9 January 2013

Kenya: Jirongo Drops Bid, Ties Cord With Odinga

Nairobi — Federal Party of Kenya leader Cyrus Jirongo has dropped his presidential bid to support Prime Minister Raila Odinga who is the CORD flag bearer.

Jirongo says he backed down to avoid competing with Odinga because they all share similar aspirations of bringing back fairness to the Kenyan people.

The Lugari MP said: "For the Federal Party of Kenya our issues have always been the restoration of fairness, creation of opportunity, enhancement of devolution and today's step is based on the principle that issues are more serious than the messengers."

"On a personal level, I also take the unusual step of carrying my commitment to the restoration of fairness campaign to the same level... Our analysis of the current elections show that it will be counter-productive to split voices," he added.

The legislator who recently pulled out of a coalition with Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa said that the election provided Kenyans with the opportunity to elect a president between two strong men who both love their country, but who have very different views on how to create a 'Kenya for all Kenyans.'

He says the CORD alliance carries what he termed as a pro-equity agenda compared to other coalitions and that CORD's presidential candidate had recognised that Kenya is made up of different communities and was prepared to negotiate between diverse interest groups.

Jirongo announced he will now vie for the Kakamega senate seat after signing the agreement with Odinga, Vice president Kalonzo Musyoka and Ford Kenya Leader Moses Wetangula.

Under the agreement, the CORD alliance will back Jirongo's candidature for the senate seat while his Federal Party will be allowed to field parliamentary candidates in the election.

The Federal Party has also been given a slot to nominate one of its officials to be a member of the coalition's executive committee.

Jirongo signed the agreement at a Nairobi hotel where he was welcomed by the Prime Minister who is convinced that his alliance is headed for victory in the polls.

"If you do an opinion poll now even before we start our campaigns you will find that more than 50 percent of Kenyans are supporting CORD... We are adding fuel to CORD and are sure of winning," he said while assigning Jirongo position six in the (CORD football) team.

Odinga is expected to lead the CORD team to western Kenya for three days starting Friday with rallies in Kakamega, Kitale and Bungoma in what he called a show of strength.

"Some people are saying that we are following them, we are following nobody; and we are all over Kenya and will go to every part of the country because we do not believe in zoning," he insisted.

CORD's campaign in western will be coming at a time when the presidential candidate for the Amani Coalition Musalia Mudavadi will also be heading to the region with various rallies planned.

Mudavadi who defected from the Orange Democratic Movement to the United Democratic Forum will have rallies in Bungoma County on Friday, Kakamega County on Saturday and in Kitale Sunday.

Mudavadi will be in Busia and Vihiga counties on Monday and Tuesday.

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