila’s current visit to different counties.For instance:Raila has adopted Former President Kibaki’s 2010 constitutional campaign strategy. He nowadays directly engages elected local leaders, different grassroots leaders drawn from the women groups, youths, people with disability, and religious leaders before addressing any crowd.
With this strategy, he is able to gather various intelligence information that affects a specific community and airs them when making his official speech. During Raila’s western tour, on July 22, 2016, he held meetings with Nabongo Mumia clan elders and ODM party leaders in Mumias before addressing a major Rally at Msanda grounds.
Also on September 4, 2016, before he made another tour in western Kenya, Raila first met Luhya elders and other leaders before at a hotel. In his August 2016 coastal tour, Raila Odinga also met several elders and local leaders before addressing the coastal people. Raila met Muslim leaders, the council of Imams, Council of Elders, the teachers union and Kuppet and also address the Law society of Kenya Annual conference at Leisure Lodge. Also before embarking on his Taita Taveta tour, ODM leader Raila Odinga met leaders from the Taita Taveta region at his Capitol Hill office in Nairobi on August 11, 2016.
The leaders in attendance were Joyce Lay (woman representative), Taita Taveta Governor John Mruttu, MPs Thomas Mwadeghu (Wundanyi), Jones Mwagongo (Voi) and Andrew Mwadime (Mwatate). Also, in revamping his political capacity Raila has formed a new team known as a “dream team”. The dream team is headed by the two ODM deputy leaders: Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho also known as “Superman” and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya. Other Members are ODM Chairman John Mbandi, Secretary General Agnes Zani, Elijah Memusi, Mombasa women rep Mishi Mboko, Kilifi Women rep Aisha Jumwa, Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyongo and Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma. Also in an interview on October 9, 2016, aired by citizen TV, Raila said that he is working with the likes of Gideon Moi, Isaac Rutto to secure Rift Valley region votes.
However, Raila’s political capacity has already started to experience various challenges. The muscle and wit from Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyongo will not be fully experienced due to his poor health condition. The senator was diagnosed with Prostate cancer back in 2011 and has been playing a low profile in the political scene. Also, the political capacity has lost 13 of its leaders to Jubilee party and others choosing to join other Political parties like the youthful Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba who was once the ODM Secretary General.