Kuria West Member of Parliament Mathias Robbi talking about the state of Kuria community politics during one of the political rallies in Kuria, ahead of August 9, polls.

A day after his installation as an elder by the Kuria community from Migori county and as their preferred presidential aspirant in the forthcoming august 2022 elections, ODM party leader and the flag bearer of Azimio la Umoja Movement Raila Odinga faces a stiff rebellion from a section of law makers from the region, who are allied to deputy president’s United Democratic Movement (UDA).

Kuria West Member of Parliament Mathias Robbi came out to distance himself from the clan elder’s endorsement of the ODM leader as the community’s preferred candidate to succeed president Uhuru Kenyatta at the helm of leadership in this country, come august 2022 polls.

The tough-spoken Law Maker said that he does not identify himself with the decision of a few paid individuals to decide the fate of the entire community. He added that as Kuria community, they had already decided a long time ago to vote as block in favor of deputy president William Ruto.

Mr Robbi who was elected on jubilee ticket during the previous elections and is currently serving his second term as the Member of Parliament of Kuria West insisted that the pact made between the president and his deputy during the 2017 campaigns is still intact and he sees no reason as to why it should not be honored

“When the president came to us with his deputy in 2017, he assured us that he will serve ten years and give Ruto another ten years. We have not heard of any changes from him. The agreement still exists.” Recalled Robbi.

During the last general elections, president Uhuru Kenyatta in his campaigns in various parts of the country Kuria included, vowed to support his deputy William Ruto after serving his two terms in the office. 

However, that does not seem to be the case with recent entangles between the two leaders as the president has been seen on occasions rallying his support behind ODM leader Raila Odinga, leaving his deputy a wounded lone-ranger in his quest to succeed him.

The legislator who identifies himself among the key founders of UDA in the region is seeking to retain his seat for the third time in UDAs ticket and is optimistic that it is their party, UDA, that will emerge victorious after the polls.

Voting trends

Dating back to the voting trend of the region, ODM leader has never enjoyed the voting command of the community as they have on two consecutive elections voted against his ODM outfit.

In the august 2017 presidential polls, president Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto through their jubilee coalition garnered 41,952 votes, (65 percent of Kuria votes) while Raila Odinga who was the National Super Alliance (NASA) flag bearer got 21,202 votes equals to 34 percent of Kuria votes.

In the repeat of polls after first round was nullified by the Supreme Court, Uhuru still beat Raila in Kuria West and East constituencies, getting 19,587 and 13,156 votes consecutively while Raila only managed to get 214 and 180 votes from the two Kuria constituencies.

It is with this notion that both Mathias Robbi of Kuria West and Marwa Kitayama of Kuria Eest still believes the same voting trend will repeat itself come august 2022, giving Ruto and upper hand over Raila Odinga and thus there is no way they can switch their allegiance.

Mr Robbi defended deputy presidents’ development track record stating that he brought them notable developments in the region including roads and several colleges as opposed to his boss president Kenyatta, who after winning elections neglected them.

He cited that despite voting Uhuru on two consecutive times, it was unbelievable that he was supporting the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). A bill which he terms to not having any interest of the Kuria community at heart, as their call for them be given their own county was not addressed in the bill.

“We ensured that Uhuru won two elections when we vote him to the last man. Unfortunately, he has forgotten us and now propelling other agendas which serves none of our interest as a community.” Claimed the legislature.

The legislature bemoaned that they are a minority in the county and thus they don’t benefit from the county government of Migori, which is led by ODM fraternity amidst troubled governor Okoth Obado who decamped to his PDP party an outfit that supported UDA at the onset.

He cited that the ODM leader has done them a lot of injustices by imposing mostly Luo leaders allied to his ODM party on them. He added that only Ruto has given them a listening ear and its now too little too late for Raila to get anything from the community when it comes to votes.

However, back in 2013 general elections, Raila tried a negotiated democracy between the Kuria and Luo communities to bring unity in newly formed Migori County, a move that hit a snag on the ballot as the Kuria community threw their weight behind Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto.

Although, the Luo community kept the end of their bargain when they gave two county elective seats to their Kuria neighbors. Hardly did they know that after unanimously voting Denittah Gati and Dr. Wilfred Machage as the first Women Representative and Senator of the county, the Kuria community will still deny Raila Odinga Votes.

A similar move was proposed in 2017 but was immediately rejected by both communities, which saw all the elective seats of Migori County given to Luo leaders allied to Raila’s ODM party. This was meant to be a punishment for their revolt to unity calls.

Twist of change

During deputy president William Ruto last visit in Kuria region early this year, his reception was however filled with mixed reactions as of some his foot soldiers, including Mathias Robbi, were heckled by residents of Kehancha town, something which leaves the region to a scramble block for votes.

With the Azimio la Umoja Movement presidential aspirant Raila Odinga being the latest visitor to the region and being installed as an elder by the Kuria community, professionals, opinion leaders, politicians and several aspirants from the same community, it is only a matter of weeks if not months before mass migration of notable Ruto allied leaders decamping to the Azimio camp or remain defiant as Mathias Robbi.

By Treeza Auma

Treeza Auma is a Digital Content Producer and founder of https://www.ktmn.co.ke KTMN She is also Television journalist at Kenya News Agency and Leadership Accelerator at Women in News.

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