ODM leader Raila Odinga has told Deputy President William Ruto that he is not the automatic heir to the throne.
Raila told Ruto to stop telling Kenyans that President Uhuru Kenyatta had, in 2013, promised to support him in the succession battle.
Speaking at his Opoda farm in Bondo yesterday where he hosted more than 150 Kikuyu leaders and elders from Nakuru, the ODM leader said Kenyans were not aware of a deal between the President and his deputy over 2022.
“When they were agreeing with the President, the rest of Kenyans were not party to the deal and therefore he cannot impose his will on Kenyans,” Raila said.
Addressing the guests, who included former Molo MP Njenga Mungai and former minister Musa Sirma, the ODM leader likened Ruto to a shylock who out to reap big in the succession race, riding on the good will in Jubilee but oblivious of the political ramifications his move has on communities.
Quoting from William Shakespeare’s book “The Merchants of Venice,” Raila said the country will not be held hostage by political shylocks.
He warned Ruto to prepare to battle it out for the presidency like other candidates without expecting favours from President Kenyatta.
“The presidential elections will be open to any Kenyans who qualify. No one should claim he is the one who must get it,” said Raila.
Politicians allied to the DP have been piling pressure on the President to show commitment to support Ruto in the 2022 succession race.
The Tang Tanga team believes Kenyatta’s handshake with Raila was a threat to Ruto’s presidential bid.
The DP has accused the ODM leader of using the handshake to wreck the Jubilee Party. Raila reiterated that he has not declared interest to run for the presidency and has not struck any 2022 deal with President Kenyatta.
“Our deal is anchored on the pillars of democracy and governance. We want a Kenya where all citizens have equal opportunity and access to primary health care and education as well as justice and equity in the redistribution and sharing of national cake,” he said. He added: “Whoever wants to join us in this journey is free to join our new political discourse.”
Raila said they have committed with Kenyatta not to allow ethnic divisions to rock the country in the next General Election. He asked Kenyans to brace for changes in the Constitution to ensure a more inclusive government. Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi said without peace, the country will not grow. He urged Kenyans to shun divisive politics.
MPs Elisha Odhiambo (Gem), Christine Ombaka (Siaya) and Otiende Amollo (Rarieda) rooted for a new constitutional order.
“Time has come for us to revisit the Constitution in the aggregate interest of Kenyans,” said Dr Amollo. Mr Sirma said Kenyans expect the handshake between Raila and the President to steer economic growth and create jobs.
“People are hungry and want jobs and economic transformation which will impact positively on their livelihoods,” he said.
He added: “We must therefore direct energies on programmes aimed at uplifting the socioeconomic prospects of the common man. Otherwise come 2022, there will be voter apathy.”
The former minister warned that without empowerment, the people may rebel against the political establishment.
Yesterday, Raila’s Opoda home was a beehive of activity as he hosted more than 150 Kikuyu and Luo elders from Nakuru County. Earlier, the elders visited Kango Kajaramogi, where Raila’s father, Kenya’s First Vice President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, was buried in 1994.
Ida Odinga said the visit was a good gesture. “It epitomizes the love that transcends ethnic lineage or biological or one’s political orientation. I am really humbled by the visit,” she said.
Luo council of elders chairman Opiyo Otondi sent the crowd into laughter when he said his childhood dream had come true. “My dream has always been that the sons of the founding presidents will one day unite for the common good of all,” he said. He recalled that at onset of the country’s independence Jaramogi and the founding President Jomo Kenyatta were inseparable.
Mungai pleaded with Raila not to abandon the race for the presidency.
“You have sacrificed a lot to save this country. You have remained focused on national values. We love you sir. Kindly do not forsake us by abandoning the race to State House. Stick with us. We are firmly with you,” he said.
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