ODM party leader Raila Odinga returned home in Nyanza on Saturday August 15, nearly five months after the COVID-19 pandemic halted the BBI consultation meetings that saw him traverse the country to mobilise support for the document.
On Saturday, the opposition chief is expected to attend the funeral of Bondo MP Gideon Ochanda’s sister in Usigu. He will be accompanied by Siaya political leaders.
It is in Usigu that Mr Odinga had his last public meeting when he attended the burial of the late Prof Gilbert Ogutu on March 7.
On the same day, he flew to Gem where he attended the burial of the son of Omolo Rading’. Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi also attended the event.
While in Bondo on Saturday, Odinga is expected to provide a road map for the expected national referendum which he said on Thursday will be held this year.
When he landed in Kisumu on Friday, Mr Odinga who was in the company of his elder brother Oburu Odinga, announced that he was happy to be back home.
The opposition chief, who was received at the airport by county leaders including Kisumu Governor Prof Anyan’g Nyong’o, held a closed-door meeting with them before addressing a press conference at the county headquarters at Prosperity House.
His Friday visit to the lakeside city also comes just weeks after his arrival from the United Arab Emirates where he underwent a minor surgery.
The former Prime Minister told journalists on Friday August 14 that he is fit health wise and ready to hit the road on various national engagements, including the BBI.
On his return to Kisumu, Mr Odinga heaped praise on the county leadership, lauding the executive and the county assembly over their newfound harmonious working relationship after a change of guard at the latter.
“I am so impressed by what the county government under Governor Nyong’o and his team has achieved. This is the Kisumu we envisaged to see and is one of the reason we fought for devolution,” he praised.
He talked about ongoing developments in the region, singling out the dilapidated Mamboleo-Miwani-Kipsitet road which he disclosed will be advertised soon and the launch expected sometime in October by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
He also talked about the rehabilitation of the old meter-gauge railway line from Nakuru to Kisumu and Malaba which is expected to act as catalysts to the growth of the recently rehabilitated port which is only awaiting the completion of the works on the Ugandan Port.
“These development agenda are geared towards integrating the region to create more wealth and employment opportunities”, he revealed.
While unveiling the party election board members at the party headquarters in Nairobi, Mr Odinga said the electoral should be ready to carry out the polls with at least Ksh2 billion and not more.
Before COVID-19 pandemic, the party had been pushing for the country to have the plebiscite before end of July to pave way for implementation of the BBI proposal before the next polls.
The ODM leader, who is driving the Nyanza region development agenda, is keen to see leasing of the mills which has been at the centre of his focus sometimes now, as well as the other development agenda in the region such as full operationalisation of the rehabilitated Kisumu port, development of the Special Economic Zone, the region’s road networks and the multibillion Koru Soin Multi-Purpose dam being initiated are satisfactorily implemented to spur development which he believes will create a lot of employment opportunities in the region.