Kenya: I'm on Top of the Mountain, Odinga Tells Kirinyaga Residents

20 October 2021

Nairobi — Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga has said that he has been able to climb the mountain politically in the wake of the heightened political campaigns as the country edges closer to the 2022 general elections.

Speaking on Wednesday in Kirinyaga during the commemoration of Mashujaa Day celebrations, Odinga reiterated the statement he made on October 12 when he met youths from Mt Kenya region.

He cited the 2002 presidential election when he dropped his ambition to back President Mwai Kibaki as a demonstration of his commitment to the region and its people.

"When I said Kibaki Tosha, they said Raila is finished politically. No Luo can vote for a kikuyu because of what happened to Tom Mboya and Jaramogi, I went and told the Luos that kikuyus and Luos have been partners in the struggle for independence for this country, your excellency the Luo's voted Mwai Kibaki 98.5 per cent showing that this tribalism thing is a tiny thing so Raila Odinga is friend of the Mountain and has been able to climb the mountain," said Odinga.

His comments were in response to his political rivals who had labeled him an enemy of the Mountain saying his support for Kibaki and Uhuru is a clear indication that he has their interests at heart.

During the meeting with Mt Kenya youths at the University of Nairobi, Odinga dismissing pronouncements by Deputy President William Ruto that he 'holds' the key to the mountain, adding that he (Raila) does not need anybody to give him the "key to climb the mountain."

The former Prime Minister has been on a political offensive in the Mt Kenya region in a bid to gain the support of the region including the meeting with Mt Kenya Foundation leaders.

He has also promised a number of goodies if he clinches the country's top seat, including a promise of a financial stipend to support poor families, while his main opponent Ruto, has been campaigning on a bottom-up economic model platform promising to replace the existing trickle-down model.

However, Odinga's pledge to pay poor families Sh6,000 every month if elected president sparked controversy, with many including DP Ruto dismissing it as "empty rhetoric."

While Odinga insists his pledge is achievable with sound economic policies he intends to put in place, Ruto said "it s a way of introducing a hand-out economy."

"What I am saying is being implemented in other countries like in the United States and parts of Europe. I am not day-dreaming, this cash transfer program will be a reality," the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader said during a campaign tour in Turkana on October 14, in response to criticism from his opponents.

"This is not a joke and for the doubters I tell them that the plan will indeed work."

Ruto said the youth and poor families need sustainable solutions not handouts.

"That is a lie. What he (Odinga) is promising cannot be sustained, and that is not what the youth and poor families need," Ruto said, "what the youth need are jobs not handouts."

Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi too dismissed Odinga's pledge, terming it a lie.

"Again when you listen that you realize immediately that it is a lie from Raila," Mudavadi remarked.

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