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Stop trembling before the real battle, Raila tells Kalonzo

POLITICS
By Moses Nyamori | June 18th 2021

Raila Odinga with Kalonzo Musyoka at the Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Kisumu,during Madaraka Day celebrations on June 1, 2021. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Raila Odinga yesterday hit out at his coalition partner Kalonzo Musyoka over the latter’s declaration that he would not support his presidential bid again.

Kalonzo on Wednesday vowed that he would not support Raila for the third time, having backed him in 2013 and 2017.

“As of now, it is unthinkable that I, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, would support Raila Odinga for the third time. I would be the most stupid fellow on earth to go and support - for the third time - a presidential candidate without a measure of reciprocity,” he said.

But yesterday, Raila asked the Wiper leader ‘to stop trembling before the real 2022 politics kicks off.’

The ODM leader said his focus right now was on how the proposed constitutional changes through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) could become a reality as opposed to some leaders who think he was after their support for the 2022 election.

“I have not at any time said that I want to be the president of this country come 2022 nor have I asked anybody to be my running mate,” said Raila yesterday.

The latest political eruption threatens President Uhuru Kenyatta’s behind-the-scenes efforts to unite the National Super Alliance (Nasa) leaders.

Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, ODM party leader Raila Odinga and Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka during the burial of the former Kibwezi MP Kalembe Ndile on June 11, 2021. [John Muia, Standard]

By going to the polls separately, the four principals – Raila, Kalonzo (Wiper), Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula – risk splitting their support base.

Raila made the remarks in Mombasa even as his other coalition partners, and their allies piled more pressure on him to back one of the principals based on their 2017 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

But ODM chair John Mbadi and National Minority Whip Junet Mohammed said Raila was the man to beat in the 2022 polls.

In an interview, Wetangúla said that it would be only fair for the ODM leader to back one of the Nasa principals.

The Bungoma Senator said it was wrong to claim that Raila was more popular than them, arguing that the support he enjoyed was a combined effort by the four Nasa affiliate parties.

He maintained that without their support, the ODM leader would have not gained overwhelming support of Ukambani, Western and other regions where the three principals command support.

“It would be good for him – as a brother who we did what was humanly possible to support his candidature – to support one of us. It is only just for him to support one of us,” said Wetangula.

“When we declare our candidature for the top seat, the first door to knock for support would be Raila’s. We hope when we knock on his door he would not treat us strangers but as brothers who have sacrificed for him before.”

ODM party leader Raila Odinga and Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka at the JKIA VIP lounge. [Dennis Kavisu, Standard]

Mudavadi at the weekend accused Raila of breaching trust within the coalition and insisted that any move to revive the alliance should be genuine.

“These people want to paint us as people who cannot make political moves if we are not allied to some politicians, I am there and want to stand with Kenyans, I am ready and am prepared to take over,” said the ANC leader.

Mbadi, however, said that in crafting a winning team they will have to consider the popularity of those seeking to run for the top seat.

He said those seeking support from other political players have to do so devoid of emotions but based on their chances to win in a presidential contest.

“That is his opinion and in politics, things change and people come to terms with reality on the ground.

“When the right time comes, we will enter into negotiations with parties; each candidate’s chances will be weighed on various parameters of winning an election that includes popularity on the ground,” said the ODM chair.

[Additional reporting by Willis Oketch] 

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