ODM leader Raila Odinga’s prospects in Mt. Kenya received a major boost Tuesday after an elite caucus from the region declared willingness to rally behind his Presidential bid.
The conclave representing important segments from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s political backyard including professionals, the business community, women, and youth groups said it was open to the idea of Raila succeeding their son when his tenure comes to an end.
During a meeting held at Nairobi’s Safari Park Hotel, the Mt. Kenya Foundation under the stewardship of renowned businessman and entrepreneur Peter Munga noted that it was keen to have someone who will cement President Kenyatta’s legacy while taking care of the interests of the region; whose population makes it’s the country’s biggest vote basket.
“Mt. Kenya is looking for two things. One, who will complete the projects of President Uhuru Kenyatta and two, guarantee their businesses,” the Foundation’s Vice Chair Titus Ibui said
Munga made it clear that the group was eager to see the former Prime Minister occupy State House.
“These people are going to make observations and most likely make you know what their expectations would be when you occupy plot number 1 near Caledonia,” Munga said
They expressed satisfaction that Raila had started a charm offensive, sharing his vision for the region that was initially viewed as being hostile to the ODM leader.
“The manner of your entry was like when Jesus entered Jerusalem. This is the way you did in entering that land of milk and honey – the Mt Kenya region.” Munga said
They said the number of people who turned out to listen to Raila when he made several stopovers in the region was an indication that Mt Kenya was ready to embrace the opposition leader.
“We thought the mountain was going a separate direction but we saw what happened yesterday. At Githurai that was a culmination bigger than anywhere else.” Ibui said
He added that “we are very happy and that entry you made over the weekend has given us confidence even to be here with you today and share a meal with you and we bond.”
Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemiah said the group will henceforth embark on a journey to present Raila to the people of Mt Kenya as he is. He noted that previously, the ODM leader was painted in bad light purely on political grounds and that this was going to change.
“We must change the narrative. In the past, our interest was to malign him politically. We have even called in names. But we want to be honest and go back to our people and tell them this was just politics, but we overdid some things and tainted his name,” Kimemia told the gathering.
“We need to tell each other the truth, and then forgive each other for the past mistakes so as to build a new nation,” He added
With this expression of support from Mt Kenya elite group, Raila appeared to exude confidence that finally, he might capture the country’s topmost political seat.
“I have been to the Mountain top. I have been to Lenana point. I have seen the glory land and I am convinced that together we can get there.” The ODM leader said
He said he agreed to bury his political differences with President Uhuru Kenyatta so as to help “bring this country to where it started and unite the people of this country.”
“If you stand this side and I stand this side, we can shake hands, and we can bring Kenya back, the Kenya that our founding fathers wanted. That’s the meaning of the handshake.” He said
The Former Prime Minister vowed to take the country back to where the founding fathers had a dreamt in what he dubbed the ‘Kenyan dream’ which is found in the first stanza national anthem;-
O God of all creation, Bless this our land and nation. Justice be our shield and defender, May we dwell in unity, peace, and liberty. Plenty be found within our borders.
“That’s what is important, plenty be found, that plenty was not going to drop like manna from heaven but from the sweat of our people. That land is Canaan, and that is what our founding fathers wanted.” He charged
And he assured the Mt Kenya region and Kenya at large that he knows exactly what to do to transform the country’s fortunes.
“There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. We know very clearly where we want to go. We have a clear roadmap to get there. But we cannot get there with the level of corruption we have today in this country.” He said
After Tuesday’s meeting, Raila is expected to meet elected leaders from the region including Members of Parliament (MPs and Senators), as well as Governors from the region. The meetings will be organized by the Mt Kenya Foundation.
Already, the ODM leader has held a meeting with a caucus from Meru, Embu, Tharaka Nithi counties where he shared his vision.