Kenya: Raila Odinga - Who Said I Will Run for President?

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has mocked politicians who have vowed not to support him for the presidency in 2022, saying he has never declared that he will vie.

The critics, he said, should instead wait until proposals in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) are adopted.

"Where have I ever declared that I will vie for the presidency? I have never asked anyone to support me, but at the moment what I'm focusing on is BBI, which the court has just sent on a break," he said.

Speaking at Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital in Mombasa after opening a cardiac clinic (cath lab), the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader expressed confidence that BBI will spur development at the grassroots.

His remarks came a day after Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka said it would be "stupid" of him to support Mr Odinga's presidential bid for the third successive time.

Mr Musyoka, who was Mr Odinga's running mate in the 2013 and 2017 elections, said he would be "the most stupid person on earth" to again endorse Mr Odinga after their loss to President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto in both contests.

Accused of betrayal

Mr Kalonzo is the second politician after Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi to vow not to support Mr Odinga, accusing him of betrayal.

Mr Odinga is in Coast region to meet ODM leaders to solidify the party's position ahead of next year's elections.

Mr Odinga was accompanied by Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir.

"We are opening the first cath lab in Kenya, which is only found in South Africa. This is because we have focused leaders in this county," he said.

Before visiting the hospital, Mr Odinga met Mombasa businessman Suleiman Shahbal in his Nyali home. Last week, Mr Shahbal announced his defection from Jubilee to ODM.

Sources who attended the meeting told the Nation that Mr Odinga promised Mr Shahbal that ODM will conduct free and fair nominations.

Read: The tyranny of numbers game unravels

Also read: Raila gains, Ruto loses in Mt Kenya vote split

Joho's candidature

Mr Joho yesterday insisted that he will run for President next year. He said he had done well in his two terms as governor and that his development record speaks for itself.

"Even if the party leader has not declared he will run for the top seat, I will be in the ballot and leave regional politics to Mr Nassir and others," he said.

"I have delivered and whoever visits Coast General Hospital can see that it has improved since I was elected governor in 2013."

Mr Nassir said all leaders are free to join ODM.

"We have seen some who have been condemning ODM in the last election are coming back to seek the gubernatorial seat. We welcome them to strengthen our party, but they should know I will be the next governor of Mombasa as voters know who is coming for his own interests," he said.

akitimo@ke.nationmedia.com

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