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Get set for next polls, Raila urges his party

By Kepher Otieno and Olivia Odhiambo | August 18th 2019 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Opposition leader Raila Odinga during the burial of Mama Eva Donde in Gem, Siaya yesterday. She was the mother of former Gem MP Joe Donde. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga has given the strongest signal yet that the party will field a presidential candidate in the 2022 polls.

Raila told the party officials to start preparing for party elections next year, an exercise he said was part of the roadmap to 2022.

Although he did not give details of the preparations or whether he will run again for the top post, Raila directed party officials and supporters to renew their support and loyalty as the country prepared for presidential elections.

Raila has in the past played down calls by allies that he was their presidential candidate for the 2022 General Election.

Yesterday while speaking in Gem during the burial of Mama Eva Donde, the mother of former area MP Joe Donde, Railaasked Kenyans to brace for vigorous grassroots partyelections.

“We want to begin to consolidate our grassroots support ahead of 2022,” said Raila.

Raila is currently in a deep political friendship with President Uhuru Kenyatta, and there has been speculation they could form a pact for 2022. Pro-Deputy President William Ruto leaders have accused Raila of using his handshake with the President to prepare himself for the presidency.

Senior ODM leaders including MPs and senators have on several occasions said publicly that Raila was their candidate in 2022.

Yesterday, they repeated the same with Siaya Senator James Orengo, MPs Otiende Amollo and Opiyo Wandayi saying Railawas still fit to vie for the Presidency.

Already, jostling for party positions has kicked off in earnest. ODM chairman John Mbadi told Sunday Standard that they will ensure free and fair elections as Raila urged all to turn up.

Party officials are key and hold decisive sway as to who carries the party flag for elective posts of governor, senator’s, MPs and MCAs, and those to be nominated based on their contribution to the party.

On the proposed referendum, Raila assured Kenyans that the BBI report will be made public.

“There will be no hidden treasures. The report will be handed over to the President and I, after which we will unveil its contents to the people to read and make recommendations,” said Raila.

After public discussions, they will formulate a Bill to frame the ballot question. Until then, Kenyans have no reason to agonise over the proposed law reforms. 

Raila signalled a new Kenya in the making that will uphold the values of peace, love and unity as is embodied in the National Anthem. “We want to transition to a Kenya where justice and equity will be the new order,” Raila said.

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