Raila Says Azimio La Umoja Convention Will Be An Icing To Handshake With Uhuru

Raila Says Azimio La Umoja Convention Will Be An Icing To Handshake With Uhuru

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 6 – Friday’s Azimio La Umoja initiative convention in Nairobi will be an icing to the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga.

The former Prime Minister revealed Monday that the event to be held at the Moi International Stadium in Kasarani will be a crowning moment for the peace pact they sealed with the head of state in March 2018 and which formed the foundation for his political marriage with Kenyatta.

“We agreed with Uhuru that he will sit on his end and me in mine and we will bring Kenyans together in our quest for unity in Kenya. Friday this week is really important for us. It is a sign that the journey which we started has culminated,” Odinga said during a meeting with Jubilee and his ODM party officials in Nairobi.

The Opposition chief is expected to formally declare his presidential candidature at the event.

Even though he has been popularising his bid across the country, Odinga has not announced his candidature formally, leaving many guessing about his next move.

“Nairobians please don’t let me down, I have been an MP in Nairobi so I urge you by 6 am when the cock crows, the stadium should be full,” said Odinga, “You have asked me whether I will be on the ballot or not, wait for it the answer will be revealed on Friday.”

The former Prime Minister shook hands with the president in March 2018, in what ended their political animosity that was fuelled by Odinga’s claim that Kenyatta had stolen votes in a hotly contested election of 2017.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga are enjoying a close political relationship following their March 2018 handshake. /PSCU-FILE.

The two have repeatedly said that their handshake helped cool down temperatures in a country that remained tense for months, with almost daily or weekly protests from Odinga’s supporters.

It is this handshake that soared Kenyatta’s relationship with his Deputy William Ruto who has remained largely critical of the government from within, stopping at nothing in accusing the president of working with the Opposition to undermine and him out of the 2022 presidential race.

Kenyatta has publicly asked him to resign “instead of criticizing the government from within”, but Ruto insists he won’t quit and has dared the ruling Jubilee party to oust him after embracing his new party-United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

Recent opinion polls have projected Odinga and Ruto as men in a two-horse race in the next year’s presidential election when Kenyatta’s second and final term will lapse.

While Ruto sees himself as the ‘de-facto leader of Central Kenya’ where dozens of politicians follow him, Odinga insists he will floor him, vowing to hit the ground running after the Friday launch of his Azimio La Umoja initiative.

Odinga launched the initiative in Nakuru August, in what mirrored his call for unity after the Court of Appeal thwarted their constitutional amendment bid under the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) which was declared null and void.

Odinga said the initiative is aimed at uniting the country ahead of the 2022 General election.

The ODM leader stated that delegates and supporters drawn from all parts of the country will attend the final Azimio la Umoja convention, which will be a sign of unity ahead of the polls.

“That stadium should show the sign of Kenya that Kenyans have decided that they will go for what the forefathers have envisaged,” said Odinga.

Odinga said that they will be having delegates from 1,450 wards in the country, five from Jubilee and five from ODM who will have a special sitting arrangement away from the supporters.

Suna East MP Junet Mohammed said the event will be graced by leaders from different parts of the country.

“It’s a meeting to bring Kenyans together that is not an ODM event, those parties who are in support of Azimio la Umoja feel free to come,” Junet stated.

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