President William Ruto’s UDA has embarked on aggressive membership recruitment drive targeting former Premier Raila Odinga’s Nyanza political turf.
Officials of UDA from Luo Nyanza counties of Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay and Migori on Monday announced that the recruitment drive was meant to strengthen the president’s coalition in the region ahead of the next general election.
The exercise which kicked off three days ago in Kisumu comes in the wake of a recent successful tour of the region considered Odinga’s stronghold by president Ruto.
During the tour, ODM elected leaders were at the forefront in welcoming the president who announced Nyanza will be part of his development plans.
Addressing the media in Kisumu after a meeting with UDA officials drawn from the three counties, the UDA officials disclosed that they target to recruit 20, 000 members in Kisumu county alone in the next three months.
UDA Kisumu county chairman Clive Natome said they have resolved to expand the influence of the ruling coalition the president’s backing throughout Nyanza.
” We want Nyanza to be the new president Ruto’s support base by ensuring we enlist aa more members as possible into UDA ahead of the 2027 elections. The president will get more votes here than in 2022,” he said.
Natome said that their ambition is to ensure that Nyanza doesn’t remain Odinga’s or ODM’s stronghold in future elections.
The chairman revealed that the membership recruitment drive begun three days ago and so far in Kisumu, 900 new members have been enlisted.
” We are having teams who are working in every constituency in Nyanza . In Kisumu for instance, we are covering all the seven constituencies and we target 20,000 people in the first three months of this drive , ” he said.
The Kisumu officials also unveiled during the Monday meeting, a UDA county office along the Kisumu-Kakamega Road near Kiboswa trading centre. UDA already have county offices in Kisii and Siaya.
The office according to the county UDA chairman will be opened officially in a months time in a ceremony to be presided over by the UDA top brass.
The Kisumu county UDA chairman took the opportunity to castigate Azimio leaders over their planned rallies in Kibra and Machakos in the coming days.
Natome led the UDA officials from the region in reiterating that president Ruto and his deputy were duly elected into office and the opposition is wrong to agitate for their removal barely five months into office.
During their rally at Jacaranda grounds in Nairobi on Sunday, the Azimio brigade, led by Odinga and former minister Martha Karua demanded that Ruto must go.
” We can’t say that we want them to be removed from office. You ( Odinga) went to court and their( Ruto and Rigathi) victory was validated by the judges of the supreme Court,” he said.
” Tell Kenyans why a validly elected president and his deputy should vacate office ,” he demanded.
The officials also told Odinga to take the alleged dossier he has against Ruto’s election to the relevant investigating agencies for a proper probe .
Stephen Oduor, a youth leader allied to UDA from Kisumu said the youth are not interested in any match to state house.
” We are not interested in the match to state house calls by Azimio. We want jobs and economic empowerment,” he said.
Another UDA official Robert Osure who spoke at the meeting said they were firmly behind Ruto’s administration.
” There’s no other way to state house other than through the ballot. Kenya is not a failed state. Odinga’s outbursts shows his lack of respect for independent and constitutional offices like the IEBC and the judiciary,” he said.
” We are also prepared to die to protect the Ruto presidency and we will mobilise like minded youth to also match to state house to protect the president,” he said.
Others who spoke during the meeting included UDA organising secretary for Kisumu county Bella Kipruto and Bernard Odinga from Rarieda sub county.