ODM leader Raila Odinga has dismissed claims that a section of the political class is under pressure from President Uhuru Kenyatta to endorse his 2022 presidential bid.
One Kenya Alliance partners Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Musalia Mudavadi (Amani National Congress), Moses Wetangula (Ford Kenya) and Gideon Moi (KANU) were recently reported to be under pressure to shelve their ambitions for the top seat in favour of the former Prime Minister.
The leaders have met President Kenyatta twice this month at State House in Mombasa as 2022 succession politics gain momentum. The first meeting was on August 10 and the second a week later.
But speaking during an interview with vernacular radio stations on Friday, Raila agreed with OKA leaders that their talks with the President had nothing to do with the succession politics.
According to the Orange party chief, the leaders’ last talks with the President on August 18, were about the “Covid-19 pandemic”.
“We had a chance to be briefed by health experts on the status of the pandemic in the country and held deliberations on the interventions the government should focus on, the political lies are being peddled by the media,” he said.
A section of the media had reported that Kalonzo and Mudavadi had rejected Uhuru’s calls to support Raila in their August 10 meeting.
The OKA leaders then retreated to Naivasha for a two-day meeting before reconvening at State House in Mombasa for further talks with the President.
Interestingly, after the Naivasha retreat, the alliance announced that it would field its own presidential candidate in 2022.
In the Friday interview, Raila insisted that he only needs the people’s endorsement to go for the top seat.
“Mimi nitagombea urais kama wakenya watasema nisimame…Siendi kwa sababu nitaungwa mkono na fulani au fulani. Wale wa muungano wa OKA ni marafiki na siwezi walazimisha waniunge mkono,” he said.
He took a swipe at Deputy President William Ruto for ‘sabotaging’ the President, saying he should resign and continue with his presidential campaigns.
Raila said he is keen to work with the people of Mount Kenya, urging them to ignore claims by a section of leaders opposed to his presidential ambitions that he doesn’t have the vote-rich region’s interests at heart.
“Historia yangu na Mt. Kenya ni nzuri…Watoto wangu wameoa huko. Nimefanya kazi na vijana na akina mama wengi kutoka sehemu hiyo…Mimi niko na suluhu ya Mlima Kenya na niko tayari kufanya kazi nao,” he added.