Raila denies reports he has declared interest in the 2022 presidential race

By Baraka Karama On Sun, 18 Aug, 2019 15:28 | 2 mins read
Raila Odinga
ODM leader Raila Odinga when he attended a cultural festival in Turkana earlier in August. PHOTO | COURTESY
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    ODM leader maintains that it's too early to engage in the 2022 General Election talk, says his focus is on strengthening his party.

    However, Raila Odinga's key lieutenants led by Siaya Senator James Orengo have in
    the past hinted that he will vie for the seat in the next election.

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga has denied claims that he is keen to make a fifth stab at the presidency in 2022.

Instead, Raila maintained that his main focus is to strengthen his party ahead of the 2022 General Election.

A section of the media quoted the opposition chief on Saturday as saying
that he gave a clear indication of facing off with the Deputy President William Ruto, who has declared interest in succeeding President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Raila had attended the burial ceremony of the mother to former Gem MP
Joe Donde in Gem Constituency accompanied by several political leaders from the area.

‘Too early’

In a statement sent to newsrooms through his spokesman Dennis Onyango,
the ODM leader said he has not yet declared interest in vying for the presidency as reported.

The statement read in part: “Odinga does not believe that three years
into an election expected in 2022, who is running, who is ahead, who
is behind, who is going to win, what are the odds and who will loose
is the priority the press should force Kenyans to occupy themselves
with.”

Raila urged the media to focus on economic, political and social issues that need urgent attention.

“Mr Odinga has entered no race and he knows no race as reported in a section of the media and it’s way too early to do that,” said Dennis in the statement.

The former prime minister has left his close allies and opponents guessing on his next move even as he seeks to consolidate his support base.

However, his key lieutenants led by Siaya Senator James Orengo have in
the past hinted that he will vie for the seat in the next election.

In his party, Kakamega County gGovernor Wycliffe Oparanya and his
Mombasa counterpart Ali hassan Joho have already declared interest to
wrestle for the party’s ticket.

Both governors have declared themselves fit to occupy the top
seat and have vowed to present themselves before party delegates for a
fair contest.

Recruitment drive

On Saturday, Raila announced that ODM will embark on a major
recruitment drive nationally that will also culminate in election of
party officials.

“We want to strengthen our party by recruiting more members and
officials who will steer it to greater heights so that we can remain
relevant and stronger in the political arena,” Raila said.

Speaking in Kisumu three weeks ago when he attended the party’s
delegates meeting, ODM Executive Director Oduor Ongwen said they had
commenced the process of screening members countrywide.

“We have had problem in the past where members of our
party dance to the tune of other political parties. That is why this
time, even before we give you the ticket, we must ensure that we do a
proper check of your background with an aim of avoiding future
problems,” said Ongwen.