Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna has refuted claims that President Uhuru Kenyatta has endorsed ODM chief Raila Odinga as his successor in the 2022 polls.
Speaking on Radio Citizen’s Jambo Kenya show on Thursday, Sifuna said Kenyans are instead the ones who have fuelled Odinga’s presidential ambitions.
“Kenyans are the ones who have endorsed Raila Odinga to run for the presidency. In all the regions we held Azimio La Umoja rallies, the president was not there… he was not at the rally in Kasarani,” protested Sifuna.
“Although I know the president is entitled to his own views as a citizen, I have not heard the president say whom he would like to be his successor yet,” he added.
The ODM Secretary-General however maintained that President Kenyatta is at liberty to endorse any presidential candidate if he so wishes, saying he (Kenyatta) has a stake in the country’s governance like any other citizen.
“As many are aware, the 2022 Presidential race is between two horses and they have both told us their agenda for the country. The effects of whoever will be president come next year will be felt by everyone, including the former president,” stated Sifuna.
“So the president has a democratic right to say which he thinks is the right way for the country to take.”
He further defended the close ties between the President and Mr. Odinga compared to Deputy President William Ruto, saying the Head of State knows well why he would not involve himself in his deputy’s presidential ambitions.
“Waswahili wanasema kiboko akija kutoka majini akuambie mamba ni mgonjwa, lazima uamini kwa sababu wanaishi pamoja,” he stated.
“Kwa hivyo ndugu zetu hawa wawili Mheshimiwa Rais na naibu wake ambao wametembea pamoja, iwapo kiboko ametuambia tujihadhari na huyu mamba, sisi hatuna budi ila kutii. Wao wenyewe wanajuana huko ndani.”
In what was seen as a soft endorsement of Odinga’s presidential bid, President Kenyatta on November 30 said age was a non-issue while rooting for peace and national unity as critical ingredients in determining the next head of state.