Raila again, a fifth time: A look into his 4 previous attempts at presidency

Raila Odinga has run for presidency four times: in 1997, 2007, 2013 and 2017. [File, Standard]

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga is today expected to officially declare his 2022 presidential candidature.

Many speculated that his participation in the 2017 presidential election was the last time he was featuring on the ballot paper as a presidential candidate.

However, today’s Azimio la Umoja convention would mark the fifth time Odinga is announcing that he’d be on the ballot paper.

Odinga, however, remains silent on who will be his running-mate, though it is widely suspected that he will look the Mt. Kenya direction for a principal assistant.

The four times that Raila Odinga has run for presidency are 1997, 2007, 2013 and 2017 polls.

1997: No beginner's luck

His first attempt was in 1997 when he ran on the National Development Party (NDP) ticket. He lost, but stayed active in politics.

In 2001,  courtesy of his rapprochement with President Daniel arap Moi, he was appointed as Energy minister. During that time, he was chosen as the Secretary-General of the then-ruling party, KANU after dissolving NDP

In 1997 Moi won that election with 2.45 million votes, followed by Mwai Kibaki of Democratic Party, who got 1.9 million votes. Raila was a distant third with 665,000 votes.

Whereas he did not run in 2002, Raila was part of the team that pushed for a Mwai Kibaki presidency. Remember the famous "Kibaki Tosha" mantra?

The newly-formed National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) fronted Kibaki, who was elected president against Uhuru Kenyatta in December 2002. More than half of the seats were won by NARC candidates.

Kibaki garnered 3.65 million votes in the presidential election, while Uhuru got 1.84 million.

Raila was now in government as the Minister for works with his lieutenants such James Orengo, Prof Peter Anyang Nyong'o and Dr Adhu Awiti in key ministries. 

2007: Violence-marred election

The 2007 provisional results of the election had indicated that Raila was in the lead. But the tide seemed to change, when the final results announced by then then-electoral board boss Samuel Kivuitu put Kibaki in the lead.

Kibaki was declared the winner with 4.58 million votes, against Raila’s 4.35 million votes, a difference of 231,000 votes.

Raila rejected the results, saying they were marred by irregularities.

The dispute would lead to post-election violence in which more than 1,000 people were killed and more than 600,000 displaced.

2013: Third time's a charm?

The March 4, 2013, General Election pitted Raila Odinga against President Uhuru Kenyatta. Results placed Uhuru in the lead with 50.07 per cent, followed by Raila's 43.31 per cent. He filed a petition at the Supreme Court, which upheld Uhuru's victory.

Uhuru Kenyatta won the election with 6.17 million votes, against Raila’s 5.34 million votes.

2017 polls: Last bullet?

The script seemed to follow that of the previous election, where Raila ran against Uhuru Kenyatta and the former would place second.

The results of the August 8 polls showed Uhuru had won with 54 per cent of the votes (7.7 million), and that Raila came second with 45 per cent (6.3 million).

On September 1, the Supreme Court nullified the presidential election outcome, ordering that in 60 days repeat polls should be held. After the October 26 repeat polls, Uhuru was still declared winner, which Raila and his supporters did not accept, arguing they had boycotted the repeat election.

Kenyatta was, nevertheless, declared the winner with 7.48 million votes, against Raila’s 73,200 votes.

2022: Final stab? Maybe

Previously, it would have been unheard of for some of the Mt. Kenya political bigwigs to support Raila and say “Baba tosha”.

But the tide seems to have turned. Uhuru, who has historically been the thorn in Raila's flesh, is now the wind in his sail.

With the Mount Kenya Foundation endorsing Raila's presidency, his official announcement is expected to be the beginning of his fifth attempt at the presidency.