Azimio's strategy to make Kalonzo ready for a duel with Ruto in 2027

Azimio's strategy is to ripen Kalonzo by increasing his prominence in a bid to portray him as the next face of the struggle against oppression.

In recent weeks, the Wiper leader has played a leading role in Azimio's affairs, hosting some of the coalition's meetings and reading their joint statements.

Raila and Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, who flew Azimio's ticket last August, are also maintaining a prominent role in the coalition.

Friday's Wiper prayer meeting in Kalonzo's Yatta farm, which brought together heavyweights within Azimio, appeared to indicate the direction the coalition would take.

To firm up the Azimio ticket, the coalition is mulling over having a running mate from Western Kenya, with a mix of experienced and young politicians considered for various factors, as the opposition outfit seeks to lock its traditional strongholds.

"Such a ticket would be unbeatable," said a high-ranking source, who sought anonymity.

The source told The Saturday Standard of the budding plans: "Kalonzo is our only candidate."

For the longest time, politicians from Ukambani have urged Raila to pass the baton to Kalonzo citing his loyalty to him. Such calls have been termed premature given the next polls are over four years away.

"Azimio is focused on addressing pending issues of electoral injustice. Talk about 2027 is a distraction which we are not ready to embrace," said Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi.

During Friday's meeting, Machakos Senator Agnes Kavindu asked the former prime minister to endorse Kalonzo for the presidential bid.

Kalonzo Musyoka (centre) has supported Azimio leader Raila Odinga in his last three unsuccessful presidential bids. [Dennis Kavisu, Standard

The leaders also reiterated their calls for secession, protesting what they termed "imbalance" in government appointments.

Raila claimed glaring cases of tribalism and nepotism that had grown rampant in Ruto's administration, a scenario he said offended the rights of Kenyans and the constitution.

In an apparent reference to Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, who recently claimed Kenya Kwanza government was a shareholding of those who voted for the coalition, Raila said Kenyans will stop at nothing in fighting for their right to fairness and equity.

"We demand that Ruto immediately begins the process of correcting the imbalance in the appointments of all public positions in the country or we will call for self-determination," said Raila.

The former Prime Minister declared Azimio will fight to the last man to ensure all Kenyans irrespective of how they voted are treated fairly and in accordance with the constitution.

"They have been claiming that Kenya is a company where some hold majority shares, others minority and some none. If we have no shares in our own country, what business do we have in Kenya?" posed Raila.

The ODM leader claimed President Ruto had run amok by dishing out State appointments to only members of his ethnic community.

"Kenya has 45 tribes. But if you read the Kenya Gazette every week, you are treated to names from one ethnic region. We are telling Ruto that no one is in Kenya at somebody's invitation," he said.

"We have given you one week to denounce the remarks [by Deputy President Rigathi]. Otherwise, we shall write to the United Nations seeking self-determination," Raila declared amid cheers.