, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 8 – ODM leader Raila Odinga has rejected the request by elders and Members of Parliament to vie for the Homa Bay senatorial seat.
Odinga said he had decided to make the hasty announcement given the short period given by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for parties to nominate candidates.
“The task of sustaining the momentum of change in the party and guiding the new leadership requires full attention of the party leader and the entire team. I will therefore, have to let down the elders of Homa Bay and the MPs who showed faith in me for the Senate seat,” Odinga said in Nairobi on Monday.
“The offer by the people of Homa Bay was a show of my leadership ability.”
He said he will instead focus his energies on the presidency which has been his ultimate goal all along.
“Please allow me to concentrate, on your behalf, on creating a party machine and a CORD coalition partnership that can keep the government in check and advocate and promote the provision of services to the Kenyan people and that can eventually take over power in two years time,” the Opposition leader stated.
He pointed out that “this will allow me to focus on the big picture for our party, coalition and country. This offer has come at a time we have embarked on revamping our party with eyes on keeping government adequately in check and on the next General Election.”
Odinga spoke in the company of Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero with whom he said he enjoys a cordial relationship.
“There is no difference between Raila and Kidero; we work to complement each other,” he stated while asking him to affirm that to the media.
“The message will be accepted with difficulty by quite a number of people. We were expecting his joining the Senate will add a lot of value in pushing for devolution interests,” Kidero stated. “We reluctantly accept his decision.”
Odinga was also accompanied by newly elected party officials led by the National Chairman John Mbadi.
He said in the meantime, the party executives should focus on identifying a suitable candidate to carry the party’s flag in the February 2015 election.
“We need a process that is inclusive, peaceful and respectful of the ideals and stature of the late Kajwang’, in line with constitution of our party,” he said.
Among those who’ve declared interest in the seat are the late Senator’s brother Moses Kajwang’.
Others are former NSSF Managing Trustee Fred Rabongo, Caroli Omondi, Silas Jakakimba and Philip Okundi.
Odinga further accused the ruling Jubilee coalition of plans to disrupt ODM through ‘poaching’ of its members following the nomination of ODM’s Joseph Nkaissery as a Cabinet Secretary.
He said the party intends to take unspecified action since it was not consulted. “We are very annoyed as a party.”