What you need to know:
- ODM leader gets backing of Kikuyu Council of Elders as well as Mt Kenya leaders as he tours Nyeri.
- They made the proclamation during a unification meeting between Kikuyu and Luo elders at Kabiru-ini Grounds in Nyeri.
ODM leader Raila Odinga on Friday received backing from elders and Mt Kenya leaders as he started his two-day tour of Nyeri as part of his Azimio La Umoja tour.
Kikuyu Council of Elders (KCE) and leaders allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed to stick with the ODM leader.
They made the proclamation during a unification meeting between Kikuyu and Luo elders at Kabiru-ini Grounds in Nyeri.
Mr Odinga is on a two-day tour of Mt Kenya West as he seeks to galvanise his support in a region where his political rival, Deputy President William Ruto, has made significant strides.
The meeting has been over a year in the making following a similar one between Kikuyu and Luo elders, which he hosted at his Bondo home in December 2020.
“Finally we have made our ascent to the mountain. There have been many hurdles but finally we made it happen,” Mr Odinga said.
He was accompanied by his wife Ida Odinga, who was given the Kikuyu name Nyawira, to mean hard working.
The ceremony spearheaded by KCE was meant to mend broken political ties between the two communities.
Once again, Mr Odinga relied on the historical political background that the two communities shared, saying the unification was significant in his push for the Azimio la Umoja agenda.
“The decision to come up with Azimio la Umoja was based on our treaty with Uhuru. We want Kenyans to live in unity and brotherhood,” Mr Odinga said.
During the unification ceremony, KCE for the first time announced that they will be backing the ODM leader, hitting out DP Ruto and his allies for disrespecting the Mt Kenya population.
“There are people who have been coming to this region and disrespecting us and our leaders. They are the same people who made us lose the goodies Mr Odinga and the president had brought us (through BBI),” KCE national chair Wachira Wa Kiago said.
Alongside a section of local leaders, he pledged to back Mr Odinga’s presidential bid.
Mr James Nyoro, the Kiambu governor, said that as Mt Kenya people, they have an agenda and they have a common person that they will support.
"As Mt Kenya people, we have decided and vowed to support Raila Odinga for the presidency," he said.
His Laikipia counterpart Ndiritu Muriithi said the ODM leader is the best candidate for the presidency as he will govern and propel the country in the right direction.
"He will increase the number of industries that will revive the economy... as Mt Kenya region we say Raila Tosha," he said.
On the other hand, Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga said that this was not the time for debates about what happened in the past rather leaders should focus on present matters.
"We want to hear what is in government for us... what is in your government for us? What is in it for the voters in Mt Kenya region? We want to know what will be our stake in your government," he said adding anyone vying for the presidency should tell the region how many Cabinet secretary and permanent secretaries slots they will get.
During the celebrations, the handshake was also commemorated, with speakers noting it has brought unity to the two communities. Former MP Maina Kamanda noted that the Kikuyu Council of Elders initiated the call for cohesion.
"Baba is now at the peak of the mountain," he said. He, however, differed with Nyeri Governor saying that it was important for Kenyans to know and appreciate the history of the country.
Murang’a Woman rep Sabina Chege noted that the ODM leader had fought for the democracy Kenyans enjoy and had sacrificed a lot for the new constitution. "We are going to support him because he has supported former President Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta," she said.
Siaya Senator James Orengo noted that Kenyans want a government that will respect every community
“Raila will revive the economy and support business. He will create jobs and a conducive environment for business,” he said.