Veteran Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga has ended months of speculation and announced that he will run for president in next August’s elections.
The 76-year-old is a popular politician despite having lost presidential races on four previous occasions – 1997, 2007, 2013 and 2017.
The most recent poll saw him run against President Uhuru Kenyatta. But the two men have since moved closer following their famous 2018 “handshake” aimed at ending divisions which have proved so deadly.
“I do hereby accept to present myself as a presidential candidate for the presidential elections of the 9th of August 2022,” the AFP news agency quotes him as telling cheering supporters at a Nairobi stadium.
“I Raila Amolo Odinga, hereby accept to present myself as a Presidential candidate at the Presidential Election on 9th of August 2022. I am not running for president to oppose anyone but to propose better policies” Raila Odinga posted on Twiter on Friday.
Mr Odinga’s main rival for the top job is likely to be the current Deputy President, William Ruto who has presented himself as being on the side of the “hustlers” against the “dynasties”. The current president -Uhuru Kenyatta will be constitutionally barred from running as he will have served two terms.
Hustlers refer to those, especially young people, who struggle to make ends meet in an economy that is said to be no longer working for them.
The word dynasties, on the other hand, is a moniker to describe wealthy families, like the Kenyattas and Odingas, who are seen to have dominated politics and the economy since independence from the UK in 1963.
Born on 7 January 1945 Raila served as the Prime Minister of Kenya from 2008 to 2013 and he is assumed as the Leader of Opposition in Kenya since 2013 as the New Constitution of Kenya does not prescribe for such a position. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Langata from 1992 to 2007.
Raila Odinga served in the Cabinet of Kenya as Minister for Energy from 2001 to 2002, and as the Minister for Roads, Public Works and Housing from 2003 to 2005. Odinga was appointed High Representative for Infrastructure Development at the African Union Commission in 2018.
He was the main opposition candidate in the 2007 presidential election, running against the then incumbent Mwai Kibaki. In the subsequent presidential election 5 years later he placed second against Uhuru Kenyatta, garnering 5,340,546 votes, which represented 43.28% of the total votes cast. He made another attempt for the presidency in August 2017 against Uhuru Kenyatta but lost.