Kenya: Ex-president Kenyatta’s Jubilee party backs Raila for top seat in 2027 election

By Victor Abuso
Posted on Tuesday, 20 December 2022 11:34

Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga, of the Azimio La Umoja (Declaration of Unity) One Kenya Alliance, salutes his supporters at a public rally to protest the government's "hounding" of four election commissioners, at the Kamukunji grounds in Nairobi, Kenya December 7, 2022. REUTERS

Senior political leaders from former President Uhuru Kenyatta's Jubilee party, a major affiliate of the Azimio la Umoja coalition, says veteran politician Raila Odinga remains their preferred candidate for Kenya's 2027 elections.

David Murathe (the Jubilee party vice-chairman) and Jeremiah Kioni (the party secretary-general) say Odinga, who has unsuccessfully contested for the presidency five times, remains the right person to represent the coalition, unless he decides otherwise.

“If he decides to run, I will support him, but if he throws his weight behind another person, we will all follow,” says Murathe.

Meanwhile, Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), through its secretary general, Edwin Sifuna, has criticised the Jubilee party. According to him, Jubilee overpromised, but under-delivered votes for Odinga from the voter-rich Mount Kenya region in the August 2022 polls.

The sentiments come just weeks after legislators from Jubilee threatened to quit the Azimio coalition over allegations that they were being treated unfairly, after they were denied key positions in the parliamentary leadership.

Odinga, who continues to dispute the 2022 election results that were announced by Wafula Chebukati (the chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission) has not indicated if he will have a sixth stab at the top seat.

However, Odinga’s close ally, Siaya Governor James Orengo, says the veteran politician can still be president and supporters should remain united.

“I can tell you that if it is God’s will that Raila is to become the president of the Republic of Kenya, then that cannot be taken away. Let us keep the faith,” Orengo says.

If Odinga decides to vie again in 2027, he will be 82 years old.

Battle for succession looming?

The revelation is likely to cause internal wrangles in the opposition coalition as key leaders of party affiliates indicate their  political ambitions to run for the presidency on the coalition’s ticket.

Among them is Kalonzo Musyoka, leader of Wiper Party, who was Odinga’s deputy during the 2013 and 2017 polls. Ahead of the August polls, the former vice president said: “I should succeed Raila in 2027.”

Last week, Eugene Wamalwa, the Democratic Action Party of Kenya (DAP-K), which is also affiliated to the Azimio la Umoja coalition, said: “I am coming for that seat in 2027.” 

ODM deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya, who has already stated that he will not support his boss (Odinga) again, is also being fronted for the top seat.

Kevin Ochol, a political analyst based in Nairobi, tells The Africa Report that sentiments within the Jubilee party may split the coalition if not carefully dealt with.

He further opines that after Kenyatta retired, the “Jubilee party is seeking political relevance through Odinga”, who still enjoys support across the country.

Understand Africa's tomorrow... today

We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.

View subscription options