ODM leader Raila Odinga finds himself in a dilemma 11 months to the elections with pressure from his supporters to declare his candidature for the presidency at a time negotiations towards a joint opposition candidate are dragging on.
Yesterday ODM delegates from Kisumu, Homa Bay, Siaya, Migori, Kisii and Nyamira urged Raila to put his best foot forward in the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.
In a statement yesterday, the leadership of the six counties with two million registered voters endorsed the ODM leader for the presidency.
“We want you to go out there and bring the presidency home. We are giving you our endorsement for the top seat,” said Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti.
This comes as the President pushes to have Raila and the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) principals present a united front to face off with Deputy President William Ruto in the August 9, 2022, General Election.
The ODM leader will have to make a decision whether to hit the ground running, who to co-opt into his sojourn and if Uhuru’s endorsement coming now or later is something to consider.
President Kenyatta has held meetings with the ODM leader, OKA principals Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Kanu chairman Gideon Moi and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula of Ford Kenya.
Kalonzo and Mudavadi have insisted they will be on the ballot come 2022.
The ODM leader’s allies believe he should not waste any more time if he has to put up a spirited fight against Ruto, who has been on the campaign trail since he fell out with President Kenyatta.
Ruto has repeatedly taunted Raila and his OKA colleagues for wasting time on organising themselves to face him in the August polls.
Suna East MP Junet Mohamed said Raila is not conflicted, and has his roadmap clearly spelt out and will be hitting the road running in September.
“Raila has set his plans already and is building his momentum with his ‘Azimio la Umoja’ slogan before he hits the road in September. In the meantime, talking to politicians is okay. When time comes, he will stand to be counted,” said Junet.
Political pundits say that Raila may have put himself in a major political dilemma.
“The handshake did mean he folds up his political life and adopt Uhuru’s, and that is exactly what he did. He is so committed to pleasing the President at the expense of standing on his own feet like has he done before,” said political analyst Javas Bigambo.
Even when Raila was in Nakuru, Bigambo says, instead of going on with his political itinerary across the country, he had to leave for a meeting with the President at State House, Mombasa.
On negotiations with OKA principals, Bigambo said for Mudavadi, it will means that from 2013, he has been living his political life for Raila, that his candidature is dependent on whether the former Prime Minister is running.
He says this could imply that Mudavadi lacks a political path of his own.
“Therefore Mudavadi will have to prove he is his own man and not dependent on Raila. Three months ago, Kalonzo said he will be foolish and stupid to support Raila one more time, so the country is waiting to see whether he proves himself politically wise or otherwise,” he said.
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