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Raila Odinga is the man to beat in 2017 election

By James Kihali | August 11th 2016

There are concerted efforts from all corners, including questionable opinion polls, to discredit former Prime Minister Raila Odinga by portraying him as unsuitable to run for the presidency in 2017.

The majority of people from Jubilee said, through a recent opinion poll, that Raila should retire and not run in 2017. This, surprisingly, was given a lot of coverage by the local media. What do you expect your opponent to say about you?

Raila’s CORD co-principal Moses Wetang’ula has similarly asked Raila to step down for him come 2017. Kalonzo Musyoka, another co-principal in CORD, also believes Raila should give him the opportunity to run for the presidency in 2017.

The fact that everyone, including the ruling party, is focused on Raila’s every move as we approach the 2017 elections speaks volumes. To say that he is a formidable force is an understatement. There is no other opponent the Jubilee administration fears more than Raila. He is a strategist and an expert schemer.

That Raila has lost presidential elections on three occasions is not in question but not entirely true. Even his ardent opponents believe Raila won the 2007 presidential election.

Even if he has failed three attempts, are we not always urged never to give up? Is it not said that quitters never win? Why the double standards when it comes to Raila’s quest for the presidency?

Wetang’ula and Kalonzo have formidable support in their respective backyards but they lack the national outlook and support necessary to wrest the presidency from Jubilee.

Moreover, Raila has consistently taken on the Jubilee administration on important issues like misappropriation of Eurobond funds, corruption in NYS and IEBC, among many others. We have never heard the likes of Wetang’ula and Kalonzo coming out on their own to articulate important national issues the way Raila does. So what new agenda do they have for Kenyans that make them think they are better candidates than Raila?

As for Musalia Mudavadi, he has shown that he is not unprincipled and, therefore, untrustworthy. In 2002, for example, he was lured by Kanu to leave the Opposition and appointed vice president just for two months. Even if he were to join CORD, I think he is the least suited Opposition presidential candidate.

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