By: Angela Maina @MountKenyaTimes
- The Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu has since reserved the name — Azimio la Umoja –as a possible coalition name following the application by Raila’s confidant, Suna East MP Junet Mohammed.
- The ODM leader is working on a pre-election coalition agreement with President Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party, and they have been reaching out to One Kenya Alliance (OKA) of Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi, Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) and Gideon Moi (Kanu).
- Raila said he has traversed the country and listened to the voice of Kenyans and will give his verdict during the last Azimio La Umoja meeting, where over 60,000 attendees are expected.
ODM leader Raila Odinga yesterday prepared Nairobi ground ahead of his grand declaration on Friday this week.
Raila, who has set the stage for his fifth stab at the presidency by launching countrywide tours under the Azimio La Umoja movement, mounted a series of road shows across the capital city.
The ODM leader started by attending a Church service at African Independent Pentecostal Churches of Kenya (AIPCA), Njiru, a church whose history is intertwined with Kenya’s liberation struggle.
Speaking during the church service, Raila said he will not relent in his quest to bring Kenyans together as the country moves towards the high stakes 2022 elections.
He said it is only through unity that Kenyans will realise the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers.
Raila addressed huge rallies in Njiru, Mwiki, Kasarani where he drummed up support for his unity drive dubbed Azimio La Umoja.
The opposition leader rallied his supporters to turn up in large numbers for the Friday declaration at Kasarani gymnasium.
Insiders say Kasarani unity declaration under the Azimio la Umoja banner is set to be transformed into a coalition on whose ticket he plans to vie for the presidency.
The Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu has since reserved the name — Azimio la Umoja –as a possible coalition name following the application by Raila’s confidant, Suna East MP Junet Mohammed.
The ODM leader is working on a pre-election coalition agreement with President Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party, and they have been reaching out to One Kenya Alliance (OKA) of Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi, Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) and Gideon Moi (Kanu).
Raila said he has traversed the country and listened to the voice of Kenyans and will give his verdict during the last Azimio La Umoja meeting, where over 60,000 attendees are expected.
“Next week on Friday, here in Kasarani, I invite you to come witness my declaration. At 6 am, you should all be seated ready for my verdict,” Raila said.
The ODM leader is expected to formally join in the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday.
This will be Raila’s fifth bid after making four unsuccessful runs in 1997, 2007, 2013 and 2017.
The ODM boss maintained that no economic model can be realized in a country that is divided and at war with self.
“These days am preaching peace. We must be united as Kenyans for us to realise the dreams of our forefathers as captured in our national anthem,” he said.
Raila at the same time said he is not looking for followers; instead, he is looking for partners.
The ODM boss also defended his Sh6000, welfare program, saying it will go along way in ensuring no Kenyan dies from hunger.
He termed it shameful that some Kenyans are still dying of hunger, almost seven decades of self rule.
Raila observed that his social welfare protection plan to cushion poor families from economic hardship has been successful in many jurisdictions, including Namibia.
Friday’s event will be a big moment for Raila Odinga to summon his support base and demonstrate his vigour and political muscle to make a fifth stab at the presidency.
6,000 delegates are expected to endorse him as the party’s flag-bearer in next year’s presidential race.
Once endorsed by ODM, Raila will then set to face Ruto, the man whose 2013 and 2017 presidential campaign machine with Uhuru Kenyatta crushed his State House ambitions.
The delegates attending the event are being carefully selected to represent the face of Kenya, where Raila has received overwhelming endorsement during his Azimio La Umoja engagements.
Unlike previous elections, this is the first time the ODM boss is getting the backing of the government of the day.
Oburu Odinga, Riala’s elder brother, is on record saying this time “we have the system,” a statement pundits say know the ODM chief has upgraded his game.
In November 2018 in Nyeri, President Kenyatta gave an indication he would support Raila, when he said his pick for 2022 “will shock you”.
This was a departure from his commitment to support Ruto after his two terms as president, which he repeatedly mentioned on the 2017 campaign trail.
“Some think I have kept quiet because I am not capable of talking politics. I am still a politician. They will be shocked when that time comes, but for now I want to concentrate on delivering my pledges to Kenyans,” he said.
Pundits say, at that juncture, he [Kenyatta] confirmed he would be interested and actively involved in defining Kenya’s next President.
They argue, the statement showed a man keen on securing certain interests.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to top the invite list, as well as the main opposition leaders in the One Kenya Alliance.
Raila was the main highlight of Wiper’s NDC on November 25 where he tipped on the possibility of working with Kalonzo ahead of the 2022 general election saying, Our roads may meet again”.
The ODM boss has also reportedly also extended invitations to at least four heads of state from the continent and a host of party leaders for the event.
Friday event is expected to dwarf previous events recently held by rivals in the city, including the National Delegates Conventions by Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) Gideon Moi’s Kanu.
Next, on a yet to be specified date, will be the Jubilee Party’s National Delegates Convention, whose climax is expected to be the expulsion of Deputy President William Ruto and his allies, who have decamped to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
The extravaganza to be attended by thousands of delegates from across the country is also expected to herald the rebirth of the party, including a resolution that President Uhuru Kenyatta remains the party leader even after he ceases to be Head of State, a deliberate signal that he isn’t about to quit the political space yet.
Musalia Mudavadi of the ANC is expected to convene his NDC in January to declare his run for the presidency.
Meanwhile, Mt Kenya governors supporting Raila are working on an alliance with like-minded political parties ahead of next year’s General Election.
The governors met on Saturday in Naivasha and revealed they were working on a pre-election pact that would see a coalition party field a presidential candidate.
The four, Laikipia’s Ndiritu Muriithi, Kiambu’s James Nyoro, Nyandarua’s Francis Kimemia and Nakuru’s Lee Kinyanjui said their presidential flag-bearer will be a coalition candidate and not like in previous arrangements where the presidential candidate belonged to a particular party.
Ndiritu said they support the Political Parties (amendment) Bill 2021 sponsored by the National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya that proposes, among other things, that coalitions to field presidential candidates.
They revealed that they had already started talks with the Party of National Unity and Ubuntu People’s Forum, which is linked to Kinyanjui.
The Bill seeks to pave the way for a grand coalition government. The proposal has the backing of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila, who appear keen to craft an alliance to take on Deputy President William Ruto.