Kenya: Odinga Hints at 2022 Power Pact With Jubilee and Other Parties

President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga (file photo).
11 February 2021

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga yesterday signalled the formation of a "bigger political movement" with the ruling party that he described as unstoppable in the run-up to next year's General Election.

Mr Odinga, whose party has been enjoying a cordial working relationship with President Kenyatta's Jubilee since their March 9, 2018 deal, gave the clearest indication yet that the two parties could enter into a coalition deal together with other parties.

He made the remarks while addressing a joint meeting of chairpersons of ODM and Jubilee from all the 17 sub-counties of Nairobi at the Convent Hotel in Lavington where he rallied them to support the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

Mr Odinga said the union would bring together other political parties to form one formidable force which he likened to the River Nile.

"It will be an unstoppable movement. We will also bring together other parties so that we have a bigger movement. River Nile has left Lake Victoria heading to the Mediterranean Sea and no force will stop it," he declared.

"Itafika huko wapende wasipende (It will reach there whether they like it or not). That's why we're saying nobody can stop reggae," the former Prime Minister added.

Coallition

Talk of a possible coalition between ODM and Jubilee follows reports that the President's party is keen to have Mr Odinga's party to formally sign their cooperation agreement.

The ODM leader has been touted as one of the fiercest challengers of Deputy President William Ruto's quest to succeed President Kenyatta in 2022.

Jubilee has already entered into a post-election coalition agreement with Senator Gideon Moi's Kanu and also signed a cooperation agreement with Mr Kalonzo Musyoka's Wiper and ex-Bomet governor Isaac Ruto's Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM). The DP's wing of Jubilee has been unhappy about the agreements. Mr Ruto, however, recently said he backed the DP for the presidency.

Prior to previous polls, Mr Odinga has likened his political movement to a tsunami, and yesterday's declaration of a bigger movement in the offing is another pointer to developments ahead of the 2022 elections.

Yesterday, he told off the opponents of the BBI drive, saying : "We won't relent in our quest to ensure the passing of the BBI."

"Wacha wale wabweke. Lakini ngurumo ya chura haizuii ng'ombe kunywa maji. (Let them continue barking. They must know that the croaking of frogs does not stop a cow from drinking water."

"We cannot be threatened and we won't relent in our quest to push for the implementation of BBI," the ODM leader said, referring to the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020, that's before county assemblies.

He said they were not worried about the court stopping the electoral commission from subjecting the Bill to a referendum until petitions against the proposed changes are determined.

"We're not worried; the courts also know the urgency of the matter. By the time the process reaches the IEBC, they'll have resolved the petitions," Mr Odinga said.

The Orange leader said he was glad ODM and Jubilee chairmen in Nairobi had resolved to work together and extend the relationship to other parts of the country.

Nairobi ODM chairman George Aladwa, who is also Makadara MP, Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati, ODM executive director Oduor Ong'wen and Jubilee Nairobi chairman Gitonga Ndegwa attended the meeting.

Stating the obvious

Mr Aladwa said they were looking forward to a political formation bringing together several political parties, including ODM, Jubilee, Wiper, Kanu, Amani National Congress as well as Ford-Kenya.

Mr Ndegwa expressed confidence that the unity will see BBI approved.

Jubilee secretary-general Raphael Tuju said his party and ODM will continue working together.

"Working together on BBI is stating the obvious. The President has been very clear and I can reiterate that BBI is not about 2022," Mr Tuju told the Nation.

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