Orange Democratic Movement leadership thinks that by releasing his blueprint, party leader Raila Odinga has given a clear indication that he will be on the ballot next year.
Led by party chairman John Mbadi, the leaders urged Raila to consider running in 2022 so as to implement his agenda for the country.
“Raila has never told anyone that he is not running, although like any other Kenyan it is his choice, we urge him to consider running for the top seat,” Mbadi told a press conference at parliament buildings.
The leaders said the model being proposed by Raila was the best way to go as it seeks to develop and transform the rural areas.
“Raila has shared his vision on turning around the fortunes of our people living in rural areas. He has suggested a very deliberate policy of rural transformation that makes rural life more livable and migration to cities under control,” the leaders said in a statement.
Mbadi who was accompanied by among others, party director of elections Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja), Abdulsawmad Nassir (Mvita), Florence Mutua (Busia County) and Zelekha Hasaan (Kwale) also dismissed the assertion by Deputy President William Ruto that Raila has reconsidered his stand to support the bottom-up model.
“In fact, it is Ruto who should join Raila. Our party leader has been championing this idea of taking development to the grassroots for ages, it’s nothing new he is talking about,” Mbadi said.
Wandayi said the blueprint issued by the opposition chief has opened a conversation which Kenyans should consider giving precedence.
“The proposals Raila are practical and implementable. We need to transform rural economies for the country to realize uniformity in terms of growth,” said Wandayi.
The leaders said Raila’s model has proposed massive investment in development planning specific to rural areas, massive investment in rural infrastructure, efficient and quality health care resources.
“The module by Raila is also pushing for cheap and reliable electricity, provision of clean water, good public schools and investment in food production,” the leaders said in a statement.
They hit at Ruto for mocking the former premier, saying unlike his bottoms-up model, Raila has given a practical proposal that can be implemented by anyone in office.
“It is interesting to note that even those supporting Ruto don't understand his model. While some are talking of giving out wheelbarrows others are talking of giving cash handouts,” Wandayi said.
And in an indirect attack to Ruto Wandayi, “As always, the naysayers have begun shouting. They throw around empty words like bottom-up which are just words. They say it cannot be done because it has never been done. They want a slanging contest on Twitter.”
Narok North MP Motalel Ole Kenta questioned how Ruto expected to bring change by giving youth wheelbarrows.
“Where will Ruto get the Sh 30 million he is saying he will give out to constituencies with the economy in ruins. He is just playing with the minds of the vulnerable youth,” Kenta said.
The MPS said Kenyans must discuss corruption, meritocracy and making life in rural areas livable.
“We must discuss the sustainability or otherwise of the culture of handouts that some leaders want us to glorify, we are here to appeal to all Kenyans to engage in informed and honest debate about the future of the country in general and rural Kenya in particular,” they said in the statement.
In his proposal, Raila singled out the rule of law, zero tolerance for corruption and complacency, prolonged stability of the nation, universal access to top-flight public education system, a rigorous application of meritocracy and a low and transparent tax regime, among other measures.