ODM leader Raila Odinga says a gigantic political machine is on the way.
He declared yesterday that the journey has begun for a mass movement to the Promised Land.
He spoke in Nakuru, for the first time storming Deputy President William Ruto’s Rift Valley turf.
Raila made national unity, restoring the economy and eradicating graft major planks of his presidential bid.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s key allies, including three governors from Mount Kenya, declared their support for Raila. Nakuru’s Lee Kinyanjui for the first time joined the bandwagon.
Raila announced a series of grassroots engagements across the country beginning Friday.
“We will unveil the vehicle that has space for the diversity of Kenyans to the Promised Land,” the former Prime Minister said.
There is speculation some One Kenya Alliance bosses have agreed to back Raila for the presidency.
Sources said OKA chiefs Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) and Gideon Moi (Kanu) will again meet President Kenyatta in Mombasa on Tuesday.
Raila is scheduled to attend the meeting.
“Within a short period of going round the country, we will unveil the vehicle that has space for the diversity of Kenyans to the Promised land,” Raila stated, in a proclamation called Azimio la Umoja or Declaration of Unity.
“The journey towards a mass movement that we set out today aims to bring on board Kenyans of goodwill, citizens, leaders, movements, social formations and institutions dedicated to advancing people-centered and democratic governance in Kenya.”
He called for “cleansing the land of the spirit of anger and bitterness, the spirit of revenge and entitlement”.
“Kenya must continue on a path that reconciles, unites, calms and stabilises the nation.
“We must unite to create wealth instead of using poverty as a political tool and unemployment as fodder for electioneering” — an apparent reference to DP Ruto.
“We have to create a culture of forgiveness and not vindictiveness. To forgive is to be a leader,” Raila stated.
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru said the massive crowds that have greeted Ruto’s meetings in Mt Kenya will not translate into votes.
She said Raila has a 40 per cent backing for the presidency even before he identifies a running mate. The governor said Mt Kenya will not follow Ruto to the opposition.
“We are used to being in government, we don’t want to be lied to and then end up in the opposition in 2022.”
Raila has put the Mt Kenya region at the centre of his 2022 presidential bid. Analysts say he would be good to go with even 40 per cent of the votes. He is seen as Uhuru’s heir apparent.
The meeting was attended by Laikipia Governor Nderitu Muriithi, Kakamega’s Wycliffe Oparanya, National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohamed and Majority Deputy Whip Maoka Maore.
Other MPs included Samuel Arama (Nakuru West), Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa), Maina Kamanda (nominated), Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja) and Public Service CAS Rachel Shebesh.
Raila said class divisions are dangerous.
“The times require that we proceed with the tradition of unclenching our fists and shaking hands even with bitter opponents if it serves the nation,” the ODM leader said.
He hinted at reuniting with his former Nasa principals—Mudavadi, Kalonzo and Wetang’ula—who are now coalescing around the One Kenya Alliance.
“We must fix this country, fix its systems, fix its politics, then fix its economy,” Raila declared as he unveiled his 2022 blueprint christened Itawezekana or It Will Be Possible.
Raila said Kenyans must unite to fight marginalisation, corruption and impunity to empower the youth and women.
“The youth and women particularly deserve a newer and fairer deal to access opportunities,” Raila said.
“We must unite to build prosperity and share it equitably, on a table where everyone feels represented.”
Raila warned against opportunistic politicians who are using people’s problems to drum up chauvinistic and xenophobic political support in the guise of empowerment. Another apparent reference to Ruto.
These problems have become tools for emotional and irrational appeals, he said.
During the session, Raila said he has lined up a series of regional consultations to build momentum for his movement. He will be in Nyanza today before moving to Western on Friday.
Meetings will also be held in Mombasa, Garissa, Ukambani, Turkana, Isiolo, Tana River, Bomet and Narok before a final one in Nairobi.
Nominated MP Kamanda dismissed perceptions that Raila was a hard sell in Mt Kenya, saying contrary to belief, the ODM boss has been ’embraced’ in the mountain.
“Let us not be cheated into thinking it would be difficult to sell Raila in Mt Kenya. We know you have tried four times, but it does not matter even if you try 10 times, it is God who knows your right time,” he said.
Former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth said Raila is the best leader to bring good economic policies to empower the poor.
“Raila is going to come to Mt Kenya to ask for votes and we will be there to support him so he that can get money into the pockets of mama mboga and boda boda riders,” he said.
Laikipia Governor Murithi said it was unfortunate the DP’s style of politics was belittling Mt Kenya, a region whose economy he said is worth more than Sh2.7 trillion.
“I am surprised you can put the Mt Kenya economy, which is worth more than 34 African countries, into a wheelbarrow,” Muriithi said.
“You cannot uplift the poor by bringing down the rich, fanning class or ethnic wars among us.”
Kakamega Governor Oparanya said the wheelbarrow economy was a recipe for disaster as the country risks being overtaken by neighbours.
“I have been told Nyanza, the Coast, Central, Nairobi and Western are also locked for Raila,” he said, calling him the only leader with an idea of how to put money in the people’s pockets.