Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga has dismissed fears of Deputy President William Ruto’s rising popularity on the back of the 'Hustler Nation' crusade, saying that will not stop him from running in 2022, if he chooses to.
Although he has refused to state whether or not he will make a fifth attempt at the presidential seat in the 2022 elections, Mr Odinga says Dr Ruto’s presence in the race will not scare him into not running.
“Ruto will not scare me into not running. Not at all ... Kenyans are very intelligent. Sometimes you see some euphoria and it might deceive you. On hustlers, people understand who is this who is saying this. What is his background?” Mr Odinga said in an interview with TV47, a local television station, on Wednesday.
Were he to run, Mr Odinga said, it would be after a careful analysis of the field and the politics of the day.
“Of course I will not run if I know I do not have a chance. I understand politics in this country quite clearly, and I will run if I have a chance,” Mr Odinga said.
He dismissed the 'Hustler Nation' politics by the DP Ruto, President Kenyatta’s isolated deputy keen to take over from him in 2022, has rallied Kenyans from poor backgrounds with his story of chicken-seller-turned-Deputy President which he pits against dynasties that he says do not know the struggles of a common person.
I know Kenyans will make an informed choice.
In Dr Ruto’s book, Mr Odinga, President Kenyatta, Baringo Senator and Kanu Chairman Gideon Moi, scions of founding vice-president Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, founding president Jomo Kenyatta, and Kenya’s second president Daniel Moi, respectively, are dynasties who should be handed defeat at the ballot in 2022.
“There is a lot of propaganda. But I know Kenyans will make an informed choice. I have no doubt about that. I have confidence in our people to make the right decision at the right time,” Mr Odinga said in the interview.
If Kenyans do choose Dr Ruto as their president in the polls, Mr Odinga said: “Choices have consequences. Our friend Ambassador Johnny Carson said it in 2013 and you have seen the consequences. Now Ruto is making all manner of promises.”
Buoyed by the win in the Msambweni by-election last week, Dr Ruto has set his eyes on planned mini-polls in Nairobi for governor, Machakos senate seat, and Matungu and Kabuchai MP seats to prove his mantle and rally hustlers fully behind him in an ultimate test ahead of the competitive presidential run.
“The Msambweni by-election has opened a new chapter in the politics of our country. It is no longer about the big name that we carry. Not the people in power that we are connected to. It is about our hard work, commitment and how we address the issues and aspirations of the ordinary people,” Dr Ruto said at his Karen office on Wednesday after meeting Mr Feisal Bader, the newly-elected MP.
The by-elections planned for February and March next year will come just a few months to the planned Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) referendum, which the secretariat hopes to happen in June 2021. This makes the races even more important for politicians seeking to stamp their authority ahead of the 2022 General Election.
In the TV interview, Mr Odinga said the plebiscite can happen from as early as end of April next year.
“IEBC should just take two weeks to verify the 4.4 million signatures that the BBI team submitted. By January 10, they should be done, publish the Bill and take it to the county assemblies that will have another two weeks. By end of February, Parliament will be done with it. Then we go to referendum campaigns in March, and be done with BBI in April,” Mr Odinga said.
The DP is misleading Kenyans.
After the verification of signatures, the IEBC will submit the Bill to the 47 county assemblies and the regional Houses will have three months within which to consider the Bill.
If more than half (24) pass the Bill, it will be introduced to the Senate and the National Assembly.
Whether the two Houses of Parliament pass it or not, the Bill will go to the President’s desk for the next action because the BBI Bill seeks to amend sections of the Constitution that need to be approved by the people in a plebiscite.
Once the President receives it, he is expected to refer it to the IEBC, which has to hold a referendum within 90 days.
In the interview, Mr Odinga also dismissed Dr Ruto’s calls for a non-contested referendum.
“The DP is misleading Kenyans. There is nothing like a non-contested referendum. Because if it is not contested, why are you then doing it? There will always be people opposed to it. There is nothing like non-contested referendum anywhere in the world,” Mr Odinga said.