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ODM leader Raila Odinga/CFM-FILE.

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Jitters over handshake fate as Raila misses Kamukunji Declaration rally

The hurriedly planned rally had been seen as the ODM’s leader’s chance to address a 24-hour disquiet among his loyalists, who accuse unnamed powerful civil servants of hijacking his March 2018 handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta which birthed the clamor for a constitutional amendment.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 7 – Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga failed to attend a highly publicized rally at Kibra’s Kamukunji grounds on Sunday to the disappointment of his supporters.

The hurriedly planned rally had been seen as the ODM’s leader’s chance to address a 24-hour disquiet among his loyalists, who accuse unnamed powerful civil servants of hijacking his March 2018 handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta which birthed the clamor for a constitutional amendment.

It is Siaya Senator James Orengo who initiated the discussion that gained prominence almost immediately to become a national debate.

Orengo claimed a cabal of civil servants were plotting on who will succeed the President and were actively scheming to take over the constitutional review process under the Building Bridges Initiative.

“Nobody can attempt to bring down the initiative that has brought peace and stability in this country and what will form a firm foundation four our future generations,” Orengo had said on Saturday.

Odinga’s Spokesman Dennis Onyango later dismissed a press invitation by the ODM Spokesperson Phillip Etale to Kamukunji, saying his boss had “planned to spend his Sunday indoors.”

There were heightened expectations among supporters that the ODM Leader will either dispel the growing fears that the ‘handshake’ is under siege or offer a political direction.

The rally which ended in an anti-climax was attended by a section of politicians led by ODM Chairperson in Nairobi George Aladwa- who dwelt much on Odinga’s candidacy in the 2022 presidential elections.

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“Our party leader will be the one flying the presidential flag for our party next year,” he said.

The Orange Party has called for applications for the presidential ticket with Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and Kakamega’s Wycliffe Opranya, the party’s co-deputy leaders, having expressed interest.

Both have recently suffered political setbacks after ODM candidates in Mswambweni and Matungu lost to their competitors in parliamentary by-elections.

Politicians allied to Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto hinted on a possible re-union, if the former Prime Minister is ‘betrayed.’

While Odinga chose to spend his Sunday indoors, the Deputy President pitched camp in Meru County, as he sought to solidify his support ahead of next year’s presidential elections.

Ruto attended the installation ceremony of Kaaga Synod Bishop Reverend Nicholas Mutwiri Nteere at the Methodist Church of Kenya Kaaga Church in Imenti North.

While the Deputy President steered clear of politics, his allies from the county pledged to honour a verbal promise made by President Uhuru Kenyatta to support his presidential ambitions.

Those who accompanied the Deputy President included Meru Senator Mithika Linturi and the host legislator Rahim Dawood.

“If God is in your side, nothing can stop you,” MP Dawood said.

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The leaders held roadside rallies in various parts of Meru County.

The Deputy President was also in Meru on Saturday, where he launched various youth empowerment projects.

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