Kenyan opposition leader’s visit fuels speculation on his 2022 ambitions

Saturday April 14 2018

Raila Odinga and former President Daniel Moi

Former president Daniel arap Moi and opposition leader Raila Odinga at Kabarak on a visit that caught both friend and foe by surprise on April 12, 2018. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By The EastAfrican
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Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga on Thursday met with former president Daniel arap Moi in Kabarak, Nakuru County, fuelling speculation that the Orange Democratic Movement leader may be considering running for the presidency in 2022.

Coming a month after a handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta that threw the opposition coalition into disarray, there is talk that Mr Odinga wants to contest the top seat, in utter disregard of  the pre-election opposition alliance agreement within the National Super Alliance in 2017.

Those close to the opposition leader say that his meeting with the retired president was part of the emerging political realignment in which Mr Odinga is looking to gain the support of a section of the Rift Valley through Mr Moi’s son, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi.

The younger Moi has also shown interest to contest the presidency in 2022 which puts him on a coalition course with  Deputy President William Ruto, the heir apparent of the ruling Jubilee Party.

A statement from Mr Odinga’s spokesperson said that the opposition leader simply went to wish the former president well after his recent hospitalisation in Israel. But a statement from retired President Moi’s office said the two leaders discussed issues touching on the state of the nation.

Following the recent rapprochement between Mr Odinga and President Kenyatta, the plot, according to insiders, is for the opposition leader to break new ground in the regions that have eluded him in the past two elections—Central and Rift Valley.

He is also hoping that President Kenyatta could persuade a section of his   supporters to back him, after what has come to be known as “golden handshake” of March 9.

However, it has taken too long for the two to announce the way forward for the nation.

On April 11, the President and Mr Odinga were supposed to announce a 12-member panel to come up with a memorandum of understanding. But the  announcement was postponed.

The Kabarak visit has not rattled Mr Odinga’s co-principals in the National Supper Alliance (Nasa) — Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetangula — who have accused Mr Odinga of betrayal for meeting President Kenyatta without their knowledge and consent.

The Nasa pre-election pact had stated that Mr Odinga would not run again and instead support any of the three in 2022.

Mr Wetangula was removed as the Leader of the Minority in the Senate, fuelling more acrimony.