Raila hints at a Kalonzo Tosha moment in 2027

Raila and Kalonzo Bondo

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition leader Raila Odinga, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Siaya Senator Oburu Oginga join dancers on stage during Dr Oburu's 80th birthday celebration in Bondo town.

Photo credit: Adinasi Kassim | Nation Media Group

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga on Sunday gave the clearest indication yet that the coalition will rally behind Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka to challenge President William Ruto in the 2027 presidential race.

Addressing a gathering at his elder brother and Siaya Senator Oburu Odinga's birthday party in Bondo, a few kilometres from where Dr Ruto ended his four-day tour a week ago, the Azimio leader maintained that they will go into the 2027 presidential election as a united front.

Mr Odinga paid glowing tribute to the Wiper leader, saying he had proved beyond doubt that he was a statesman.

"Mr Musyoka has been with us since the days of KANU. He has served this nation with great dedication. We left KANU and formed NARC, which liberated this country. He also joined us in forming the ODM party," Mr Odinga said.

He went on to praise the former Vice-President for standing with him for three consecutive elections, which he claimed were stolen from them.

Raila, Kalonzo in Bondo

Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka with other leaders at Dr Oburu Odinga's 80th birthday and thanksgiving ceremony held in Bondo, Siaya County.

Photo credit: Pool

"Mr Musyoka was trustworthy. Twice we sought the top leadership of this country and we never lost. Our victory was snatched from us by some forces, in the last general election he was not chosen as a candidate but he believed in the course and remained steadfast in the Azimio coalition," the former prime minister said.

The Wiper leader also stated that whoever faces Dr Ruto in 2027 will have a smooth ride to State House if the current state of affairs in the country is anything to go by.

"Whoever contests in 2027, as Baba puts it, will have a walk in the park because Kenyans are already tired because of the high cost of living," Mr Musyoka said.

Kalonzo Musyoka: I would be stupid to support Raila again

Mr Odinga also slammed President William Ruto for what he described as attempts to divide the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition.

"I want him (the President) to know that one of us will face him in 2027. And I want him to know that we will stand with Mr Musyoka to the end. His attempts to divide us will not succeed," he said.

A number of Azimio leaders who attended the event also urged the President to focus on reducing the high cost of living for Kenyans instead of planning for his opponent's 2027 line-up.

"I have heard President Ruto saying that he will face Kalonzo Musyoka in 2027. He is also insinuating that I will not be contesting the presidential seat in 2027, this is an attempt to divide Azimio la Umoja," Mr Odinga said.

Mr Odinga was speaking amid President William Ruto's overtures to both leaders to work with him.

Since he was sworn in, the President has made no secret of his intention to bring the Wiper boss over to his side. He is on record as saying he has reached out to Mr Musyoka on many occasions but has never been successful.

And just last week, Dr Ruto extended an olive branch to the ODM leader, asking for his support in the next election as a way of returning the favour after supporting him in 2007.

But Mr Odinga has dismissed the overtures, instead seeing mischief in the president's Nyanza development tour and Dr Ruto's statements last week.

President Ruto visited Nyanza for four days and called on the ODM leader to support him in 2027.

Mr Musyoka on his part faulted President Ruto for talking about 2027 when people are still suffering from high cost of living.

"The 2027 issues that Dr Ruto was talking about have been addressed by my brother Odinga, but it is sad that Dr Ruto is talking about 2027 when the country is facing myriad challenges. The cost of living is sky high, last night we saw the price of fuel shoot up making life unbearable for the ordinary Mwananchi," said Mr Musyoka.

The Wiper party leader also echoed Azimio's stance that there were still questions to be answered about last year's general elections.

"We can't start talking about the 2027 elections when we are not done with the 2022 elections. We want to know what happened last year, electoral justice is part of a democracy that all Kenyans want," said Mr Musyoka.

He also promised Dr Ruto a tough fight in the next general election.

On the right to demonstrate and picket, Mr Musyoka condemned the brutality meted out to protesters when the Azimio called for demonstrations.

"This government promised to protect the constitution. When Kenyans went out to demonstrate against the high cost of living, they were met with brutality of the highest order. Our constitution, promulgated in 2010, allows people to demonstrate peacefully and unarmed," he said.

He also condemned the decision to send police to Haiti, saying: 'People are facing insecurity in Sondu, where a number of people have lost their lives. Instead of taking action and restoring much needed peace in a place like Sondu, the government is taking police to Haiti, what for?

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Eugene Wamalwa, leader of the Democratic Alliance Party, said they would remain united and defeat their rivals in the next elections.

"In 2027, if Baba says he is going to try again, we will support him, but if he decides to support Kalonzo or any of us, we will obey him and rally behind that person," Mr Wamalwa said.

Mr Odinga's statement came as talk of possible heirs to Mr Odinga continues to swirl, with Dr Oburu Oginga floating names such as that of minority leader Opiyo Wandayi.

But Kisumu MP and the Azimio leader's younger sister Ruth Odinga has maintained that no one can fill Mr Odinga's shoes.

Senator Oburu, who was confirmed at the Anglican Church of Kenya to mark his 80th birthday, also urged President Ruto to put his money where his mouth is.

"The President visited us a few months after he became the Head of State, he promised to complete the projects that were in Siaya, unfortunately several months later the projects are still in their state. The contractors have left the sites and have never been seen," said Dr Oginga.