Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s lieutenants on Sunday threw a spin into 2022 politics by declaring that the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader would not bow out of the political scene any time soon.
Senate Minority Leader James Orengo Orengo said: “Those who think he (Mr Odinga) is out are in for a rude shock. My boss is still focused on the top prize,” he said in the presence of Mr Odinga in Piny Oyie Village, Migori County, during the homecoming party for area Woman Representative Pamela Odhiambo.
“He is not retiring any time soon as some people think. We still want the top post,” Mr Orengo added.
Deputy President William Ruto is leading the pack of contenders who have declared interest in the presidency in 2022.
Others include Nasa co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetang’ula and ODM’s deputy party leaders Wycliffe Oparanya and Hassan Joho.
Also touted to be in the race is Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua.
Mr Odinga, however, steered clear of the debate and, instead, defended his handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta, saying politics “requires tact and expertise”.
He said it was the best decision for the country because Kenya was faced with an imminent split.
“I am a skilled politician who loves the country. We could not continue to pull Kenya apart and that’s why we looked for each other.
Whoever plays politics without tact ni pumbavu (stupid),” Mr Odinga said.
“People who are asking me why I engaged the President alone should instead seek from me the goodies that our talk has brought. I went alone because they were still asleep,” he asserted.
Some Nasa leaders have asked why Mr Odinga met President Kenyatta alone.
“Do not ask your father why he went out to look for food alone. Ask him instead what he has brought from his trip,” he explained to the cheering crowd.
The ODM leader said the peace deal has stabilised the economy and more goodies are on the way.
“We want to correct all the ills that have bedevilled Kenya including hatred, electoral injustice, tribalism, corruption and skewed employment opportunities. People opposing this move do not know what is good for the country,” he said.
Mr Odinga warned that people who have stolen public funds and were dishing out millions in harambees have no place in the new Kenya.
“We will tackle corruption without fear or favour to make this country a better place to live in,” said Mr Odinga.
Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga, Suna West MP Peter Masara, Uriri MP Mark Nyamita and their Nyatike counterpart Tom Odege said they will follow Mr Odinga to any direction he takes them.
Speaking later during the burial of former Maseno University Vice Chancellor Dominic Makawiti in Nyakach, Mr Orengo said Mr Odinga was courageous enough to be ‘sworn in’ on January 30.
“We are not satisfied. I am still waiting for the day he will indeed be sworn in as the president of the republic of Kenya,” Mr Orengo said.
He went on: “We have a strategy and it is part of what we are currently witnessing in the country. Raila is visionary, he sees where most of us can’t.”
The Siaya senator accused Mr Ruto of simply opposing constitutional changes because “he does not understand constitutional reforms”.
Mr Odinga also defended the 14-member committee formed to spearhead his pact with Mr Kenyatta, and said youth will not be ignored in their arrangement.
“We want to build a new Kenya. We already have a committee in place comprised of experienced people. At the moment we need experienced people, in the near future, there will be a role played by youth,” he said.