Nairobi — President William Ruto has asked Azimio Leader Raila Odinga, who was once a close ally but has turned into a rival, to reciprocate the support he received in 2007 by endorsing his re-election bid in 2027.
President Ruto, while expressing confidence that no one would pose a significant challenge to his incumbency, challenged Odinga to display gentlemanly conduct by returning the favor.
“I was a Baba ardent supporter and me and others came together and we supported him but unfortunately we never got the presidency. I have voted for Baba and I am calling on him to support me in 2027,” President Ruto told residents of Homa Bay while on a tour of the region.
In 2007, President Ruto was a member of a political coalition within the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party known as “The Pentagon,” which played a pivotal role in supporting Raila’s presidential campaign.
However, Raila faced defeat in the fiercely contested election, which subsequently triggered Kenya’s deadliest post-election violence, resulting in the tragic loss of thousands of lives, the displacement of many, and extensive property damage.
Subsequent discussions aimed at restoring stability led to Raila and the late former President Mwai Kibaki brokering a truce.
This resulted in a power-sharing agreement reached in February 2008, with Raila assuming the position of Prime Minister. President Ruto takes pride in this role Raila acquired.
Despite acknowledging that Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka would be his main contender in the 2027 elections, President Ruto downplayed the level of threat posed by the former Vice President.
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President Ruto expressed confidence that Musyoka who has unsuccessfully vied with Raila as his running mate in the 2013 and 2017 elections would not pose a substantial challenge to his incumbency.
“If Raila will not be running my competitor will be Kalonzo, but really will he manage to mount a serious challenge? President Ruto asked the Homa Bay residents.
Even though Raila, aged 78, has experienced five unsuccessful presidential bids, including the recent 2022 election where he narrowly lost to President Ruto, he has not indicated publicly when he plans to retire from active politics.
In 2027, when Kenya is scheduled to hold its next General Election, Raila will be 82 years old, a factor that does not bode well for the possibility of him running for the presidency again.
Raila however has since dismissed his critics asserting that he is not too old to attempt his sixth bid on the evasive presidency that President Ruto appears confident will be a smooth sail for him.
Kalonzo has not yet officially announced his candidacy for the 2027 presidential election, but his lieutenants are urging him to make his intentions clear.