, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 22 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga was chosen as the CORD coalition flag bearer on Saturday ahead of the 2013 polls.
Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, flanked by Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetangula made the announcement at Uhuru Park during a joint rally for the new coalition.
“Raila Tosha!” Kalonzo said, after revealing to an impatient audience that he had decided to abandon his presidential aspirations for the PM, a decision he said was for the sake of peace and unity.
The VP announced that he would be Raila’s running mate in the forthcoming polls, while Wetangula was named as a member of the CORD coalition summit.
Wetang’ula said the decision to endorse PM Odinga was arrived at after lengthy negotiations.
Odinga also urged UDF leader Musalia Mudavadi to join Cord.
Raila, Kalonzo and Wetangula had earlier signed a power sharing pact at the Serena Hotel, but did not reveal its contents.
It was a day that had a lot of symbolism from 10 years ago, when the Rainbow Coalition was formed by Odinga and Kalonzo and other politicians who objected to retired President Moi’s endorsement of Uhuru Kenyatta as his preferred successor.
Odinga and the KANU rebels announced their resignation from the Cabinet at the Serena and then marched to Uhuru Park where they attended a National Alliance of Kenya rally and announced new working relations. This gave birth to the National Alliance Rainbow Coalition which went on end President Moi’s 24 year rule.
In his acceptance speech, Odinga made a comparison to the two defining events and pledged that he would not betray the trust that his partners and Kenyans have put in him.
There was pressure for CORD to keep it together after a falling out in their rival Jubilee Alliance forced the premature exit of Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi.
CORD supporters thronged Uhuru Park to hear for themselves the much expected nomination of Raila to lead the coalition.
Security was tight as Kenyans flooded the park, manned by a heavy contingent of GSU, AP and regular police at all the entrances.