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Oburu: Raila will not endorse anyone until he becomes President

COUNTIES
By Nathan Ochunge and Micah Sali | February 28th 2021

ODM party leader Raila Odinga during the burial of Mama Selina Wangamati at Bungoma Airstrip grounds. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Politicians allied to ODM leader Raila Odinga yesterday remained categorical that his name will be on the ballot at the next General Election.

Oburu Odinga told disgruntled National Super Alliance (Nasa) leaders to stop whining and prepare to back his younger brother’s presidential quest.

Oburu was among ODM leaders who accompanied Raila to the burial of Selina Nasike, mother of Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati. He said time was ripe for Raila to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta and that those waiting for endorsements from him are day-dreaming.

According to the East African Legislative Assembly lawmaker, Raila will not back Musalia Mudavadi (Amani National Congress), Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka or Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula for the top seat.

“Some leaders from Western region want Raila to retire from politics and endorse them. Raila can’t retire just yet since he has not ascended to the seat he has been fighting for. You can’t leave the presidency to non-starters,” said Oburu.

He added: “Raila will only give the presidency to any of the Luhya leaders after he has served his term.”

Oburu reminded the mourners of a prophecy that indicated leadership would come to the region from the direction of Lake Victoria. According to him, this meant Raila will be the one to fulfill the vision by Elijah Wanameme, a Luhya spiritual leader.

He advised Mudavadi and Wetang’ula to support Raila’s 2022 presidential bid as they prepare to take over after he exits the scene.

Oburu Odinga [File, Standard]

Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo said only Raila understands the country’s problems and that it would be easier for him to fix them if elected.

“Raila will ensure he implements the initiatives he wanted but were ignored by the regimes that were in power,” Mr Odhiambo said.

Fight for leadership

He said those who were waiting to be handed power on a platter had forgotten that leadership is fought for, adding that they lack focus.

“Mudavadi and Wetang’ula must rise to the occasion and fight for their space instead of waiting for an endorsement.”

Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga advised Mudavadi and Wetang’ula to support Raila’s bid for the presidency so that when he retires, he can hand over the mantle to them.

Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti said, “Let Raila complete the food he has been cooking while fighting for the second liberation. He is almost crossing over to Canaan and therefore we should not stand in his way but instead support his presidential bid.”

ANC nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi told Mudavadi and Wetang’ula to respect Raila and stop abusing him in funerals in their quest to be endorsed for the presidency.

“We the Luhya people respect Raila for fighting for the second liberation and multiparty democracy. He is better placed to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta,” said Osotsi.

Sabot MP Caleb Amisi advised Mudavadi and Wetang’ula to sell their candidature to Kenyans and stop seeking Raila’s endorsement.

But Bumula MP Mwambu Mabonga criticised Osotsi and Amisi, saying they needed to have respect. “As Luhyas, we will only be respected if we show respect to our Luhya leaders. For us to give direction to tomorrow’s generation, we must support our local leaders and stop abusing them in funerals.”

When Raila stood to speak, he steered clear off 2022 succession politics. Instead, he told the mourners how he planned with President Kenyatta to deliver the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill after it was endorsed by most of the county assemblies.

The victory, he added, had left Jubilee’s Tangatanga wing led by Deputy President William Ruto with egg on their faces.

“Uhuru told me that he will deliver all the 10 counties from central Kenya while I assured him to deliver the 11 counties from Western, Nyanza and Coast counties. We delivered them during the Super Tuesday when ward reps endorsed the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill,” Raila said.

According to the former premier, through BBI, counties will get an increment of their sharable revenue from 15 per cent to 35 per cent. The elusive two-third gender rule in Parliament will be implemented, and MCAs will get five per cent of the county budget for ward development.

“They told us they will give our youth a million jobs every year and laptops to class one pupils but that was hot air. Now they want to give them wheelbarrows. That’s outdated politics and Kenyans should support the referendum drive in order to better their lives.

“The devolved system of governance didn’t come on a silver plate. Odhiambo Mbai was killed in front of his family while fighting for the devolved system of governance. For us to protect devolution, we must vote yes in the referendum. Those against BBI don’t have the interests of the country at heart,” Raila said.

Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka said he had received the BBI reports from 38 counties, and that the constitutional requirement of 24 counties had been met. “The National Assembly and Senate will follow the law after receiving the BBI report and legislate on it. We are only referees and I am confident we shall deliver like the county assemblies.”

Governors at the funeral ceremony were Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), James Ongwae (Kisii), Wilber Ottichilo (Vihiga), Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia), Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu) and Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia).

A section of leaders who attended the funeral. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Other leaders who were present included nominated senators Naomi Shiyonga and Gertrude Musuruve, MPs Eseli Simiyu (Tongaren), Wafula Wamunyinyi (Kanduyi), Dan Wanyama (Webuye West), Fred Kapondi (Mt Elgon) and Raphael Wanjala (Budalang’i).

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