President Kenyatta gives clearest indication he will back Raila Odinga in 2022

President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks during the elevation of Nakuru municipality to city status on December 1, 2021. PHOTO / PSCU

  • President Kenyatta said next year’s State House succession race was a marathon, and not a sprint, scoffing at early campaigns.
  • President Kenyatta said age was a non-issue while rooting for peace and national unity as critical ingredients in determining the 5th head of state.
  • The president used the elevation of Nakuru municipality to city status to delve into the raging presidential campaigns.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has cautioned Kenyans against those seeking to succeed him next year on a platform of youthful leadership and promises of mega economic revolution.

In subtle jabs directed at his deputy William Ruto, President Kenyatta said next year’s State House succession race was a marathon, and not a sprint, scoffing at early campaigns that have raised political temperatures.

In what could be seen as a soft endorsement of ODM leader Raila Odinga’s presidential bid, President Kenyatta said age was a non-issue while rooting for peace and national unity as critical ingredients in determining the 5th head of state.

With just 250 days to the State House succession contest, the president used the elevation of Nakuru municipality to city status to delve into the raging presidential campaigns; the youthful vs elderly discourse in the succession race coming up.

“Mkikuja muambiwe huyu ni mzee hafai, ati tunataka kijana, sijui huyu ako namna hii ama namna ile, mtu anachagua kwa ubongo, uongozi uko kwa akili,” he said.

Kenyatta seemingly directing his salvos at DP Ruto, who has fashioned his State House bid as anchored on the young electorate and the small scale traders while characterising ODM chief Raila Odinga as old and past his sell by date politically.

“Uongozi sio mpira ya kuchezwa kwa kiwanja…uongozi sio sprint, ni marathon…wewe utakimbia hapa by the time ukifika pale mbele pumzi imeisha, lakini mzee amekanyanga pole pole akuje akupite bado ukiwa kwa barabara,” said the president.

DP Ruto has been on the campaign trail, riding on the Jubilee administration’s successes, and describing himself as the best candidate to take over from Kenyatta; with the president often accusing his deputy of impatience.

“Tutakuja kuongea siasa muda wake ukifika, lakini vijana, kwa heshima, fikirieni na msikimbie…msikuje na speedspeed inaangusha…afadhali polepole na ufike pahali ambapo ulikuwa unaenda,” said President Kenyatta.

The president’s March 2018 handshake with his then political nemesis sparked a standoff in the Jubilee household, with Ruto claiming he had been rendered an outsider in a government he helped to craft in 2017.

“Mimi wengine wananilaumu ati nilienda kutafuta ndugu yangu Raila ati tuongee, nataka niwaambie wakati tulikuwa na vurugu katika nchi hii, taifa letu limepoteza zaidi ya Ksh.1 trillion kwa sababu ya watu kutoroka…mtu hawezi kuweka pesa mahali ambapo vurugu,” said Kenyatta.

Odinga is next week scheduled to formally declare his decision to plunge into the State House race for a fifth time.

With President Kenyatta seemingly backing Odinga’s bid, Ruto and his allies have labelled the ODM chief a State project, a tag he has dismissed.

“Reggae is on halftime, it will come back, mpira itaendelea. I am inviting people to come to Nairobi on the 10th of this month where we shall be talking about Azimio la Umoja ya watu wa Kenya,” said Raila.