Mother of all battles as Raila faces Ruto

ByJames Wafula in Nairobi.

Those who saw the heavy motorcade complete with chase cars and security detail snake its way from All Saints church to the Bomas of Kenya, might have been excused to assume it was President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The visible show of power through the motorcade could easily contrast with Uganda’s Peoples Congress (UPC) President Dr. Apollo Milton Obote during the 1980 election campaigns. Obote had a heavily guarded motorcade that included chase cars and mounted anti-aircraft guns even before he became President. His rivals bitterly complained that Obote was behaving like he was already President..

This same remark was made as crowds watched on giant TV screens Raila’s motorcade glide through Nairobi streets already cleared of traffic and plain clothes security racing to clear the crowds.

Ruto who is the country’s number two had no such motorcade, chase cars and security detail. This seems to leave little doubt as to who enjoys state support. For the  fifth time in a row Odinga has been cleared by the IEBC to run for the August 9, 2022 Presidential elections.

Odinga was cleared a day after his main challenger Deputy President William Ruto was also cleared setting the stage for one of the most bruising political battles witnessed in Kenya since return of multi-party politics in 1992.

Odinga, 78, calmly filled out papers and tabled documents accompanied by his runningmate MS Martha Wangare Karua to IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati the man who oversaw the 2017 election whose rsults were overturned by the Supreme Court.

Unlike five years before when he discredited IEBC for being biased and helping rig the outcome, this time Odinga expressed confidence in the election body saying it was up to the task of holding a free, fair, and verifiable election.

Dr. Ruto, 57, the Kenya Kwanza Presidential flag bearer also expressed similar sentiments in his all male cast of runningmate Mathira MP Nderitu Gachagau something commentators say could cost him huge support from gender sensitive voters.

A confident Raila spoke of his “vast experience in politics traversing four decades” and went on to enumerate some issues IEBC was asked to address to ensure the poll is transparent and democratic and credible.

Odinga, who was detained by Moi for eight years over allegations of involvement in the August 1 1982 airforce coup attempt that was crashed by loyal government troops, stands his best chance at power this time round.

He is enjoying the rare support of his twice bitter foe in 2013-2017, of President Uhuru Kenyatta who has endorsed him as his “heir apparent” shunting aside his deputy of 10 years.

Uhuru has roundly accused Ruto of undermining his government, sabotaging projects that stall but take credit for whatever that takes off! Uhuru has made it clear he will not hand over power to a “thief”!

The sentiments have been repeatedly echoed by veteran trade unionist COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli who claimed that if Ruto became president he would transfer the central bank to his native Sugoi village ranch ■

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