Raila Odinga secures backing of North Eastern leaders

ODM leader Raila Odinga has secured the endorsement of some North Eastern leaders as he rolls out a strategy to court regional parties to support his 2022 presidential bid.

Yesterday, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani, Governors Ali Korane (Garissa), Mohammed Kuti (Isiolo) and Ali Muktar (Wajir) announced the region’s newly formed political grouping- UPYA movement- will support Mr Odinga’s bid for the presidency.

Mr Odinga is touring northern Kenya after last week’s foray into Mt Kenya where he held talks with officials of Kanu, Party of National Unity (PNU) and Jubilee party as he embraced other small parties that support his quest.

Yesterday, the Upya movement leaders promised to support Mr Odinga’s presidential candidature should he officially announce his bid.

Main guest

“After two weeks, we will be launching the Upya movement. We are inviting you Mr Odinga as our main guest. We have leaders across all the North Eastern including Samburu and we promise you the support,” said Mr Yatani adding the majority of MPs and governors from the region are already part of the movement.

Eldas MP Adan Keynan, who is the deputy leader of the movement, backed his sentiments.

Former county bosses Godana Doyo (Isiolo), Nathif Jama (Garissa) and Ahmed Abdullahi (Wajir) were also present. Mr Yatani served as Marsabit’s first governor.

However, Governors Ali Roba (Mandera) and Mohamud Ali (Marsabit) who have indicated they will chart a different political path did not attend the meeting.

Also present were veteran politician Hussein Maalim Mohamed and former Rift Valley provincial commissioner Hassan Noor.

Mr Yatani noted that they can be in different political parties, but as the region’s leaders come together to support Mr Odinga to be the next president.

“When we were part of the Pastoralist Parliamentary Group, our names were tarnished. We do not want such discrimination moving forward in forming the next government,” he said.

Upya movement

“The challenge is not with the government, it is with us. We need to be united and have a common voice. This will happen via the Upya movement which will be inclusive,” said Mr Yatani.

He added: “North Eastern people are the richest because of the natural resources available. Hence, we want to be included in the discussions when it comes to division of such resources and we know Mr Odinga’s government can do that.”

Mr Odinga pledged to reintroduce the Ministry of Northern Kenya and ASAL Development and ensure more funds are allocated to the region.

The region’s leaders listed marginalisation, insecurity, drought, flooding, poor infrastructure and poor education among the problems they want addressed.

Mr Odinga’s latest forays in North Eastern are seen as a bid to reclaim a region where he performed well in the 2013 election.

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