Tension in Cord over 2017 flagbearer
Mr Odinga had been expected to use the launch of a revamped website, to formally launch his presidential bid.
But he did not address the subject and instead criticised the Jubilee government’s fight on corruption and insecurity.
Cord co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka did not say anything on the subject while the third principal, Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula and his allies skipped the event even though they had been invited.
Mr Kalonzo and Mr Wetang’ula have declared their intention to run for the presidency on a Cord ticket in 2017. This has not been taken kindly by Mr Odinga’s supporters, who maintain he is more popular than the other two.
When he addressed the gathering at Nairobi’s Panafric Hotel, Mr Odinga said he did not intend to use the event to launch his presidential campaign as intimated by the media.
“You don’t even know whether I will be there in 2017,” he told journalists.
He said the website was only meant to communicate with the youth. “I am creating a platform for communication. To interact with Kenyans whom I cannot meet in person. We need ideas from the youth.
We need the experience of the aged and the diversity and vibrancy of the youth,” Mr Odinga said of the new website developed by his daughter, Winnie. Mr Musyoka, in his one-minute speech, said the time for Kenyan youth to take charge had come. “These are the people who will take Kenya forward and this site will bring that dream home.” He then excused himself and left.
Before the launch, ODM director of elections Junet Mohammed said Mr Odinga’s name would be on the ballot paper in 2017 irrespective his co-principals’ ambitions.
“Take it from me, the only way he will not be there is if the world ends or Jesus comes back before 2017,” said the Suna East MP.
“Kalonzo and Wetang’ula have also declared interest in running and I believe they are doing so in good faith. I know Cord will come up with a system of choosing a candidate,” he added.
A senior official at the ODM Secretariat who sought anonymity in order not to be seen rocking the Cord boat rubbished Mr Musyoka and Mr Wetang’ula’s ambitions.
“The plain truth is that Raila will be the Cord candidate. We would be crazy to field any other candidate. Even if there were to be a fallout in Cord, it will leave Raila as the candidate,” he declared.
Saturday Nation could not reach Mr Wetang’ula. He has, however, said the coalition would convene a forum to nominate a flagbearer and that nobody would be hand-picked.
Mr Musyoka was endorsed to run for the presidency on the Cord ticket during his Wiper Party’s convention last month.
Mr Odinga and Mr Wetang’ula did not attend the Wiper convention but Siaya Senator James Orengo was there.
Speaking yesterday, Mr Odinga accused President Kenyatta’s administration of watering down the gains in the Constitution.
He said he was “surprised and disgusted” by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi’s remarks on the gender rule.
He also accused President Kenyatta of sending mixed signals in the fight against corruption by suspending implicated officials while crippling the agency that investigates them.
Mr Odinga said he had nothing personal against Deputy President William Ruto.
“I never sent people to fix him at the International Criminal Court,” he said.