SK Macharia’s home has played host to the ‘Face of Kenya’, Raila says, warns of 'unbeatable’ line-up

POLITICS |

ODM leader Raila Odinga says a “serious” political line-up has been crafted to compete against DP William Ruto in 2022 presidential election. [File, Standard]

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga on Tuesday, July 27, again warned of a political Tsunami, saying he was crafting a line-up no one would wish to face in the 2022 General Election.

Speaking at the Murang’a home of media mogul, Samuel Kamau (S.K.) Macharia, Odinga warned his political opponents against taking his “Tsunami narrative” lightly.

“The face of Kenya is here today, at S.K. Macharia’s place,” Odinga said while addressing artistes at the Royal Media Services Limited owner’s Ndakaini home in Gatanga Constituency.

Macharia hosted hundreds of artistes at his residence, where they celebrated the government’s move to exempt artistes from 25 per cent excise duty.

The event was also graced by politicians including Raila Odinga, Governors Mwangi wa Iria (Murang’a), James Ongwae (Kisii), Alfred Mutua (Machakos), James Nyoro (Kiambu), former presidential aspirant Peter Kenneth, former Mombasa gubernatorial aspirant Suleiman Shahbal and Jubilee Party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju.

At least 20 MPs attended the function, including Nduati Ngugi (Gatanga), Peter Kimari (Mathioya), Maoka Maore (Igembe North), Kanini Kega (Kieni), Maina Kamanda (Nominated), Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga, Junet Mohamed (Suna East), among others.

The attendance that brought together leaders from Mt. Kenya, Nyanza, Eastern, Coast, among other parts of the country, prompted Odinga to state that the line-up wasn’t accidental but by design.

“Something serious has been brewed here at S.K. Macharia’s place,” Raila said.

“A new dawn is here. Recently, I said something huge [Tsunami] would come, and some people doubted. That something huge, I can confidently say, is being crafted here. A quest to unite Kenya continues after the March 9, 2018 handshake. Next week, we will be in Nyanza. We’ll thereafter go to Western Kenya and then tour Coast. Later, we’ll visit other parts of the country. President Uhuru Kenyatta will be in tow,” said the ODM supremo.

His remarks in Ndakaini mirror the comments he made in Gem, Siaya County on June 26 during the burial of former Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo.

“We are assembling a heavy [political] machine. They (opponents) don’t know what is in store. There’s a Tsunami coming. I’m urging you [my supporters] to trust me, we know where we are going,” he said at the time.

Just like he did on June 26 to discredit Deputy President William Ruto’s “bottoms-up” economic model, Raila on Tuesday, again, took issue with the DP’s ideology.

“You can’t claim to empower people by setting aside Sh30 billion to give as handout,” Raila said.

“Kenyans can produce [commercial and agricultural products]; Kenyans are industrious people. Kenyans want to rely on their own talent and labour to produce so that ‘Made in Kenya’ becomes an international brand,” he said.

“When I was a young boy, I’d hear people saying they do not want products made in Japan. Children would go to school, and would be laughed at for wearing uniform made in Japan. The Japanese people did not relent. They worked hard and improved on the quality of their products. Today, any item that is made in Japan is regarded as a high quality product. That’s the direction I want Kenya to take,” Raila said, emphasising: “We do not want handouts.”

Deputy President William Ruto, on the other hand, has accused Raila Odinga of tolerating graft when the ODM chief was Kenya’s Prime Minister.

At a church service in Umoja on July 4, Ruto said he was shocked that “Raila perceives the DP’s generosity to churches and boda boda operators as handouts”.

“It’s true I give funds to churches, boda boda riders and women operating groceries. I did not start doing that today. When I was in his political camp, and was still doing the same, he did not see it as wrong. He has refused to admit that I helped him land a senior government job,” said Ruto, vowing to continue with his donations across the country.

On Raila’s Tsunami claim, the DP on Sunday, July 25, urged the opposition leader to swiftly assemble the team that would face him at the ballot box.

“They have turned William Ruto into a campaign agenda instead of naming a presidential candidate and coming up with a plan for the country. I want to assure them that they will lose in the polls,” Ruto said during a meeting with small-scale traders at Rurii shopping centre in Nyandarua County.

The Mt. Kenya region, which has traditionally voted as a block, is now considered a swing constituency, with pundits observing that Ruto has made inroads into his boss’s political heartland.

This follows Ruto-linked United Democratic Alliance’s victories against Jubilee in Rurii Ward and Kiambaa Constituency by-elections on May 18 and July 15 respectively.

It remains to be seen how the region will vote should President Uhuru Kenyatta endorse his handshake partner, Raila Odinga, in 2022. Raila has, however, said he will, on a later date, announce whether he’d be running for presidency, or not.

Raila’s aides, including ODM Director of Elections Junet Mohamed, who is also the MP for Suna East, have said publicly that the former Prime Minister will be on the ballot in 2022 presidential election.

President Kenyatta has, in the recent past, urged the opposition to unite and front one candidate who will face Ruto in the 2022 State House race.

The President said he would support the single candidate endorsed by the opposition.

Kenyatta’s pledge, however, did not seem to entice the opposition leaders, who ended drifting apart, even after the President’s word.

NASA-affiliate parties, Wiper, Ford Kenya and Amani National Congress, have since vowed to formally pull out of the coalition and enter a pact with KANU to form up the One Kenya Alliance that would produce a compromise presidential candidate.

As of now, nearly all the One Kenya Alliance leaders, Kalonzo Musyoka, Gideon Moi, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetangula, have suggested they would be on the ballot in the 2022 presidential contest.

Other leaders who have expressed interest in the presidency include Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, his Mombasa counterpart Ali Joho, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, former UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi, Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, billionaire businessman Jimmy Wanjigi, among others.

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