Raila Odinga cleared for fifth stab at the presidency

Raila Odinga

Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua displaying their nomination certificate at the Bomas of Kenya on June 5,2022 after being cleared by IEBC to vie in the August 9 polls.

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

The race to succeed President Kenyatta in the August election is on following the clearance of Deputy President William Ruto and former prime minister Raila Odinga, the two main players in the State House contest.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chaired by Mr Wafula Chebukati gave Dr Ruto, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) presidential candidate a nod to make his first stab at the top seat on Saturday, while Mr Odinga, who is running on the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party ticket, was given a green light for his fifth stab at the presidency yesterday.

Mr Odinga first made his attempt at the presidency in 1997 under the National Development Party (NDP) and in 2007, 2013 and 2017 under the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). In 2013 and 2017, he vied on an ODM ticket under the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) and National Super Alliance (Nasa) coalitions respectively.

Other candidates cleared to run for President are Prof George Wajackoyah of Roots Party, Mr Walter Mong’are of Umoja Summit Party and lawyer David Mwaura Waihiga of the Agano party.

Just after getting the IEBC nod on Saturday, Dr Ruto hit the campaign trail with his first rally at the historic Kamukunji grounds in Nairobi while Mr Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua yesterday took to Undugu grounds in Lang’ata Constituency to launch their official campaigns before heading to Nakuru County.

Free Area

Mr Odinga and Ms Karua first attended a church service at the All-Saints Cathedral in Nairobi before proceeding to the Bomas of Kenya and Undugu grounds in Lang’ata. Mr Odinga was also involved in a four-rally campaign blitz in Nakuru City, which saw him and his team comb through Free Area, Kamkunji and Mazembe in Nakuru City.

Race to State House: Raila Odinga's big day

“Today, my journey to the presidency begins from home in Lang'ata constituency which I represented as Member of Parliament for many years,” Mr Odinga told an ecstatic crowd at Undugu grounds in Lang’ata Constituency which he represented in parliament between 1992 and 2013.

This came as Mr Chebukati warned against cases of electoral malpractice and attack on the commission in public rallies.

“We don’t want to hear things from your campaign rallies about the refereeing. Please come, we talk and we will do what we have to do to give Kenyans what they deserve,” Mr Chebukati said.

Mr Odinga had on May 15 during a rally at Kamukunji grounds in Nairobi accused Mr Chebukati of poor refereeing by “giving unfair penalties.” Mr Odinga was proposed to run for the top seat by Prof Isaiah wa Kindiki and seconded by Ms Hezena Lemaletian.

He also named lawyer Saitabu ole Kanchori as his chief agent, deputised by Nyeri Deputy Governor Caroline Karugu. Others in the Odinga presidential agents team are Prof Kindiki, ODM Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen and his lawyer, Mr Paul Mwangi.

For Prof Kindiki, it will be a battle of the Kindikis after his younger brother, Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki, was named Dr Ruto’s chief agent. Today, Mr Odinga will launch the Azimio manifesto dubbed: “Inawezekana Agenda for Kenya” at the Nyayo National Stadium. Ms Karua yesterday promised a campaign like no other to ensure Azimio wins the top seat and is guaranteed majority seats in all the positions.

“The official journey has now started and it’s just a two-month journey. We want to win this election by a wide margin and we are asking you to turn out in large numbers on August 9 and vote for us to liberate and change this country,” Ms Karua said.

One-horse race

Styling the contest as a one-horse race, Ms Karua said it is only Mr Odinga who has the credentials to change the country. In a bid to enlighten Azimio supporters to avoid confusion on voting day, Ms Karua said Mr Odinga had been cleared to run on Azimio ticket with blue colours and not on ODM with an orange symbol.

“I know you have been used to voting for Raila with the orange symbol. We have just been cleared to run on an Azimio ticket and our colour is blue. You must take note of that to avoid any confusion on election day,” Ms Karua said. Speaking at the Bomas of Kenya moments after his clearance to make his fifth stab at the top seat, Mr Odinga said all his camp wants is a “free and fair election process.” In a dig at Dr Ruto’s concerns over media coverage, Mr Odinga pointed out that there is need for a free and democratic society where there is freedom of expression. Dr Ruto had on Saturday expressed reservations with a section of the media, which he said were not objective and reiterated his position not to attend the planned presidential debate.

Speaking at Mazembe Grounds in Nakuru West constituency, in Nakuru City, politicians who accompanied Mr Odinga said, there won't be a re-run in the August presidential elections and that the Raila Odinga-led team will register a straight win.

“Raila Odinga will win in the first round with more than 60 per cent.I want to tell you this; we will not have a re-run in the elections. I have heard our competitors say they will win the election... who do you think they will defeat in the election?"Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina posed.

His sentiments were echoed by Kitui Senator Enock Wambua.

"The August election is a Mandela moment for Mr Odinga, Deputy President William Ruto will never be the President of Kenya. Raila will beat him with a big margin,”said Mr Wambua. Mr Odinga and Ms Karua vowed to seal all corruption loopholes if elected.

“Nakuru is the bedroom of Kenya’s politics. When Nakuru coughs, the rest of the country catches a cold. I thank Mr Odinga for coming to Nakuru where Azimio was launched to get our blessings,” said Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui.


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