Jubilee vice chair David Murathe’s claim that Kenyans should prepare for a Raila Odinga presidency in 2022 continues to elicit sharp reactions from politicians.
Murathe, a close ally of President Uhuru Kenyatta, sparked a heated debate when he said Kenyans should reward the ODM leader for the sacrifices he has made for the country.
Leaders from across the political divide, however, said Murathe’s Saturday remarks were personal and did not represent the views of other prominent personalities or political parties.
Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata (Murang’a), who is also considered a key ally of Uhuru, took to social media to state that nobody should purport to speak on behalf of the Mt Kenya region, a message seen to be directed at Murathe.
“Anyone purporting to be Mt Kenya spokesman other than the President is representing himself and not Mt Kenya. Succession politics is not yet,” he said.
Kang’ata urged Kenyans to ignore “rumours being hawked all over” that the Mt Kenya region had finally found Uhuru’s successor.
Trade unionist Francis Atwoli endorsed Raila for the presidency in 2022, just a day Murathe asked Kenyans to prepare for the presidency of the ODM leader. Atwoli said he believed Raila has what it takes to take the country forward after Uhuru retires.
However, Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga, a close ally of Raila, said remarks by Murathe and Atwoli were personal views.
“Raila has been clear that he does not want to discuss 2022 at the moment. His focus is putting the country together but he cannot stop people from giving their views,” she said.
Wanga added that ODM has also not had discussions about 2022 presidential elections.
Elgeyo Marakwet Woman Representative Gladys Shollei concurred with Wanga, saying those were personal views.
“They have made their views known but they are not the ones who will decide who the next president will be but the people of Kenya,” she added.
Shollei, an ally of Deputy President William Ruto, further said Murathe’s view was not the position of Jubilee.
Murathe is Ruto’s harshest critic and has even threatened to block his presidential ambition at the Supreme Court.
Murathe will be remembered for launching a brutal attack against the Deputy President in June 2019 as he declared that he would never work with him. He created a political storm when he asked Ruto to retire alongside President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022.
Questions emerged as to whether Murathe was speaking on behalf of his boss or whether they were his personal views.
On Saturday, Murathe said Raila will certainly be on the ballot as a presidential candidate come 2022 as he asked Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka to pave way.
Kalonzo is among top politicians eyeing the presidential seat and has been quoted saying that 2022 will be his time to ascend to power.
Wiper spokesman Dennis Kavisu said Kalonzo would issue a comprehensive statement in response to the remarks.
He, however, noted Kalonzo has supported Raila twice, during the 2013 and 2017 general elections. “Kamba have been the highest voting bloc for Raila, more than Luo Nyanza,” he stated.
“During last elections, Raila said he had the last bullet.”
Kavisu nonetheless said Murathe’s remarks were rather confusing as he had been close to them.
He recalled that in January 2019, Kalonzo chaired a closed-door meeting with Wiper politicians to deliberate on issues facing the political outfit and Murathe was among the guests.
Murathe’s presence at the goat eating meeting in Yatta triggered a debate on Kalonzo’s plans ahead of 2022 polls.