On the last Sunday before the 2022 General Election, Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga knelt and prayed for the country and for victory.
Kneeling to his right was his running mate Martha Karua, dressed in a blue kitenge dress. To Raila’s left was his wife Ida, dressed in white.
The three, together with Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and their respective families, were part of a service themed ‘the national solemn assembly,’ whose message centred on breaking the curses that have afflicted the country - bloodshed, tribalism and corruption.
“I, Raila Amollo Odinga, son of the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and Mama Mary Emmah Odinga, hereby take this opportunity to dedicate this nation to you, Almighty God of all creation, in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit,” Raila, clad in a navy blue suit, recited a written dedication during an interdenominational prayer session at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Nairobi, yesterday.
Clergy of different faiths - Christianity, Islam and Hinduism - presided over the event. They prayed for the leaders’ health, safety and for victory. They asked God to grant Raila and Karua “supernatural wisdom to lead the country.” The clergy also prayed for the curses on the to be broken.
Bishop Boniface Adoyo, who delivered the sermon, identified bloodshed, tribalism and corruption as the most urgent crises that Kenya must overcome, saying that Kenyans should “make this transition different.”
“Corruption has placed Kenya under the curse of God. If we knew that we do not benefit from corruption, we would stop stealing,” said Bishop Adoyo preached.
He also urged Kenyans to avert bloodshed and break the cycle of violence.
Dr Agnes Awuor said the Azimio leader would win the election, saying that God had planned it so.
The religious leaders hang banners bearing images of Kenya’s four presidents -Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel Moi, Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta - and that of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga on the wall. Another banner with the images of Raila and Karua hang at the front of the podium where the pair sat, against a background of the national flag.
A symbolic horn was blown seven times to sound a call of “great victory.”
Seven, the clerics said, marked completion, recounting Raila’s last campaign speech on Saturday. The Azimio presidential candidate said that tomorrow’s election, the seventh since the advent of multi-partyism, heralded the end of the Saba Saba struggle for democracy, first held in July 7, 1990.
Raila said the clerics present had read the minds of the Azimio leaders, who had spread the very message in the campaigns that concluded on Saturday.
“That is the essence of Azimio la Umoja One Kenya,” the Azimio leader said, stating that he hoped to achieve what Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere had in his time at the helm.
“No life should be lost in the hands of any other person. We want to create one Kenyan nation, and that the tribe will be the Kenyan tribe.”
He said that dealing with corruption would make it easier to curb tribalism and bloodshed.
Prayers were offered for the leaders and their families. For Raila and his family, it was that they keep with the strength they have shown over the years.
For Karua, it was that she would make history and become the first woman to ascend to the second-highest office in the land.
For Kalonzo, it was that he would keep on being a “peacemaker” and to be appointed the chief minister.