Leaders divided over call to endorse Raila Odinga

Raila Odinga. Orange party legislator says whoever succeeds him should be a person who can fight graft. [File, Standard]
Political leaders are divided over the call for President Uhuru Kenyatta to endorse Opposition chief Raila Odinga to succeed him when his term expires in 2022.

This is after Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) chairman John Mbadi (Suba South) urged Uhuru to ensure that he leaves someone who can continue with the fight against corruption.

Mbadi spoke on Friday at the burial of Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o’s mother in Ratta, Kisumu County.

But MPs Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu), Dan Maanzo (Makueni), Nixon Korir (Langata) and George Aladwa (Makadara) all had different views on the call to endorse Raila to succeed Uhuru in 2022.

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Mbadi yesterday maintained that President Uhuru should ensure that whoever succeeds him should be a person with zeal and the will to root out corruption.

“One thing that Kenyans are agreeable is that there is too much corruption. The fight against corruption cannot be won in three or four years but a longer period which will go past 2022. You cannot leave that fight to someone who does not believe in rooting out the vice,” said Mbadi.

Mbadi further explained that he asked Uhuru to pray with him so that his successor may be a person who is able to crack the whip until the corruption dragon is slayed.

Siaya Senator James Orengo, though not directly vouching for Raila, asked Uhuru to rein in his troops not to politic but to help fight corruption and consolidate the unity of the country.

Ichung’wa said Uhuru is an honest gentleman who keeps his word, and claimed the ODM camp has perfected the art of conmanship and are determined to affect Jubilee Party.

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However, Richard Onyonka (Kitutu Chache South) believes Raila should succeed Uhuru and continue with the fight against corruption, saying that age and experience favours him.

“Raila is the most qualified person in the country to become President of Kenya among his equals. He has learned from his mistakes. I believe in our country today, he is seen as a statesman the same position Mwai Kibaki held before he took over power in 2002,” said Mr Onyonka.

Tribalism

Aladwa also supported Mbadi’s call, saying since the ‘handshake’, Raila has stood with Uhuru and the country is moving in the right direction.

“Now we have peace and the economy is doing well. Kenyans are living without hatred and tribalism. As ODM, we fully call on Uhuru to fully support Raila in 2022,” said Aladwa.

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Korir, a close ally of Ruto, said Mbadi and his friends are caught up in wishful thinking and have abdicated their role to check the excesses of the Jubilee administration.

Nyeri Town MP Wambugu Ngunjiri accused the ODM MPs of engaging in early politics.

Mr Maanzo (Wiper) said he spoke to Raila about his presidential candidature in 2022 and he was categorical that he would not be on the ballot.

Speaking at Chebororwa Primary School in Elgeyo Marakwet County yesterday, Jubilee leaders the decision on whom to elect lies with the voters.

They were Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, Governor Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet), MPs William Kisang (Marakwet West), Kangogo Bowen (Marakwet East), Caleb Kositany (Soy), Daniel Rono (Keiyo South), Julius Melly (Tindiret) and Jane Chebaibai (Women Rep, Elgeyo Marakwet).

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Deputy President William Ruto was also among those who attended the function.“It’s the ordinary voters that matter in any election. They are the ones to determine who they want to elect for any seat during general elections,” said Mr Melly.

Mr Murkomen said Jubilee’s front-runner is clear for now unless more candidates express their wish to succeed Mr Kenyatta.

“But what I know is that President Uhuru Kenyatta endorsed William Ruto long time ago for presidency in 2022. He has not changed his word. I am speaking on behalf of the President,” said Mr Murkomen.

Sideshows

Ruto told leaders not to be bothered by those engaging in political sideshows and instead focus their energies on serving Kenyans. He said he would continue doing his constitutional duties of helping the President discharge his mandate for the country.

“Those in opposition should do their work and leave us alone. Jubilee party has its own way of serving Kenyans and we will not be cowed from implementing our agenda,” said Ruto.

Political analyst Macharia Munene said ODM leaders were just playing politics as usual and Kenyans should not read so much from their statements.

“Orengo has said this many times and it is not news. Their assumption is that Uhuru’s followers will not go against his view.

“In this case if he tells them to vote for Raila. But the followers can react differently. The two just took advantage of an opportunity to express their greed for power,” said Prof Munene.

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Raila OdingaSuccession politicsElections 2022ODM party