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We will support one of our own in presidential race, say OKA leaders

OKA principals Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Gideon Moi (Kanu) and Moses Wetangula (Ford Kenya). [Dennis Kavisu, Standard]

The challenge of picking One Kenya Alliance (OKA) presidential flag bearer to battle it out with Deputy President William Ruto in next year's elections was evident yesterday.

This even as OKA principals Gideon Moi (Kanu), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) and Moses Wetang'ula (Ford Kenya) vowed that one of them will be the presidential candidate.

As the principals made what they said was “Great Rift Valley declaration,” in Naivasha, ODM leader Raila Odinga was 70km away in Nakuru town where he was addressing the nation on what he described as “A road map to united political action.”

The two separate events, held in Nakuru County, dashed the hopes of OKA and ODM coming together to form what they previously said will be ‘a super alliance’ to take on  Ruto on August 9, 2022.

Raila’s event was a clearest indication that he will be on the ballot box. The setup of the event had a micro-phone podium bearing the letter ‘R’ insignia and the slogan ‘Azimio La Umoja’.

The two events came just seven days after President Uhuru Kenyatta hosted the leaders at State House, Mombasa where it was alleged that he preferred Raila as his successor.

The OKA meeting at Great Rift Valley Lodge, Naivasha was a culmination of a retreat where it was largely believed that the flag bearer would be unveiled.

Addressing the Press, the alliance spokesman and Kitutu Chache South MP Richard Onyonka said the four principals were united and keen to support one of their own.

Mr Onyanka, who is also Ford Kenya secretary-general, said they would in due time announce their candidate.

“Our principals are united and come 2022 we shall have a presidential candidate in the General Election,” said the Kitutu Chache MP.

Reading the alliance joint communique, Onyonka said that they would fully respect the decision by the seven-judge bench of Court of Appeal ruling on the Building Bridges Initiative on Friday.

“We are keenly looking forward to the court’s ruling and come Friday we shall abide by the decision of the seven-judge bench,” he said.

Kitutu Chache South MP Richard Onyonka. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

At the same time, the MP said they fully back IEBC to conduct the coming elections despite reservations by ODM.

“We fully back IEBC to hold free, fair and credible elections and that the current commissioners be allowed to perform their duties,” he said.

During the meeting, Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat defended their association with OKA despite having a working arrangement with Jubilee.

He dismissed reports that Kanu was working with ODM, saying they were fully in OKA and keen to form the next government.

“As Kanu we are in charge of our decisions and fully in OKA and other rumours should be ignored,” he said.

Nambale MP Sakwa Bunyasi said OKA will be a breath of fresh air in the crowded political field come 2022.

Bunyasi noted that Kenya's fifth president was right among the four principals.

OKA plans to champion hope for economic liberation that will rival Ruto’s bottom-up economic model.

Wetang'ula said OKA will offer solutions to problems that Kenyans face.

“Let's take to them solutions, those who are writing the manifesto have everything, when we go to Coast, Nyanza, Western what are the issues. These things we must segregate them,” he said.

He said they will use all means necessary to achieve the goal and going forward they should speak and walk the talk.

“We must have majority in the National Assembly and in the Senate. Even if one of us becomes the presidential candidate and wins and has no Members of Parliament he will like a castrated bull,” he said.

Baringo Senator Gideon Moi (left) with Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetangula at The Great Rift Lodge in Naivasha, Nakuru County. August 16, 2021. [Harun Wathari, Standard]

Musalia on his part said the principals should join hands and speak a simple language all Kenyans understand.

He expressed confidence that they will emerge winners in the elections and form the next government.

Samburu West MP Lesuuda Naisula maintained that OKA is the face of Kenya with representatives from across the country.

She said OKA members were solely behind the principals.

"We will support whoever the principals will give us to fly the alliance flag,” she said.

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja insisted that they are part and parcel of OKA and not invitees.

Sakaja said what OKA and Jubilee stand for one thing.

“As a Jubilee member, I am glad that in the past two days we have been able to have a discussion on policy framework that we want to bring to Kenyans, a conversation that will go to every corner of this country,” he said.

He said many Jubilee party members have found a home and seen hope in the dream that OKA is selling.

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