Politics

Undeterred, Jimi Wanjigi plans return to Migori after attack

Undeterred, Jimi Wanjigi plans return to Migori after attack

Businessman Jimi Wanjigi with Luo Council of Elders chairman, Willis Opiyo Otondi, at his Nyahera home in Kisumu County on September 18, 2021.

Photo credit: Tonny Omondi | Nation Media Group

Politician and businessman Jimi Wanjigi is planning a second visit to Migori County following one marred by chaos after his convoy was pelted with stones.

Mr Wanjigi has just concluded a grassroots campaign to woo Nyanza residents to support his bid for the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leadership and presidential ticket. He has, however, not specified the dates.

Winding up his four-day visit on Sunday, he met 22 ward representatives from Migori in Kisumu County, whom it is said apologised for the attack and promised to support him on his next tour.

ODM officials kept off Mr Wanjigi’s visit, saying it did not have the blessings of the party.

They also reiterated their support for party leader Raila Odinga, whom Mr Wanjigi hopes to dislodge on claims that he is politically spent.

Those supporting Mr Wanjigi in Nyanza appear to be new faces, with close allies of Mr Odinga from the Nyanza region staying away from the businessman lest they be branded anti-Raila, which they fear could affect their political careers.

Read: Jimi Wanjigi banks on 'strong friendship' with Raila Odinga in State House bid

Mr Wanjigi’s strategy of by-passing ODM officials and opting to go directly to the party supporters at the grassroots seems to be supported by people who feel some party officials are already leaning towards some candidates, which could influence nominations and elections.

"I am a believer of game-changing. I love the orange party because of its ideals and constitution, which is people-centered, [as well as] its internal democracy, which I hope will be upheld so that it is the people who are heard and respected, not the few people in the party," he during his visit.

Primary strategy

While the impact of his visit in Migori is mild, he could thrive on the divisions being witnessed in the ODM party, and sympathisers supporting his bid for the ODM ticket.

The split in the party seems to be working for Mr Wanjigi.

At a press conference in Kisii County after the Migori attack, the businessman was accompanied by some party officials said to be his point men there.

It included parties sympathetic to Governor Okoth Obado, in what is starting to raise eyebrows.

Among them were ODM Organising Secretary Joseph Nyambori, former God Jope MCA Ochieng Abwao and Caleb Ocholla, a political aspirant for the Got Kocholla Ward seat Mr

Mr Wanjigi’s strategy is to net as many delegates as possible across the country to support his bid.

"I am confident that I will win a good majority of these delegates because the time for fresh leadership in the party and in the country has come. I will, however, support Raila should I lose in a free and fair nomination" he said.

More on this: Defiant Jimi Wanjigi takes ODM battle to Raila Odinga

Also read: Muturi reacts after attack on Jimi Wanjigi, says he won't be intimidated

Across the country, he intends to advance efforts to popularise his party by opening offices.

Mr Wanjigi said by the end of September, he should have opened 13 offices in the Mt Kenya region, which has not been supporting the ODM party.

"By the end of October, we will have opened offices in 25 counties across the country. We will then move to the Coast to meet delegates while planning office openings in areas where offices don’t exist before moving to Upper Rift," he said.

The results of his efforts will become clearer when he makes his second visit to Mr Odinga's backyard.