Raila, Pokot leaders seal 2022 poll deal

 Raila, Pokot leaders seal 2022 poll deal

ODM leader Raila Odinga has entered into a working agreement with the new Kenya Union Party (KUP) as he reaches out to pastoralist communities in a bid to bolster his 2022 presidential bid.

KUP leaders West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo, Pokot South MP David Pkosing, former Tiaty MP Asman Kamama and Senator Samuel Poghisio, who hosted the former premier during his tour of the county yesterday, said the Pokot community was solidly behind his candidature.

The closing of ranks by the Pokot leaders was a shot in the arm for Raila who is seeking to make inroads in Deputy President William Ruto’s backyard.

Raila is in the region to rally support for his Azimio la Umoja campaign.
Lonyangapuo, who had not declared his stance since he fell out with Kanu chairman Gideon Moi, said any presidential candidate was free to campaign in the area.

Lonyangapuo is the only governor elected on a Kanu ticket.
“The Pokot community has suffered for long because subsequent governments have sidelined them.

This time we want to be on the negotiating table. We will no longer gamble with our 300,000 votes in West Pokot and Tiaty,” said Lonyangapuo who read the community’s memorandum to Raila at Kishaunet grounds.

Among other proposals, the Pokot community is demanding to be given its own code as a community and not to be lumped with the Kalenjin.

“We also want the creation of two more constituencies and five more wards in West Pokot County,” said the governor.

During yesterday’s meeting, Lonyangapuo’s new party pledged to work with Raila’s ODM.

Poghisio called on North Rift residents to rally behind Raila whom he said has a clear development agenda for the region.

“This is an historic moment in West Pokot. This marks a pre wedding between KUP and ODM. We should reach out to other like-minded parties,” said Poghisio.

Without mentioning names, Poghisio, the Senate Majority Leader, called on residents to reject leaders who are dishing out money on the campaign trail.

Kamama, who had for a long time been a close ally of the DP, said the community had suffered for a long time.

“The Pokot community was sidelined in government by the Jubilee regime despite our overwhelming support,” said the former MP.

Raila, who addressed residents at Chelang’a gardens in Makutano township, was accompanied by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, his Elgeyo Marakwet counterpart Alex Tolgos, Suna East MP Junet Mohammed and Nominated MP Maina Kamanda.

He also met ODM and KUP delegates drawn from the five constituencies of the county and Tiaty constituency in Baringo county.

Raila pledged that if elected president, he will address the historical injustices against the Pokot community.

“Pokot is part of Kenya and we want them to enjoy the fruits of independence. We will improve the lives of residents who have been marginalised for a long period,” said Raila.

He disclosed that the idea to merge ODM and KUP was reached following a meeting in Nairobi last week.

Junet said that Azimio la Umoja will bring Kenyans together.

“Odinga means well for this country. He wants to see a united Kenya, not tribalism and corruption. That is why we have come here to sit down with Pokot leaders and listen to their problems,” he said

He dismissed Ruto’s presidential bid saying he has nothing new to offer Kenyans as the Jubilee is yet to fulfil many of the pledges it made in 2017.

Raila promised that if elected, his administration would set up a special insurance scheme for pastoralists to cushion them from losses occasioned by drought and cattle rustling.

He said the planned ODM National Delegates Conference on December 9 will be the culmination of the Azimio la Umoja campaign.

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