Kenya’s ruling party backs opposition leader Odinga for presidency

FILE PHOTO: Kenyan opposition leader Odinga announces 2022 presidential candidate in Nairobi
FILE PHOTO: Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga reacts during the Azimio la Umoja (United Declaration) rally to announce the Presidential candidate in August 2022 at the Moi International Sports center in Kasarani , Nairobi, Kenya December 10, 2021. REUTERS / Thomas Mukoya / Photo file

February 26, 2022

By Duncan Miri

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya’s ruling Jubilee Party endorsed veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga in the presidential election scheduled for August, while Vice President William Ruto, who has also voted announced his candidacy.

Former political prisoner Odinga, 77, ran his previous four races as an anti-establishment candidate wanting a change of government if elected, but has now partnered with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Kenyatta, who will not be on the ballot due to the constitutional limit of two five-year terms, has chosen to support Odinga against his deputy Ruto, who Kenyatta says is unfit to be Kenya’s president. East Africa’s largest economy.

“Very early in my second term, I made it clear to the Kenyan people that I was the political leader of choice,” Kenyatta said at the party’s national assembly of delegates on Saturday.

In Odinga’s last three campaigns for office in 2007, 2013 and 2017, he challenged the results, saying his victory was stolen. Deadly clashes followed the 2007 and 2017 polls.

But he made peace with Kenyatta in early 2018, effectively removing Ruto, who was standing with a new party called the United Democratic Union, after leaving Jubilee.

Odinga is showcasing her long experience in national leadership, including her time as prime minister.

He has also promised to eliminate rampant parasitics, a monthly allowance of 6,000 shillings ($52.75) for the unemployed and unite Kenya’s peoples.

Odinga, Kenyatta and Ruto come from three of the four largest ethnic groups. Both candidates are fighting to secure the support of Kenyatta’s Kikuyu group, the nation’s most populous group, which has produced three of the nation’s four presidents since independence from Britain in 1963. .

Ruto appealed to Kikuyu voters by pledging to shift the government’s economic focus from large infrastructure projects and large state-owned companies to small businesses he called “the hustler”.

He sought to present himself as an advocate of the poor and dismissed Kenyatta, son of Kenya’s first president, and Odinga, son of its first vice president, as the elites of the country. dynasty no contact.

The delegates, all wearing the party’s signature red, also formally removed Ruto as Jubilee’s deputy party leader at Saturday’s convention.

(1 dollar = 113,7500 Kenyan shillings)

(Reported by Duncan Miriri Editing by Katharine Houreld and Mark Potter) Kenya’s ruling party backs opposition leader Odinga for presidency

Bobby Allyn

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