June 14, 2024

Screte push for Raila Odinga presidential candidacy in 2027

5 min read
Screte push for Raila Odinga presidential candidacy in 2027

ODM party inner circle pushing for Raila Odinga presidential candidacy to face Ruto in 2027 general elevtions

ODM party inner circle pushing for Raila Odinga presidential candidacy to face Ruto in 2027 general elevtions.

The leader of the Azimio party, Raila Odinga, is under covert pressure in his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party circles to run for president in 2027 for the sixth time.

This comes at the same time as Mr. Odinga’s co-principal in the coalition, the Wiper party, led by former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, is reportedly concentrating on running for office in the 2027 election.

Although Mr. Odinga has made it clear that he has no plans to retire anytime soon, the organization of the majority of opposition activities at the command post of Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka (SKM) has given Wiper supporters optimism of a potential endorsement in the upcoming election.

However, according to a publication by Daily Nation, ODM politicians within Raila’s inner circle are pushing for his sixth attempt at the top job.

Sources within the coalition hinted that even though Mr. Odinga has shown no interest in running in 2027 and is currently only interested in “dealing” with the Ruto administration, he is under intense pressure from some of his allies not to shelve his dream of becoming the country’s leader.

The majority of people supporting Mr. Odinga’s candidacy may merely be interested in riding on his coattails to win their seats, despite the fact that some of his allies think that President Ruto’s fiscal measures have worked against his leadership and that Mr. Odinga may take advantage of this to acquire power.

They are primarily acting in their own interests, not for Mr. Odinga. 

The ODM party is also worried that Mr. Odinga’s decision not to run for the top position will harm the political alliance, the financial resources it generates, and the appeal of its tickets in the lead-up to the elections.

There is a general feeling that with Mr Odinga out of the 2027 equation, he is likely to lose his political capital and thus his political bargaining power may be limited.

However, Mr Odinga’s strategist and lawyer Paul Mwangi, without confirming or denying the former Prime Minister’s possible candidacy, described it as an “extraneous agenda” by critics of their coalition.

“We in Azimio are not distracted by extraneous agendas set by those who want us to implode. We are very clear about what Kenyans want from us during the existential crisis the country is going through and we will not allow diversionary agendas to be set for us,” Mr Mwangi told the Nation on September 18.

Political analyst Dismas Mokua argues that the push for Mr Odinga to run for the presidency in 2027 is not a far-fetched idea by his ODM allies, especially those from his Luo Nyanza backyard, who want to ride on his influence to secure their seats.

“Luo Nyanza, for instance, forms the backbone of Mr. Raila Odinga’s political infrastructure. The majority of his core base in Luo Nyanza are emotionally attached to Mr Odinga’s political interests and trajectory.”

“His word is as good as law, so aligning or associating with Mr Odinga significantly improves the likelihood of winning an electoral seat. A good word from Mr Odinga will secure the ODM ticket in parts of Luo Nyanza. 

Most ODM MPs want to be in this safe area. Mr Odinga’s presidential bid guarantees victory for most of his close associates and sycophants,” says Mr Mokua.

He says some ODM leaders are using Mr. Odinga’s presidential bid to “immunize” themselves from political competition and would not hesitate to push him to run in 2027, even at the age of 82.

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But ODM National Chairman John Mbadi says Mr. Odinga’s 2027 bid is up to him and the people of Kenya, adding that the country’s Constitution also does not bar anyone from contesting the top seat more than five times as Mr. Odinga has done.

“We have seen world leaders, some older than him, in power. As far as I’m concerned, we have won several times, but we have been denied victory. So as long as he is not president, nothing is stopping him from contesting because if he is healthy and strong, he has the right to contest,” Mr Mbadi said.

Mr Mbadi noted that based on the ODM National Delegates Convention (NDC) held last year, Mr Odinga remains the sole ODM presidential candidate until another NDC is held to nominate another flagbearer.

“That is our position at the moment and it is not a crime that people are pushing for our leader to run for the presidency to secure their seats. I’m not one of those people, but there is nothing wrong with people being opportunistic because in politics, you really need a very strong coat to hang on to survive and this is even replicated in UDA, Wiper, ANC, Ford Kenya, and other parties,” the ODM leader added.

However, Makueni Senator Dan Maanzo, an ally of Wiper leader noted that only Mr Musyoka is better placed to beat President Ruto in 2027.

“We can have Kalonzo as the presidential candidate and still keep Karua as his running mate and possibly make Raila prime minister,” Mr Maanzo said.

Deputy Minority Leader and Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua said “Wiper is an integral, solid, and firm partner in the (Azimio) coalition”.

“Our plans as a party are spelled out in our constitution. The wiper is ready to field a presidential candidate in the next elections and form a government in full solidarity with other coalition partners,” he said.

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