ODM chief Raila Odinga is putting together a campaign machine to propel him to State House by riding on tyranny of numbers via his Azimio La Umoja.

The plan, according to insiders, will ensure Raila attains controlling numbers in both houses to enable the ODM boss push his legislative agenda.

The new arrangement borrows heavily from the defunct National Rainbow Coalition of 2002, which brought to an end Kanu’s 39 years rule.

Like Narc, there will be a hybrid system where Azimio La Umoja coalition and individual parties will field candidates separately during the August 2022 polls.

ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna on Sunday told the Star there are ongoing talks to come up with an agreeable framework on how the Azimio coalition and individual parties will field candidates for various seats next year.

“The movement is a coalition party. The key aim of a political party is to make sure that the coalition can actually field candidates on its name,” Sifuna said on phone.

He added: “The discussion has just begun. There will be some candidates for Azimio, like the presidential candidate, and in other areas where people do not want to use their political parties we can have Azimio candidates”.

Another insider who didn’t wish to be quoted said the ongoing talks will come up with a list of counties where candidates for gubernatorial and other elective seats will be picked through joint party primaries and winners contest on Azimio ticket.

The Star has established that Raila’s camp is keen that Azimio only backs one candidate in each of the elective positions to avoid past mistakes where sibling rivalry gave leeway to rival parties.

Part of the plan is to avoid the 2007 scenario where Mwai Kibaki got support from many political parties but his PNU ended up getting minority seats in Parliament as other affiliates claimed parliamentary slots.

By sealing such loopholes, Azimio proponents believe they will get enough numbers in both houses of Parliament to safeguard Raila’s legislative interests.

ODM chairman John Mbadi said the coalition party will eliminate competition between constituent parties that could lead to splitting votes and losing seats in some areas.

“What will not happen is that another party that is part of the coalition will field a candidate for the same seat. We are eliminating that. If you are members of Azimio we will not field two candidates belonging to Azimio to contest one electoral seat,” Mbadi said.

“It will then force us to either do joint nomination or agree in advance that in this particular seat we are leaving for Jubilee or Jubilee is leaving for ODM.”

While launching the movement, Raila said it will be anchored on humility, brotherliness, unity, equality and productivity.

“To put our country on the path of lasting unity, stability and prosperity, I hereby announce the launch of Azimio La Umoja Movement,” he said.

Already, MPs have been recalled for a two-day special sitting to consider the Political Parties (Amendments) Bill, 2021 which is a critical enabler of Raila’s new political strategy.

The bill sponsored National Assembly’s Majority Leader Amos Kimunya seeks to, among others, allow for formation of coalition parties.

“As we are speaking today there are some critical bills in Parliament. These MPs will have to sacrifice their holidays to come back to Parliament to pass the laws to facilitate some of the things we are aspiring here to do,” Kimunya last week during the Mount Kenya Foundation meeting at Safari Park.

According to Kimunya, the special sitting will be on December 21 and December 22.

“The special sitting we have agreed tentatively, it is not yet communicated. We agreed tentatively for 21st and 22nd, unless something comes up,” the Minority Leader added.

If Kimunya’s amendments get the nod of MPs then Raila will make his fifth presidential run on Azimio ticket unlike in Cord and Nasa where he contested on his ODM party ticket.

“Right now there is no coalition candidate. Even Raila was running as ODM candidate because the law did not allow that to happen but now the coalition will be able to field a candidate as Azimio candidate,” Sifuna explained.

Mbadi added that Kimunya’s amendment will also bring sanity in the elections and avoid situations where former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka was forced to run on ODM ticket with Raila despite being the Wiper party leader.

He explained the bill will now allow a coalition party to have dual membership where both political parties and individuals can be members.

“We want to amend the law to create a system where we form a party which becomes a coalition party and other political parties become corporate members. Individuals can also join and become members,” Mbadi said on the phone.

Deputy President William Ruto’s allies have, however, dismissed Raila’s new political scheme as inconsequential, saying the ODM boss has bad history with coalitions.

Mumias East MP Ben Washiali – a staunch Ruto’s ally – said Raila will have an uphill task in courting new allies because of how he has dealt with past partners.

“We are not worried because Raila as a leader of coalitions has proved to be very poor in taking care of other parties that he coalesces with,” Washiali said on phone.

“The reason why you see Kalonzo and Musalia shying away from the Azimio is because they have been bitten before. Once bitten twice shy.”

The former National Assembly Majority Whip at the same time welcomed Kimunya’s amendment, saying it will cure mistrust that has always characterised pre-election coalitions.

By The Star Kenya