‘Deep state’: Raila Odinga speaks

ODM leader Raila Odinga has waded into the debate on the ‘deep state’, following claims by Deputy President William Ruto that he is ready to face it in the 2022 elections.

On Tuesday, the DP dared the “system” to face him, saying, he has “God and a majority of Kenyans” to back what he said was an unstoppable presidential campaign.

“I just want to tell them: ‘We’re waiting for you’. This system, this deep state we are being told about, we are waiting for it,” the DP said.

But speaking when he witnessed the swearing in of newly appointed officials of ODM’s National Elections Board (NEB) and the Disciplinary Committee at the party’s headquarters on Thursday, Mr Odinga said the presidency, which Mr Ruto is part of, remains the centre of power in the country.

Which deep state?

“We have a president whose name you know, and a deputy whose name you also know. So when you are talking about deep state, then who is there? It is the president and his deputy,” Mr Odinga said.

“So go and ask the deputy president which deep state he is talking about.”

ODM, he said, is not in government and “we don’t know who deep state is”.

He said the agenda of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) should not be misconstrued, adding that its purpose is to ensure Kenyans have free and fair elections.

“BBI is meant to ensure no Kenyan’s blood is shed because of an election,” he said.

New ODM officials

The oath taking ceremony ODM NEB and Disciplinary Committee officials was held at Chungwa House and was presided over by Ms Jane Nyaboke, an advocate of the High court.

Those who took oath of office included NEB Chairperson Catherine Mumma who replaces nominated senator Judith Pareno and members Abdulahi Diriye, Richard Tairo, Syntei Nchoe and Emily Awita.

Prof Ben Sihanya was sworn in as the new chairman of the disciplinary committee, replacing Mr Fred Athuok.

Other members of the committee who also took oath of office are Ramadhani M. Abubakar, Mumbi Ng’aru, Seth Kakusye and Dr Florence Omosa.

Mr Odinga said the party will now focus on holding elections, adding that all members must uphold discipline and peace.

“We want to ensure we internalise democracy within our party. You cannot expect to run a democratic government if you don’t have democracy within the party itself,” he said.

Popular candidates

ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna said the outgoing officials had not been kicked out but had completed their five-year terms.

Ms Pareno, he said, had served the NEB for a record 12 years since May 8, 2008.

Mr Sifuna said Mr Odinga remains the undisputed “captain, super striker and top scorer” in politics.

ODM Director of Elections Junet Mohammed challenged the team to ensure only popular candidates are fronted so as to give them easy time for campaigns.

The party’s Chairman John Mbadi told Ms Mmuma to ensure she implements the recommendations by her taskforce on how to strengthen the Orange party.

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