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Raila Odinga's options after Court of Appeal judgement on BBI

By Isaiah Gwengi | August 22nd 2021

ODM leader Raila Odinga. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga says he is ready to face Deputy President William Ruto in next year’s General Election.

Raila’s declaration puts to rest speculations on whether he will be on the presidential ballot or not amid mounting pressure from his allies to give it a fifth stab.

It also comes just hours after the Court of Appeal delivered a landmark judgement sealing the fate of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) crusade to amend the 2010 Constitution.

“They had time to make noise, but time has come to face him on the field. They’ve made a lot of noise issuing wheelbarrows but it’s now time to face the battle,” said Raila in reference to Ruto’s hustler narrative.

Raila urged his supporters to embark on mass voter registration ahead of the August 9, 2022 elections.

“Most of our people didn’t register as voters in the last election and we are now urging them that winning an election requires votes,” said Raila.

He added: “Prepare with the voter’s card and the ID to cast the ballot in 2022.”

The former prime minister was making his first public appearance since the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court judgement on the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

Speaking yesterday during the burial of former director at National Aids Control Council (NACC) Dr Patrick Orege in Masita village, Bondo sub-county, the opposition chief said they respect the court’s decision.

He recounted the constitutional journey to replace the Lancaster law, invoking memories of the amendment and repeal of Section 2A.

“Most items that were in the BBI were formerly rejected in Bomas draft but they were important for the prosperity of this nation. Still, we will find a way to implement them later,” said Raila, adding that their focus as a party now is winning the 2022 elections.

The ODM leader has lately heightened his political activities, including launching his 2022 roadmap dubbed, “Azimio La Umoja”, on Tuesday in Nakuru.

Countrywide activities

He had planned countrywide activities starting Kakamega County on Friday, then Coast, but the events have since been postponed following the reviewed Covid-19 protocols, banning political and public gatherings.

In his Homa Bay County meeting on Thursday, he was endorsed by over 1,000 delegates from the larger Nyanza region, including Kisii and Nyamira counties at Sikri in Kasipul constituency.

And with this endorsement, Raila is no longer keeping his presidential bid close to his chest. MPs Oburu Oginga (East Africa Legislative Assembly), Elisha Odhiambo (Gem) and James Nyikal (Seme) welcomed his declaration and said they were ready to face off with Ruto.

The DP has come under harsh criticism for declaring his race to State House early and derailing his government’s Big Four Agenda and the Handshake deal.

Oburu described the court judgement as a small stumble, and said their journey to State House was unstoppable.

“We are moving on with or without BBI and we are focusing on the presidency. The race to State House is unstoppable. The people should concentrate on how to make Raila president in 2022,” said Oburu.

He added: “The small hiccups should not worry us. We should concentrate and prepare for the 2022 elections.”

Arms of government

Odhiambo called for a conversation between the three arms of the government. “The Executive, Judiciary and Legislature must now have a discussion to avoid supremacy battles,” he said.

He also warned that it was not yet time for the DP and his allies to celebrate the court ruling on BBI.

“It’s evident that the celebration on the court ruling against BBI was witnessed in one town and this should tell us that all is not well,” he added.

Dr Nyikal said the problems and solutions to matters affecting Kenyans were contained in the rejected document.

He said that very few people read the document.

“We shall implement the content of the document administratively or through Parliament for this country to move forward,” said Nyikal.

Download the BBI Judgement by all seven Judges - Civil Appeal No. E291 of 2021
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