The Azimio la Umoja movement is facing an uphill task in maintaining its neutrality, as parties interested in joining it are competing for space and attention ahead of the coalition’s official unveiling later this month.
ODM leader Raila Odinga had promised a vast movement similar to the National Rainbow Coalition, which swept Mwai Kibaki to power in the 2002 General Election after expelling KANU.
However, some interested political parties are already fighting for supremacy as President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Kenyatta prepare to reveal the movement after their respective National Delegates Conventions on February 25 and 26.
Additionally, it is becoming clear that the trust concerns are slowly building in the nascent alliance as member parties’ fight for a place within the Raila Odinga mega coalition.
The Orange Democratic Movement, for example, has said unequivocally that it will not welcome competition from any Azimio siblings in its strongholds in order to avoid being “swallowed” and risking losing its identity.
“Siaya, Homa Bay, Kisii, Nyamira, Migori, Kisumu are all ODM strongholds. Even if we are joining Azimio, it is through ODM. If you think you can win through another Azimio party then your journey has ended early. The Baba’s vehicle in Azimio is ODM. If you want to be MCA, MP, Woman Rep, senator, governor here in Siaya you must be in ODM,” Junet Mohammed said on Wednesday.
Simultaneously, the ruling Jubilee party has outlined significant revival tactics in the Mount Kenya region, where it is aiming to re-establish its dominance despite appearing to be losing ground to Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance.
Additionally, trust issues are growing, with some parties preferring to join Azimio through a pact with Jubilee rather than through ODM. Wiper and KANU already have cooperation agreements in place with the ruling Jubilee Party.
“No one wants to be framed in a box where there is no recourse for leaving. Azimio is an amorphous unit without a party leader, the officials are not even known. Some people are saying Azimio is ODM,” Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo says.