Raila launches countrywide tours to sell 2022 roadmap
After months of speculation, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga yesterday offered the clearest signal yet that he would run for president for the fifth time next year after launching a countrywide tour in Nakuru.
The ODM leader paid a courtesy call on Governor Lee Kinyanjui before his convoy snaked its way to Sarova Woodlands grounds where he presented his roadmap for the country.
Raila said he had chosen to launch his Azimio La Umoja (A roadmap to a united political action) in Nakuru because it is the epicentre of Kenya’s politics and also a place with major political and historical significance.
The ODM leader said the Azimio La Umoja caravan will be in Nyanza tomorrow before heading to the Coast region, Turkana, West Pokot, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Bomet, Kericho, Garissa, and the Mt Kenya region.
He said the tours will culminate in a national event in Nairobi where “we will unveil a vehicle that has space for the diversity of Kenyans to the Promised Land”.
Yesterday, Jubilee Party’s National Management Council gave Secretary General Raphael Tuju the green light to enter into a pre-election coalition agreement with the ODM and the message was delivered at the Nakuru forum by National Assembly Deputy Majority Whip Maoka Maore.
“This is the time. Your years and accumulated experience, your years of wisdom, patriotism and love for this country have put you at the time when the country needs you most and for that we adore you; we will take you around Mt. Kenya and we will be with you all the way,” Maore said.
Several leaders from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s backyard including Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi, MPs Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa) and Maina Kamanda (Nominated) shared his sentiments.
“I have fought this man a lot in the past but to say the truth majority of us have no problem with him.
It is only that he was vying against our people, first Kibaki and then Uhuru but now we’re one. We support him fully,” Kamanda said.
Raila said he was aware of the problems Kenyans were going through citing a slump in the economy, Covid-19 and ethnic divisions.
“Most sectors of the economy are experiencing severe challenges be they tea, coffee, pyrethrum, wheat, maize, sugarcane, or livestock… fishermen from Indian Ocean to lakes Turkana and Victoria are feeling the pinch,” Raila said.
He added: “Teachers in our schools, just like parents, are feeling squeezed. University academic and non-academic staff, doctors and nurses are all living in duress.”
The former PM said his March 9, 2018 handshake with Uhuru was intended to heal the political and ethnic divisions caused by the 2017 election.
He said they identified sluggish economic growth and dwindling incomes, insecurity, exclusion from the economic and political life of the nation, ethnic rivalries and competition, corruption and divisive elections as some of the ills facing the country.
“We cannot continue lying that ours is an equal and happy society,” he said, adding: “Virtually all Kenyans are caught in daily battles to make ends meet.”
And, taking a swipe at Deputy President William Ruto and his bottom-up economic model, Raila said some leaders were taking advantage of the problems Kenyans were facing for selfish political gain.
“Some of these problems have become fodder for drumming up chauvinistic and xenophobic political support,” he said.
“As we head into 2022, these problems have become tools for emotional and irrational appeals.”
He argued that the most appropriate way to address Kenyans’ problems is to “bring the diversity of our people, their leaders and their problems onto one table and embark on a systematic and transparent search for solutions.”
No one person, he said, can “pretend” to have all solutions to the problems the country was facing saying only a national conversation can help bring the country on track.
Raila was accompanied by a host of ODM legislators including National Assembly Minority
Whip Junet Mohammed (Suna), Joe Mbadi (Suba) and Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga.