ODM leader Raila Odinga will declare his presidential bid on December 9.
This ends speculation about his plans regarding President Uhuru Kenyatta’s succession race.
Speaking on Sunday at a rally in Nairobi’s Eastleigh, the opposition chief promised to turn the economy around and ensure no Kenyan dies from hunger if elected next year.
He also said his first year of administration will see the country’s economy record over 10 per cent growth.
“Next month, on December 9, I will formally make the big announcement,” Raila said.
This will be Raila’s fifth stab at the presidency, having made unsuccessful runs in 1997, 2007, 2013 and 2017. However, this is the first time his candidature is attracting the support of the government of the day.
The ODM leader also laughed off claims by his rivals that his Sh6,000 social welfare promise is a political gimmick.
He insisted that he will roll out the ambitious social protection programme that will be the biggest in the region.
He cited England, the US and Namibia as some of the countries that have successfully implemented the social protection programme. The ex-PM said he will first seal all the graft loopholes to finance the plan.
Deputy President William Ruto, advocating his bottom-up economic model, had dismissed Raila’s cash transfer pledge as campaign rhetoric, terming unsustainable.
Both leaders are battling to succeed President Kenyatta whose second and final constitutional term ends next year.
“We shall bring the biggest social protection fund, some naysayers claim that I am playing politics, but this is a promise that I will deliver to Kenyans,” Raila said.
“Kenya is a social welfare state, all households with no a single person in formal employment will benefit from the Sh6,000 monthly programme.”
The former premier also took a swipe at the Deputy President’s wheelbarrow politics, saying the youth need a well-thought-out empowerment plan.
He said decent jobs for the millions of unemployed youths are only possible through massive investment in industries that will create more opportunities.
His experience serving as Prime Minister in President Mwai Kibaki’s administration will come in handy in running the government and ensuring that he delivers on his campaign pledges, he added.
“I have been Prime Minister of this country, and I know where to get money to implement these projects. I will first seal all the loopholes being used to misappropriate taxpayers’ money.”
Raila was accompanied by former presidential candidate Peter Kenneth, MPs George Aladwa (Makadara), Junet Mohamed (Suna East), Walter Owino (Awendo), Esther Passaris (Nairobi), Timothy Wanyonyi (Westlands), Caleb Amisi (Saboti) and Godfrey Osotsi (ANC-nominated).
Kenneth warned against taking chances in the coming general election, insisting that Kenyans go for someone with sound economic policies to turn around the economy to take over from Uhuru.
“This time round, there is no taking chances with our economy,” the former Gatanga lawmaker said.
Osotsi said next year’s polls will be decided in the first round, putting on notice unnamed politicians he claimed are positioning themselves to play a spoiler role.
“We want to finish the game in 90 minutes. There are people pushing for a runoff, we shall not go to a runoff. It will be decided in 90 minutes,” the vocal legislator said.
Amisi, for his part, said the country is behind Raila and he should not be blackmailed by leaders with selfish demands.
Earlier, the ODM leader attended a church service at Legion Maria Church Makongeni where he offered to broker peace between the two factions of the indigenous church.
“United we stand and divided we fall. I want to see the church come together and work as a team,” Raila said.
“I don’t want to see Legion Maria fighting in a holy place like Got Kweru. I am willing to bring the factions together.”
Legion Maria Church has been engaged in protracted leadership wars. The opposition chief termed it worrying that the church cannot agree to walk together.
In September 2020, four worshippers were shot dead after the faithful engaged the police in running battles during the annual pilgrimage of Legio Maria Church of Africa in Migori county.
Trouble started when a faction led by Raphael Adika attempted to access Got Kweru, the headquarters of the church.
Another faction supporting Lawrence Ochieng’ repulsed them, leading to a violent confrontation.
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