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Mt Kenya East leaders endorse Raila Odinga for the presidency in 2022

By Phares Mutembei | October 20th 2021

ODM leader Raila Odinga, Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi and other leaders when he addressed leaders and residents at Chuka in Tharaka Nithi on October 18, 2021. [Phares Mutembei, Standard]

Leaders in the three counties of Mount Kenya East have endorsed ODM leader Raila Odinga for the presidency.

Governors Kiraitu Murungi (Meru), Muthomi Njuki (Tharaka Nithi), Martin Wambora (Embu) were joined by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, National Assembly Deputy Chief Whip Maoka Maore and other leaders in endorsing Raila.

In a declaration read by former Tigania West MP Kilemi Mwiria and witnessed by various groups from the three counties in Chuka yesterday, the leaders said they had settled on Raila for the top seat owing to his good vision for the country.

"We have agreed to support Raila Odinga as the next president of Kenya," said Dr Mwiria.

It could mark a major turning point for a region that has previously been seen to be leaning towards Deputy President William Ruto, unlike the Mt Kenya West counties.

Raila did not immediately respond to a suggestion by Njuri Ncheke secretary general Josephat Murangiri for him to consider Munya as his running mate in the 2022 General Election.

Political commentator Dr James Mithika said the ringing endorsements were enough proof that it was just a matter of time for Raila to emerge as the undisputed favourite presidential candidate in Mt Kenya.

In return for their support, the leaders asked Raila to also ensure Mount Kenya East is not left out of his government in the distribution of resources and other opportunities.

They said they would like to see people from the region occupy top jobs in his administration.

They also expect Raila as president to provide them with markets for their agricultural produce, including miraa, tea and coffee.

They said other things they want to get from the Raila presidency are improved infrastructure in the three counties.

The three governors were joined by Nyandarua's Francis Kimemia and Laikipia's Nderitu Muriithi in praising Raila's plan to unite Kenyans and set the country on a good economic transformation.

Kiraitu acknowledged Raila's ability to resuscitate the economy and empower Kenyans. "This man is tested. I have worked with him," Kiraitu said, adding that Raila had fought for the rights of the oppressed. He said just like his father Jaramogi who was pro-poor, Raila wants to help the poor. "That is the language Raila is speaking," he said.

Munya said the region wanted to support someone who was ready to empower them.

Raila pledged to construct a dam in Tharaka Nithi to enable farmers to grow enough food. "I understand the issues in this region, of agriculture, insecurity and livestock," he said.

But in Chuka town, they met opposition with the huge crowd that turned up interrupting speeches with shouts of "Ruto! Hustler!"

Njuki blamed the heckling on "opposition" supporters, saying he had opened the door to the region for Raila. 

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