Raila now dismisses reports of Uhuru's plan to leave Azimio

He said the Azimio leadership agreed to strengthen the coalition and its constituent parties like ODM, Jubilee, Wiper and Kanu ahead of the next polls.

Raila's latest statement appears to contradict earlier reports attributed to Jubilee Party leadership that the former president was stepping down from his role as chairman of the Azimio Council to focus on peace building initiatives in Africa.

Raila's sentiments have, however, elicited mixed reactions from politicians allied to the coalition.

"What Raila needs to understand is that he has Uhuru's goodwill and blessings but he doesn't have his political support because Uhuru's political base was us, the leaders who were his lieutenants and we are not inheritable," said former Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu.

"Most of us have since moved out of Jubilee and have made a conscious decision to support the government of the day to succeed in its agenda.

Former Gatanga MP Nduati Ngugi said Raila's latest remarks may force members to rethink their plans.

"Raila's pronouncement will send most of us back to the drawing board. Uhuru's silence and absence in politics as well as remarks by his allies had informed us to contemplate him leaving the party. We will retire to consultations on the best way forward and make concrete decisions," said Ngugi.

Nominated MP Sabina Chege, however, said the ODM leader's statement will lead to more confusion and called on the retired president to pronounce himself on the matter.

"When reports that Uhuru would resign popped up, many leaders started getting out of the Jubilee Party. Now Raila has talked and this will lead to more confusion," said Chege who is also a member of the Azimio Council.

"Unfortunately, Uhuru's continued silence will hurt his party. He needs to break the ice and reorganise the party. He is silent to many leaders who sacrificed their political ambitions because of him."

Jubilee Party Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni also weighed in on the matter.

"Raila's statement is timely. Those who are running away from our party are doing so just because they lost an election. Our resolve was not only about winning an election. It was and remains about the next generation," said Kioni.

"We in Azimio are clear and intact. We know what we want to achieve. The problem with many of our leaders is their wish is to pursue personal interests, which is the most unfortunate thing."

On Sunday, some ODM officials, reacting to Raila's remarks, said they were yet to see any commitment from President Kenyatta's camp, but maintained the coalition was still intact.

A senior official, who asked not to be named, said they understand the tough balancing act Uhuru has to play as a retired president.

"We are waiting to see commitment from him to the Azimio cause. A lot has been on his table after retirement but we need to see him as an instrumental figure in the coalition," said the MP.

Another ODM legislator said he was not aware of any concrete plans the former president has in place to strengthen the coalition.

He believes Uhuru's silence on the coalition's activities is part of the reason some members, especially from Mt Kenya region, shifted camp after losing in the polls.

"The coalition is still intact and we believe both Raila and Uhuru are working on ways to strengthen it. We still do not know if there are any plans by the coalition's leadership to conduct joint activities," said the legislator.

He admitted that Uhuru's silence has affected the coalition and sent out negative political vibes.

"I have not heard of any joint activities for the coalition planned by the former president, but they are necessary," he said, adding that Uhuru needs to resurface from the low profile he took after the elections.

Raila maintained calls for a thorough audit of the events at the Bomas of Kenya during the announcement of presidential election results last August, saying Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati must explain to Kenyans where he got the figures that gave President William Ruto victory.

He said he wanted the audit to be carried out so that Kenyans know who really won the election.

"The audit will solve the problem in conducting elections and enable Kenyans know who won the last election," Raila said. He said the audit will unravel reason for the divide in IEBC where Chebukati had two commissioners on his side while Vice Chairperson Julian Cherera had three.

Raila dismissed claims that Azimio staged a coup at Bomas, saying Uhuru had always stated that he stood for free and fair elections.

"Uhuru had always insisted on free and fair elections. The government therefore could not stage a coup against itself. The coup was by one person," Raila said.

[Reports by Patrick Beja, Ndungu Gachane and Anne Atieno]