Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has found himself between two political allies turned foes, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto.
While Raila is steadfastly holding onto Uhuru to show him the way and at the same time turning his back against Ruto, he also has to do the hard work of convincing the electorate that he will right the wrongs of the previous governments.
Raila, who once described himself as the proverbial Joshua leading Kenyans to Canaan, now looks up to the President to assist him to chart the way forward, a move that has seen his opponents brand him a state project.
This is a label Raila and his team constantly deny, arguing that he only enjoys the support of the President and has the numbers to guarantee him victory to State House.A collage image of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto speaking at separate events on Friday, February 11, 2022File
As Ruto and his allies led by Musalia Mudavadi of the Amani National Congress (ANC) and Moses Wetangula of Ford-Kenya cry foul of Uhuru’s treatment, insiders close to Raila state that the former Prime Minister and his handshake partner are busy stamping authority in the grassroots.
Both parties indeed are seeking votes on the ground, with Ruto and his campaign team using volunteers to reach voters and also selecting members who will work as agents at every polling station. On the other hand, Uhuru and Odinga are forging their way ahead with a new strategy targeting the youth.
Azimio La Umoja, since its unveiling, has embarked on a campaign to popularise Raila. Even Wetangula and other DP allies have attacked Azimio to a point where they mistakenly nearly endorse Raila's political outfit.
“We are here to ask you to vote for Azimio… our Kenya Kwanza…,” Wetangula errored while speaking at a rally in Nakuru County on Friday, February 11.
Insiders within Azimio La Umoja circles note that Uhuru and Raila are countering Ruto by massively endorsing and funding the youth to run for elective seats.
They argue that Ruto is fronting veterans in the name of being ‘youths’ yet those under the age of 35 were grappling with how they would form the next government.
This was evident through Uhuru’s meeting with over 3,000 youth at State House on Friday, February 11. Nearly half of the attendees want to run for various positions in the August 9 polls.
“We have said we want a coalition unit of like-minded parties and together we join Azimio. We have the candidate, we have the resources and the youth are together with us," Uhuru stated while openly endorsing Raila.
But he has always spoken in favour of Odinga. What's the catch?Deputy President William Ruto at a Kenya Kwanza rally in Nakuru County, on Friday, February 11, 2022DPPS
“You must ensure you are fully involved in the political processes. It is the only way to guarantee opportunities and space to drive your agenda in the next administration,” Uhuru asked the youths to run for seats.
Azimio La Umoja, under Raila and Uhuru’s stewardship, is said to be encouraging the youths to form groups of over 5,000 individuals in various constituencies to champion Raila’s ambitions.
The President reiterated that he would personally fund those running and criteria outlined on how to successfully pick influential young candidates who would prove that Azimio indeed backs the youth.
Youthful government appointees already hit the ground running, coordinating with County Commissioners, Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs to rally the youth.
In recent Kenya Kwanza rallies, Ruto allies have openly criticised national government officials under the Ministry of Interior led by Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i for being deeply involved in politics.
“They are using the Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs to plot a scheme to rig elections. I am warning all civil servants that they only have five months in power. Uhuru will leave you hanging when he retires. We will deal with you when we form the government,” Garissa Town MP, Aden Duale, stated on Friday, February 11 in Nakuru.
Uhuru is targetting the backing of nearly 3 million youth who will be at the forefront in campaigning for Raila Odinga.
He compared Azimio’s strategy to that of Ruto and Kenya Kwanza, stating: “A good plan badly executed is worse than a bad plan well executed.
“They said our parties are no more. We are now coming out of the office getting into real politics,” President Kenyatta told the youth at State House.President Uhuru Kenyatta more than 3,000 young people at State House, Nairobi on February, Friday 11, 2022.PSCU
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