ODM MPs are piling pressure on Opposition leader Raila Odinga to go for the presidency for the sixth time come 2027 as the country desires his leadership.
The lawmakers said Raila was not only vigilant but also “youthful as demonstrated by his leadership capabilities”.
The sentiments that may rock the Azimio coalition that has presidential hopefuls such as Kalonzo Musyoka of Wiper, Martha Karua (Narc Kenya) and Eugene Wamalwa of DAP-K were received diplomatically by the former prime minister.
“Baba aendelee ama asiendelee? Do you feel I should go for it -the presidency- or hang the boots?” Raila posed amid cheers from hundreds of ODM supporters including the MPs at Khayega Grounds in Kakamega County where he launched the party’s mass registration exercise.
“Well, here is my answer, I will go for the seat if and when you register en masse as ODM members. I’ll look at the numbers at the end of the registration drive and give you the binding answer to your request,” said Raila.
Butere MP Tindi Mwale, his Khwisero counterpart Christopher Aseka, Nabii Nabwera (Lugari) and Kakamega Deputy Governor Ayub Savula set the ball rolling by asking Raila to go for the presidency and ignore the naysayers who were pushing the narrative that it was time he quit active politics.
“Let no one scare you off from the race saying that you are old. You are not, you are vigilant and sober to stand for president in 2027. Just ensure you have a potential bet like Wycliffe Oparanya as your running mate,” said Mwale.
Aseka said age was not a solid factor to worry about in the race for the presidency and those writing Raila’s political obituary should find meaningful grounds for barring him from the contest. The Azimio La Umoja leader will be 82 in 2027.
Savula, on the other hand, hinted that the diminishing popularity of Kenya Kwanza and the rise of Azimio as the masses call for Raila to reign in on KK to bring down the rising cost of living was an indicator of his approval that he should ride on to vie in 2027.
“We have seen the Kenya Kwanza government getting unpopular with growing cases of its senior officials including ministers being heckled by a dissatisfied public who call for Raila’s intervention to help sort the mess in government. Anyone using age to discredit Raila should therefore shut up,” he said.
Raila announced on November 10 that he would embark on a nationwide recruitment to revamp its fortunes ahead of the 2027 elections.
The ODM boss started his popularization drive in Siaya and Homa Bay a fortnight ago where he called on Kenyans of goodwill to join the party that stood a better chance of liberating the nation.
According to Raila, the registration drive has also been at Migori, Nyamira, Kisumu, Kisii and will be headed to Busia, Vihiga, Bungoma and Trans Nzoia next week.
ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna and Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi steered clear of the age debate but said Kenyans across the political divide were leaning towards ODM believing it would liberate them from the economic hardship pit KK has plunged them in.
“The cost of living has skyrocketed to historic proportions yet the President (William Ruto) keeps saying the economy has improved since he took over power. I think he must be talking about another country not the Kenya you and I are living in,” said Osotsi.
The lawmakers together with Raila visited ongoing sites of demolition in Milimani Estate, Kakamega where, among others, the house of Lurambi MP Titus Khamala, a judge in Kakamega and that of sugar baron Tajveer Rai have been brought down.
At the demolition site, the ODM party leader condemned the government for its blatant disregard of the rule of law barring the demolitions which are meant to create room for Ruto’s flagship affordable housing project.
“You cannot evict people haphazardly without showing them alternative places to stay, you even demolish houses against court orders. That is impunity as most of the people who developed land in this area turn out to be genuine and innocent buyers,” he said.
“No caring government can do such a beastly act like this. Khamala, for instance, bought his land in 2001 and built his house that was demolished yesterday night (Thursday) yet he has all the documents to prove ownership.”
The ODM lawmakers criticised summoning of its deputy party leader Oparanya by state agencies terming it “politically instigated.”