In what is sending vibrations across the political divide, Raila Odinga has started executing a plot that he calculates will culminate in him succeeding Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022.
In the elaborate vote-hunting strategy, Raila is locking in ODM’s traditional support bases as he penetrates Jubilee party strongholds in readiness for the polls.
Raila, according to sources, is playing politics of rebranding by maintaining what his insiders term as loyalty and dropping political hang-about who, they say, join him during election years and desert him at the hour of need as it happened during his purported swearing-in ceremony as “People’s President”.
It is this strategy that has informed the frequent meetings at his Capitol Hill offices where scores of hitherto Ruto supporters, including elected leaders, have been trooping to pledge allegiance to the ODM leader.
Insiders familiar with the script confided in Weekly Citizen that Raila has assured his inner core that he will be on the presidential ballot in 2022, and more so, has secured the tacit support of Uhuru Kenyatta in executing the plan.
In the scheme, Raila is mobilizing a war kitty to rival that of his main opponent, Ruto, politically and financially destabilizing his perceived competitors, consolidating support in his traditional strongholds, identifying new faces across hostile regions to form an alliance with, using his newfound status in the government to employ provincial administration to coerce opponents.
His next move is planting friendly faces at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, and finally breaking up National Super Alliance to team up with Kanu and Jubilee to ensure a smooth ride.
Insiders add that in the plot, the ODM leader has zoned the country into eight regions, previously former provinces and marked them either as red, green or battleground. He is now assembling an arsenal to retain or capture them.
The former provincial zones were Nairobi, Coast, Western, Nyanza, Central, Rift Valley, Eastern and North Eastern. The regions falling under red are those his rival enjoys massive support such as the Kalenjin dominated sections of Rift Valley together with sections of Mount Kenya.
In these regions, the ODM leader has intensified his bids to woo the deputy president’s backers to cross to his side and in the latest development, he has won Laikipia woman representative Kate Waruguru, Laikipia North MP Sarah Korere and North Imenti MP Rahim Dawood.
In Kalenjin land, the bedrock of the deputy president, Raila has on his side Baringo senator Gideon Moi and Chama Cha Maashinani leader Isaac Ruto.
Insiders add that regions Raila have labeled as green are those ODM enjoys massive support such as Nyanza, Western and Coast, and here, he is keen to retain his support by retaining loyalists at the same time crushing anti-loyalists.
The battlegrounds are those regions where Raila believes he enjoys equal support with his opponent such as Coast, but can successfully turn the tide to his favour and win 80pc support. These regions include Meru, sections of Coast and North Eastern.
Insiders add that Raila has confided in his inner circle one of the reasons he lost the presidential race in the three times he contested was due to limited resources, lack of system support and has therefore taken charge of raising the money.
In the past three elections – 2007, 2013, and 2017 – Raila heavily relied on friends and donors to raise his campaign money but some like the controversial businessman Jimi Wanjigi let him down by failing to fulfill their pledges, a mistake he does not want to repeat.
The ODM leader has now dropped Wanjigi from his financiers after Uhuru reportedly cautioned him against associating with him. Uhuru told Raila that he could not claim to fight corruption in Kenya linking Ruto to it, while dining and wining with the guru of corruption in Kenya, Wanjigi.
It is on these grounds that Wanjigi is of late rarely seen with Raila. Instead, Wanjigi is said to be working on the rebranding of ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi as Uhuru successor.
Raila has now personally embarked on raising funds and to this end, has been pushing for firms associated with him and his cronies to get government tenders.
Last week, one of his firms, Spectre International bagged a multi-million shillings tender to supply water in parts of Kisumu county which will see it pocket millions of shillings, some to be channeled to the campaign.
Interestingly, Spectre was in the news a few days ago when it faced auctioneers over an Sh7.7 million debt it owes a Mombasa firm, Betric Kenya Ltd.
Insiders add that the ODM leader is also wooing local tycoons known for funding presidential elections, and in return, they are guaranteed protection in running their businesses.
Already, in Raila’s pockets are businessmen who have been funding his campaigns such as Mombasa governor Hassan Joho, Mombasabased businessman Mohammed Jaffer who is the proprietor of Grain Bulk Handlers Limited and Coast businessman Suleiman Shahbal.