ODM party leader Raila speaks after a section of ODM members endorse Hassan Joho for party leader role

Raila Odinga, the leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party, has issued a cautionary message to Coast leaders following their endorsement of former Mombasa governor Hassan Joho as the next party leader.

Addressing a gathering in Malindi, Kilifi County, on Sunday, March 31, 2024, Raila expressed concern that regional endorsements across the country could potentially sow divisions within the party.

Raila emphasized the importance of unity within the party, stressing that continued regional endorsements risked fracturing the cohesion of ODM. He emphasized the need for inclusivity, stating, “We need everyone in our team because that is the only way we can be strong. We do not want these campaigns that can break the party.”

While acknowledging the endorsement of Hassan Joho by Coast leaders, Raila urged against attributing support solely based on regional affiliation, saying, “It is good that Coast has given their views stating that they want Hassan Joho but do not say that because he comes from the area.”

Moreover, Raila challenged leaders from Kwale, Kilifi, and Mombasa counties to articulate genuine reasons for their support of Joho as the next party leader.

Looking ahead, Raila emphasized the importance of a thorough consultation process among ODM members when the time comes for him to step down, asserting that the selection of a new leader should be inclusive and democratic.

He reiterated the party’s commitment to democracy, stating that every aspiring leader within ODM would be given a fair opportunity to contest for the position. Raila asserted that ODM stood as the most democratic party in East and Central Africa.

Among the contenders expressing interest in succeeding Raila as party leader are former Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya, ODM Chairman John Mbadi, and National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi.