Raila Odinga hints at presidential bid in 2027

ODM leader Raila Odinga during his visit to Mfangano Island in Homa Bay County on November 12, 2023.

Photo credit: George Odiwour | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • During a tour of Mfangano Island in Homa Bay County on Sunday, the ODM leader hinted at trying his luck again in 2027. 
  • He said he was too young to leave the political scene and urged his supporters to back him.

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition party leader Raila Odinga has hinted at a sixth attempt at the presidency in 2027.

During his speech at the weekend, he also hinted at plans to overthrow the Kenya Kwanza government and told his supporters to be ready for his instructions.

Mr Odinga told his supporters to be ready for what he described as a war ahead. The opposition leader said he was not retiring from politics and told President William Ruto to prepare for a duel. 

Mr Odinga made the statement as his allies in the Azimio coalition indicated that they were working towards securing the top seat by garnering more than 70 per cent of the vote.

The ODM leader's assertion that he will not quit the political scene comes in the wake of talks about his possible successor in the coalition in the next elections.

Among those whose names have been floated are Wiper Democratic Movement party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Narc-Kenya's Martha Karua, former Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya, DAP-Kenya party leader Eugene Wamalwa and Roots party leader George Wajackoyah.

Mr Odinga has tried to win the presidency five times in the past but lost to various people including the late Mwai Kibaki, former President Uhuru Kenyatta and the current leader William Ruto. 

During a tour of Mfangano Island in Homa Bay County on Sunday, the ODM leader hinted at trying his luck again in 2027.  He said he was too young to leave the political scene and urged his supporters to back him.

"I am not ready to go home and you should be ready to support me. This region should be totally ODM," he said.

Speaking metaphorically, he asked his supporters to give him a wife, implying that he was asking for support.

President Ruto is on record as saying that the ODM leader is unlikely to contest the 2027 elections and that Azimio will instead front Mr Musyoka.

But Mr Odinga has corrected this, saying Azimio is still united and intends to relaunch and become stronger. "For us to be strong, you must be ready to support us," he said. 

This is ahead of the grassroots elections in April and in preparation for 2027.

His main concern, he said, was the high cost of living. "Our plans as Azimio were to transform the country for development. Our goal was to address health, education and wealth creation through agriculture," Mr Odinga said.

He accused the current government of making life difficult for many people.

"Ruto has introduced taxes on many products that most Kenyans cannot afford," the opposition leader said.

He also castigated the Kenya Kwanza government's programmes, including the Hustler Fund and the bottom-up economic model, which he said did not work.

"We had our own economic empowerment plans including paying Sh6,000 to vulnerable families. What Ruto promised has not worked and instead the boda boda and mama mboga who were promised heaven are really suffering," Mr Odinga said.

According to the ODM leader, no country will develop with taxes.

He described the economic situation in the country as someone digging a hole when they are in the same hole but expecting to get out.

"Kibaki and I managed to turn around the economy when Moi had left it in a bad state. We have dealt with all the corrupt officials who are currently pocketing government funds," Mr Odinga said.

He was accompanied by Homa Bay Governor Gladys Wanga, ODM National Chairman John Mbadi, Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo and her Ranger counterpart Lilian Gogo.

Meanwhile in Western, Mr Odinga's allies vowed to remain united in their quest to win 70 per cent of the vote in 2027 to defeat President Ruto, whom they accuse of overburdening Kenyans with taxes and high cost of living.

Led by Mr Musyoka, the leaders said they would not accept being in opposition after the polls.

Mr Oparanya said he and Mr Wamalwa are ready to lead Luhya as he assured that they will not be in opposition in 2027.

Speaking in Vihiga County during a fundraiser for St James Mwiyala Anglican Church, Mr Musyoka said the opposition team in the National Dialogue Committee was keen on addressing the cost of living.

He said the writing of reports from a series of meetings held in the Bomas of Kenya would begin this week and assured that the opposition would focus on the cost of living chapter.

Mr Musyoka said this as other speakers led by the host, Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi, said they were not interested in the creation of the positions of Official Opposition Leader and Cabinet Secretary.

"From tomorrow (Monday), we will start writing the report of the National Dialogue Committee meetings. The five of us on the committee have listened to the voices of many and we will not disappoint," said Mr Musyoka.

Mr Musyoka took a swipe at Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi and National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang'ula for abandoning him in the then One Kenya Alliance to join Dr Ruto ahead of last year's General Elections.

He told the duo that the opposition will remain true to the course of saving Kenyans after they "abandoned" the liberation movement to join an alliance that oppresses Kenyans through taxation.

"Those in Kenya Kwanza are feeling the heat and recently told the President that the ground was hostile but Ruto reminded them that it was they who passed the Finance Bill," said Mr Musyoka.

Opiyo Wandayi, the Minority Leader in the National Assembly, said the opposition wanted to take power by winning 70 per cent.

He said the people were tired of being oppressed through taxation.

"We are ready to take over the leadership of this country at any time. If presidential elections were held today, Azimio would win with more than 70 per cent of the votes," said Mr Wandayi.

Mr Osotsi called Dr Ruto a liar, saying he had reneged on the promises he made to Kenyans during the campaigns.

Mr Osotsi said it was unfortunate that Dr Ruto had decided to lie to Kenyans on the state of the nation, noting that prices of essential commodities had increased under his watch.