I am not going anywhere: Raila denies endorsing Kalonzo for 2027

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party leader Raila Odinga has denied endorsing Wiper Democratic Movement’s Kalonzo Musyoka to face Kenya Kwanza’s William Ruto in the 2027 presidential polls.

According to a statement by Mr Dennis Onyango, Mr Odinga’s spokesman, the praise heaped on Mr Musyoka by the ODM leader does not amount to an endorsement.

He added that the praise was an acknowledgement and appreciation of past deeds that are in the public domain.

“Mr Odinga therefore clarifies that his praise for Mr Musyoka for standing with him in three successive elections, the wiper leader’s strong Christian values and the support he had built across the country was not an endorsement of Mr Musyoka as the Azimio Presidential candidate in 2027,” said Mr Onyango.

Mr Odinga’s statement comes a day after he hinted that the Alliance will rally behind Mr Musyoka as its flagbearer in the 2027 presidential race.

Mr Odinga, who was addressing a gathering that attended Siaya Senator Oburu Oginga’s birthday party on Sunday, also slammed President Ruto for what he described as attempts to divide the Azimio coalition.

Together with other Azimio leaders, they urged the head of state to focus on reducing the high cost of living for Kenyans instead of obsessing over the 2027 elections.

However, according to some Azimio party insiders, the 2027 talks were premature coming from the top leadership and appeared to have caused some tension among the coalition’s top brass.

It was feared that naming a possible candidate so early could drive a wedge between member parties and individuals at a time when unity was most needed.

In the statement released on Monday morning, Mr Onyango pointed out that Mr Odinga sees Azimio as a coalition of equals, in which each leader has a fair and equal chance to emerge as the 2027 presidential candidate, depending on each leader’s relationship with the party membership.

“Four years before Kenyans go for another election was way too early for a political party to name its presidential candidate. The coalition candidate will not be named until a year or just months to the 2027 election,” said Mr Onyango.

But the Azimio leader believes Mr Musyoka has what it takes to beat President Ruto in a free and fair presidential contest, contrary to the UDA leader’s recent claims that he would easily beat the Wiper leader.

Yesterday, the Wiper leader also said that whoever faces Dr Ruto in 2027 will have a smooth ride to State House if the current state of affairs in the country is anything to go by.

“Whoever will contest in 2027 as Baba puts it will have a walk in the park because Kenyans are already tired due to the high cost of living,” Mr Musyoka said on Sunday.

But in a move that could be hinting that he will still be in the race for a sixth time, Mr Odinga assured Azimio supporters and the country that he plans to remain very active in party and national politics all the way to 2027.

“His words of praise for Mr Musyoka were therefore not intended to mean he had or intends to quite active politics,” said Mr Onyango.

It was also meant to cool the raging debate about Mr Odinga’s retirement and possible heirs, with names such as minority leader Opiyo Wandayi being floated.

The reassurance to supporters is a softer way of saying he is not going anywhere in the country’s political arena.

It is a view shared by many of Mr Odinga’s allies who believe he remains the best bet to face Dr Ruto in any presidential election.

But Kisumu MP and the Azimio leader’s younger sister Ruth Odinga has maintained that no one can fill Mr Odinga’s shoes.

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