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3 Main Reasons Why Raila Is Desperate For A Referendum

 You may be wondering why Raila Odinga seems obsessed with having a referendum before election. Let's face it, the country is at it'...

 You may be wondering why Raila Odinga seems obsessed with having a referendum before election. Let's face it, the country is at it's worst, yet somehow the ODM leader's focus remains a constitutional amendments before 2022. Why? Well, read on.

There are 3 main reasons why Raila is willing to do everything in his power to force a referendum before 2022 general elections. And, all the 3 have everything to do with boosting the Opposition Chief's dwindling political fortunes. 

1. Gauge Ruto's Strength

Going into an election demands you understand who your opponent  is (strengths and weaknesses). Since it is a given that the Son of Adonijah will be facing William Ruto on the ballot, he needs to know how big Ruto's support base is. 

See, both President Uhuru and the Former PM know William Ruto as a gifted mobilizer. They know Ruto isn't someone to dismiss easily and hence the need to gauge the size of his support base before facing him at the ballot.

Mount Kenya Votes

Raila, wants to know if Mount Kenya will choose Ruto over Uhuru. While Uhuru is asking his tribesmen to embrace the BBI Report, Ruto has not hidden his opposition to the document. What Raila is dying to know is if  Mount Kenya will listen to Ruto instead of the President. 

Related: Why BBI Report Should Be Rejected

The outcome of the referendum, especially in Mount Kenya, will help Raila evaluate his partnership with Uhuru. I mean. if Uhuru fails to deliver the Kikuyu vote, Raila can rest assured that the region is strongly under Ruto which means a change of strategy.

Us Versus Them 

So, how does Raila intend to pit the President against his Deputy? Simple, by forcing a controversial constitutional amendment that he knows Ruto is likely to oppose. In fact, by insisting that there will be no amendment of the BBI Report, even after Ruto deconstructed the document at Bomas, is all the prove you'll ever need that Raila is desperate for an "us vs them". 

Come to think of it, a non-contested referendum denies Raila the opportunity to know how strong Ruto's support base is.

2. Form New Alliances

Changing the constitution during a pandemic is controversial from all angles. That's why Raila needs the polls to be done now. Through it, he can know who's willing to stand with him even when he's wrong. 

As is obvious, a constitutional change mainly to introduce new political seats is bound to lead to new alliances. For instance, Jubilee Party leadership has been dancing to ODM's tune since handshake. What that means is that Jubilee might have a coalition pact with ODM. 

Yes, Jubilee as you know it, may not even exist by 2022. 

Brought together by the need to stop Ruto from ascending to the presidency, Raila's new friends are bound to form a political coalition. 

A Coalition every 5 years 

But how is a referendum necessary? Like I said(above), a referendum shows Raila who's willing to stick with him to the end. It is with these people that he'll form a political coalition moving into 2022. If anything, Raila always drops old coalitions for new ones every time he's going for an election. 

Lest you forget, Raila dumped all the members of the ODM Pentagon for a CORD Coalition in 2013. Raila also left CORD for NASA. And, since NASA died immediately after the handshake, Raila is shopping for coalition partners.

It is this new coalition that Raila will use as his 2022 vehicle. 

3. Galvanize current support base

If there is one thing Raila fears more than Ruto, it is the thought of losing Kamba, Luhya and Coastal voters. Why? Without them, he's just some overrated tribal leader of Luos. That also means, he has no chance against gifted politicians like Ruto. 

So, how does a referendum help Raila keep his base happy? Well, unlike in 2017 where the NASA agreement was based on non-existent positions, a change to the constitution would make the PM positions real. 

Raila can then easily promise Mudavadi, Kalonzo andJoho top seats in his government. You've also seen the man from Bondo elevating Ngilu, Mutua, Kibwan, Oparanya just incase Mudavadi and Kalonzo don't behave. 

Without the additional posts, the ambitious leaders around Raila have no reason to trust him. There will be nothing to make these leaders waste time and resources campaigning for Raila. 

Raila's bag of goodies are in the BBI Report and he can't offer them unless the constitution is changed. 


As you can see, Raila needs the referendum to see how strong Ruto is going into 2022. He's mostly interested in seeing how Kikuyus would vote given a choice between Uhuru and Ruto. 

Raila also needs new alliances and a bag of gifts to appease his current partners.

As to whether the government would waste taxpayers money to give Raila his dream is something we can only wait and see. 

Anyway, that's why I believe Raila is desperate for a referendum. Feel free to share your views via the comment section. 

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