Though Opposition leader Raila Odinga (pictured) has avoided talking of the 2022 elections, a senior Orange Democratic Movement official has revealed the party is preparing itself for the polls.
Raila has in the past claimed that his handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta is meant to unite the country and not give him a political lifeline as claimed by his rivals.
The ODM leader has also refused to divulge information if he still harbours presidential ambitions for 2022, insisting that the issues that drove the country almost to precipice in 2017 must first be addressed.
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But according to the ODM official, the party has a number of strategies, including the formation of a new political outfit, that will bring together President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila ahead of the elections.
The other is simultaneous rallies in support of a referendum and laying the groundwork for the expected political alliance with Uhuru.
The planned series of political rallies by the ODM leader and his allies in his Nyanza stronghold is part of the strategy, with party insiders saying Raila has instructed the area MPs to rally the region for a looming referendum and the political alliance with the President.
Another strategy key to the 2022 game plan is to task various party MPs to accompany their colleagues in Jubilee allied to Uhuru and other like-minded leaders in nationwide meetings to rally support for his unity deal with Uhuru, a move calculated to demonstrate to the country the dawn of a new political movement.
A top ODM official – who sought anonymity – yesterday said the two leaders were working on a new vehicle for 2022 contest that may see Uhuru back Raila for the presidency.
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“The main agenda of these rallies is to prepare our people for a political alliance between Uhuru and Raila. We are also preparing the ground for our people to support a referendum that will take place before the next elections,” said the official.
Uhuru has, however, publicly insisted his handshake with Raila has nothing to do with his 2022 succession politics. He said he had not discussed 2022 campaigns with Raila and he did not even know whether the former prime minister would vie for the presidency.
The top seat has remained elusive for Raila even after four attempts, and it now appears his strategists believe joining forces with the incumbent could be the best bet to clinch the seat.
The leaders have also been told that a referendum to expand the Executive, by creating Prime Minister and two deputies, is “inevitable” thus have been instructed to lay groundwork for the push to change the Constitution.
Dubbed “unity drive”, the ODM MPs are set to tour Suna West in Migori, Ugunja in Siaya, Kisumu East, Muhoroni and Homa Bay Town in the coming weeks to drum up support for the two leaders after concluding another set of rallies in Nyatike and Siaya at the weekend. All the weekend functions were graced by Raila, with one of the meetings held at his Opoda home where he hosted Kikuyu Elders from Nakuru.
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Nominated MP Maina Kamanda and former MP Kabando wa Kabando – all allied to Uhuru – have in the recent past publicly hinted at a possible alliance for 2022 that will see Uhuru and Raila in one political party against Deputy President William Ruto.
These latest disclosures further give credence to Uhuru’s ally David Murathe and Raila’s ally and Siaya Senator James Orengo’s earlier remarks that an alliance is in the offing ahead of 2022 General Election.
“I can tell you for free about formations in 2022; there will be a formation led by Raila Odinga. I expect people like Kalonzo (Musyoka), Musalia (Mudavadi), Gideon (Moi) and probably even Uhuru to be part of that formation. William will also have his own formation with the (Aden) Duales and (Kithure) Kindikis of this world,” said Murathe in a previous interview.
With the talk of an alliance with Uhuru gaining ground within ODM, it is expected to draw fire from Ruto’s allies – Tangatanga team – who have accused the ODM leader of using the handshake to further his 2022 presidential ambitions.
Last week, Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, who is rooting for Ruto, challenged his rivals – team Kieleweke – to openly start campaigning for Raila.
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Today, Raila is hosting Cabinet secretaries Peter Munya (Trade) and James Macharia (Transport) in Kisumu where they will tour the proposed Kisumu Economic Zone, Old Airport and Pipeline jetty.
But it is the message that was sent to ODM MPs yesterday to turn up for the tours that point to the expected political undertones in wooing the electorate to endorse the political pact.
It has also emerged that some Raila allies have been dispatched to combine forces with Kieleweke MPs allied to Uhuru in campaigns in Mt Kenya region. Kamanda and Ngunjiri Wambugu (Nyeri town) have been going round the region in the company of some ODM MPs to drum up support for the unity deal.
Yesterday, Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga said they had divided themselves into three groups for separate rallies in Meru, Kabondo Kasipul and Nyandarua.
In Meru, Igembe North MP Maoka Maore played host to Kanu party leader and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, Wanga, Kamanda and a host of other MPs allied to Uhuru and Raila.
In Kabondo Kasipul, MP Eve Obara hosted ODM Chairman John Mbadi, Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, Jared Okello (Nyando) among other politicians opposed to Ruto.
Wandayi and Seme MP James Nyikal have been appointed to steer the Nyanza initiative.
Okello was more open when he said the agenda of the rallies was to lay groundwork for a possible referendum and an alliance between the two leaders.
“Our leader has charted the political path through the handshake. It is our primary duty as his lieutenants to propagate it while rallying behind him without question,” said Wandayi.
Raila is pushing for a parliamentary system where a Prime Minister would be the head of government and President will serve as ceremonial Head of State.
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Opposition leader Raila OdingaOrange Democratic MovementPresident Uhuru Kenyatta2022 elections