November 9, 2015
CORD leader Raila Odinga has bought two choppers in preparation for the 2017 General Election.
The next election could be Raila’s last attempt at the presidency and, according to people close to him, the ODM leader is leaving nothing to chance as he seeks to seal any possible loopholes for rigging.
Raila unsuccessfully ran for President in 1997, 2007 and 2013
The first chopper arrived on Thursday and Raila used it for the first time yesterday, when he flew to Kericho for a funds drive.
The second chopper, from Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter Group), is expected in the country in January, when Raila is scheduled to launch his bid for the Cord presidential ticket. His coalition co-principals Moses Wetang’ula and Kalonzo Musyoka are also eyeing the ticket.
It is unclear how much Raila spent on the choppers, but sources say he paid $2 million (Sh204,800,000 at yesterday’s exchange rate of Sh102.4 to the dollar).
â€œRaila is not leaving anything to chance this time round: He is sorting out the challenges he has had previously one by one,â€ a close aide told the Star.
Raila is not the only politician with a chopper. Deputy President William Ruto is also reported to have recently bought one, while Baringo Senator Gideon Moi has had one or two for years.
Kalonzo’s chopper crashed in Tanzania three weeks ago. He had leased it out to CCM politicians.
Apart from buying helicopters, Raila is also slowly setting up a team of competent and experienced people to help manage his campaign.
At the party level, Raila has placed Oduor Ong’wen, a well-known and respected civil society activist, as Executive Director and recently he hired former PS Andrew Mondoh to manage his Capital Hill office. The two will have a big say in who joins Raila’s campaign team.
Raila has also launched a weekly newspaper, The Kenyan, which is going to propagate Cord’s agenda and expose Jubilee’s shortcomings.
Raila is also in talks with a German firm to provide a parallel digital election system that will collect, transmit, tally and store presidential votes at the 2017 election.
Raila is also shopping for a credible international company that will manage his social media and other new media platforms, so he can interact with and tap into the creativity of young supporters.
Although ODM and Cord have yet to nominate their presidential candidate, it is almost a given that Raila will be the party’s choice and in the opposition coalition will seek the support of Wiper’s Kalonzo and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula.
Raila has also tasked his secretariat to identify some of the political hot potato issues they could use in the presidential campaigns. So far, they have identified the graft epidemic.
The former Prime Minister has recently dominated the news for weeks, accusing the Jubilee government of failing to do enough to battle corruption, putting the state on the defensive on graft- related issues, including NYS and Eurobond.
He has called for Devolution CS Anne Waiguruâ€™s sacking and the demolition of Weston Hotel, Nairobi, associated with Ruto, claiming it is built on public land.