there is a growing behind-the-scenes effort within the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) to promote Raila Odinga as a potential candidate in the 2027 presidential elections, despite his previous unsuccessful attempts. This initiative comes as the Wiper party, led by former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, a coalition partner of Azimio, expresses its focus on Kalonzo’s own candidacy in the same election.
Martha Karua, who was Mr. Odinga’s running mate in the last election, has established a movement called Kamwene within the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition. While it is presented as championing the interests of the Mt Kenya region, it is widely seen as her covert political vehicle geared towards the 2027 elections.
Although Raila Odinga has publicly stated that he is not currently interested in running for president and is primarily focused on addressing the administration of President William Ruto, insiders suggest that some members of his ODM party are urging him not to abandon his ambition to become the country’s leader.
Some of these allies believe that President Ruto’s economic policies have been detrimental to his presidency, and they see an opportunity for Odinga to capitalize on this discontent. However, it is worth noting that many of those advocating for his candidacy may be primarily motivated by their own political interests and not necessarily by genuine support for Odinga.
There are concerns within the ODM party that Odinga’s decision not to contest the 2027 elections could have negative repercussions in terms of the party’s financial resources, the attractiveness of its candidates, and its political leverage.
Nevertheless, Paul Mwangi, a strategist and lawyer for Odinga, has dismissed the speculation as an “extraneous agenda” aimed at undermining their coalition. He emphasized that their focus remains on addressing the current national crisis and not getting distracted by external pressures.
Political analyst Dismas Mokua argues that Odinga’s potential candidacy is a strategic move by some of his ODM allies, particularly those from his Luo Nyanza stronghold, who hope to leverage his influence to secure their own political positions. He suggests that Odinga’s support in this region is significant, and aligning with him improves the chances of winning electoral seats.
Mokua also believes that Odinga must continue running for office to maintain his relevance in Kenyan politics. Some ODM leaders may be pushing for his candidacy as a means of protecting their own political careers rather than with the expectation of Odinga winning the presidency.
ODM National Chairman John Mbadi emphasizes that Odinga’s decision to run in 2027 ultimately rests with him and the Kenyan people. He notes that the country’s constitution does not impose term limits, and as long as Odinga is healthy and willing, he has the right to run.
Timothy Bosire, ODM National Treasurer, insists that Odinga’s candidacy is non-negotiable and that his age should not be a determining factor. He argues that Odinga is strong, healthy, and has substantial support within the opposition.
Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi dismisses the discussions about the 2027 elections as premature, emphasizing their focus on building a strong national movement to address the current challenges facing Kenya.