By Isaac Ongiri
ODM leader Raila Odinga has replaced three ‘Pentagon’ kingpins from his 2007 run at the presidency with younger faces from around the country.
Close allies say the Prime Minister shall turn to young leaders, community elders and women to help him reach undecided voters. The new approach comes after the departures of three of the five regional leaders the PM had rallied around him five years ago.
The changes were also revealed just a week after Deputy PM Musalia Mudavadi, one of his former allies turned political rival, dismissed Raila, 67, as being ready for retirement.
While on a tour of Busia County, Mr Odinga announced four new regional allies: Ababu Namwamba (Western), Hassan Joho (Coast), Magerer Langat (Rift Valley) and Manson Nyamweya (Nyanza/Kisii). Raila said he had replaced Mudavadi, Eldoret North MP William Ruto and Mvita’s Najib Balala.
Speaking at Bumala and Matayos trading centres on his way to Busia Stadium for a public rally, Raila said he had replaced Mudavadi with Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba as his point man in Western.
“Transport Assistant minister Hassan Joho (Kisauni) takes over from Balala as my point man in Mombasa,” said the PM. He added that Mr Magerer, the Energy assistant minister and Kipkelion MP, would take over from Ruto as his link person in Rift Valley.
|Prime Minister Raila Odinga addresses a public rally at Busia Municipal Stadium in Busia town, on Saturday. [Photo: Renson Buluma/Standard]|
Trade assistant Minister Manson Nyamweya (South Mugirango) takes over the mantle of his point man in Kisii region, previously held by former MP Omingo Magara.
Raila’s decision to pick young people as his point men in vote-rich regions is aimed at attracting youths into supporting his bid for president. Fresh off attacking his nearest rivals for rallying their communities behind them, the PM is moulding a campaign team managed at more than three levels by youthful leaders, a council of elders and women. ?
Young MPs led by Assistant Minister Alfred Khangati (PM’s Office) and Mr Namwamba are heading ‘command bases’ for the Rapid Response Team and ODM Reloaded group respectively.
The first deals with political crises and attacks, while the latter paves the ground for ODM rallies in various parts of the country.