Raila firmly in State House race

PM Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka after presenting their nomination papers to the electoral commission/VPPS

PM Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka after presenting their nomination papers to the electoral commission/VPPS

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 30 – Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) leader Raila Odinga was on Wednesday cleared to run for the presidency by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) with a pledge and call for peace during the electioneering period.

The PM who was the seventh candidate to get clearance to contest the March 4 election, was accompanied by his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka.

Odinga urged Kenyans to exercise unity and ensure mistakes of the 2007 election are not repeated.

“Kenyans have said they do not want to see a repeat of what they saw in 2007 and 2008. We have confidence that IEBC will make that difference. I want to assure you we will conduct ourselves with dignity and that we are going to be very peaceful in our campaigns,” he pledged.

He promised the IEBC that CORD will act peacefully and ensure laws are respected in the run up to the general election that is about a month away.

The Orange Democratic Movement leader was also accompanied his wife Ida, son Fidel, Ministers Franklin Bett, James Orengo, Mutula Kilonzo, Dalmas Otieno and former MPs Omingo Magara, Johnson Muthama and Cyrus Jirongo among others.

After presenting his nomination papers, Odinga hit out at his opponents accusing them of owning huge tracts of land instead of sharing them with poor Kenyans.

“Some people who are talking about reforms are sitting on huge pieces of land and do not pity these other people. If you are talking about reforms, then begin with yourself. Voluntarily relinquish part of land so that some of the people can be resettled there,” he said as he denied owning any huge pieces of land.

His rival Uhuru Kenyatta who was the first to be cleared on Wednesday morning, said it is up to the Kenyan people to make a choice of the person they want to lead them.

“Our commitment is to ensure that we have a smooth election; to ensure we have a peaceful election and that the will of the people of Kenya is what will decide the next president. We are committed to ensure this process is peaceful,” he pledged.

Kenyatta who was accompanied by his running mate, United Republican Party leader William Ruto as he presented his papers said he wanted the name appearing on his ID to appear on the ballot paper as opposed to the one on his birth certificate.

Kenyatta was accompanied by his family, NARC’s leader Charity Ngilu, outgoing MPs Beth Mugo, Najib Balala, Danson Mungatana, Amina Abdalla, Adan Duale and Rachel Shebesh among other politicians.

Earlier, Mohammed Dida of the Alliance For Real Change during his clearance appreciated the country’s freedom fighters whom he said had liberated Kenya and given ordinary Kenyans like him a chance to express their democratic rights.

Former Kabete MP Paul Muite of the Safina party will be the eighth presidential candidate to present his nomination requirements to the IEBC followed by Chris Matata Musyoka of the Democratic Union who was initially not on the IEBC list when it was released on Monday.

Presidential candidates began formally presenting their nomination papers to the IEBC on Tuesday in an exercise that paves way for official campaigns to succeed President Mwai Kibaki.

Kenyatta proceeded to Githurai, Zimmerman and Kahawa West to popularise his Jubilee alliance.

On the other hand, CORD supporters headed to Uhuru Park where Odinga was expected to launch his presidential campaign after presenting his papers to the electoral commission.

JUDIE KABERIA

JUDIE KABERIA

Judie, a Special Projects Reporter started practicing journalism in 2003. She has worked in Kenya and Germany. Judie has scooped awards in Reproductive Health, Population, Gender and Development. She has participated in international conferences in Germany, Switzerland and Netherlands. Judie has written a booklet, 'Justice and Peace in the Kenyan Eye'. She has a soft spot for human rights, crime, peace and justice stories and she is now pursuing a Master's Degree at the University of Leicester (U.K).

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