Mount Kenya Foundation (MKF) have settled on ODM leader Raila Odinga to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta over his willingness to allocate more resources to the region.
Influential business and political figures under the foundation described Raila as the best bet in ensuring the region’s interests are protected post-Uhuru’s reign.
The region said their businesses and influence in government were only guaranteed under a Raila presidency.
The decision to back Raila for the top seat was further informed by the feeling that it is under Raila’s leadership that pending projects under the current regime would be implemented.
The region further feels that peace and a conducive environment for business can only be guaranteed by the former premier.
The foundation had engaged Raila, One Kenya Alliance (OKA) principals Gideon Moi (Kanu), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula in a vetting process.
Yesterday’s declaration by the team handed Raila’s quest for State House yet another boost.
The announcement by the leaders from the region is a build-up to Raila’s planned political extravaganza at Kasarani Stadium tomorrow.
Raila is widely expected to declare his candidature for the top seat in the event to be attended by about 60,000 supporters.
“That through Azimio La Umoja, Odinga has demonstrated a willingness to address the interests of our region; secure Kenya’s peace and economy; and safeguard public resources from plunder,” said the foundation in a joint communique read by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.
In a thinly veiled attack targeting Deputy President William Ruto, the group said that they have no confidence in “sweet-talking people who want to take advantage of our problems and use them as fodder for electioneering without offering concrete solutions.”
“That we have no confidence and reject people who proclaim themselves to be our leaders without consulting us and who want to impose leaders on us just like the colonialists once did,” declared the group.
The group said that the region was not safe in the hands of “individuals with a history of looting public coffers, land grabbing and perpetuating the displacement of our people.”
The foundation said that the region was more concerned about the economy than politics.
“However, we see politics as an opportunity to address our economic issues. We have also witnessed what corruption can do to an economy and cannot imagine a Kenya where looters are in charge,” said the communique.
They noted that Uhuru has laid a solid foundation for an economic take-off through massive investments in infrastructure- roads, ports, airports, dams, electricity connections, stadia, etc as well in social and human development.
They said Raila’s leadership will ensure continuity of the legacy without subjecting the country to “reckless untested experiments.”
The leaders noted that people from the region have faced the dark side of politically instigated and election-related violence more than any other region.
“Our people have been killed, hounded, persecuted, displaced, evicted, and our property destroyed. When Kenya burns, it is our people who bear the greatest brunt of the consequences,” said Munya in the joint document.
They said Uhuru and Raila have shown commitment to building a united country through the March 9, 2018 handshake.
“We celebrate the prevailing period of unity, peace, and stability that has seen accelerated growth and sustained development in our region since the March 2018 Handshake with the former Prime Minister Raila Odinga,” they said.
In his remarks, Raila revisited the close ties between the two communities narrating how his late father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga pushed for the release of founding President Jomo Kenyatta.
“The colonialist said you know Kenyatta is senile, you are qualified to be the prime minister, but Jaramogi said no, Kenyatta is our leader,” he said.
“Without unity, we cannot realise the Kenyan dream. Unity means no discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, gender, and religion,” the ODM leader added.
Council of Governors Chairperson Martin Wambora described the next poll as a moment to make Raila the next president.
He said Raila had sacrificed a lot for the country and it was time to make him the country’s Head of State.
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho said the country will only remain united under Raila’s presidency.
He urged the vote-rich Mt Kenya region to rally behind Raila so as to protect their business interests.
“If you want a united country then Raila is your man. If you believe in shared prosperity, Raila is the man,” said Joho.