If Azimio has to make an impact in 2027 Raila has to be the flagbearer – Muthama
Former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama says only Azimio leader Raila Odinga has the potential to effectively challenge President William Ruto in the 2027 elections.
Muthama, in a recent interview, opined that none of the Azimio co-principals possess the charisma and political strength that can match that of the long-serving opposition leader.
Despite acknowledging Raila's substantial support in various parts of the country, the seasoned politician noted that Ruto would still beat the former prime minister in the 2027 polls.
"The leadership of Raila Odinga, the charisma, personality, and the way he articulates issues to Kenyans—nobody will pick from Raila and walk with it," Muthama stated.
"In 2027, if Azimio has to make an impact, not win, Raila has to be their candidate. Anybody else will be a walkover; we will win early in the morning," he added.
— Johnson Muthama (@nduyamuthama) November 20, 2023
Muthama, who supported Raila's presidential bid in 2017, suggested that Raila has retained his support base in many of his strongholds.
The former senator is the founding chairperon of President Ruto's United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party.
He defected to Ruto's camp from Kalonzo Musyoka's Wiper party in June 2020.
Kalonzo went on to team up with Raila to challenge Ruto's presidential bid in the 2022 elections.
Raila, however, lost to the Kenya Kwanza Alliance leader in his fifth stab at the country's top seat.
There have been claims that the Azimio leader is grooming Kalonzo ahead of the 2027 polls. The rumours surfaced after the 78-year-old heaped praise on Kalonzo in Siaya in October.
However, in a subsequent statement, the opposition supremo denied endorsing the Wiper boss for the country's top job.
Raila explained that his praises for Kalonzo should not be interpreted as endorsement. He clarified that the praises were an appreciation for his political backing in three subsequent elections and an appreciation of his past deeds that are in public domain.
“Odinga, therefore, clarifies that his praise for H.E. Kalonzo Musyoka for standing with him in three successive elections, the Wiper leader’s strong Christian values and the support Mr. Musyoka has built across the country was not an endorsement of Mr. Musyoka as the Azimio presidential candidate in 2027,” Raila said, adding that it was too early for any political party to name its presidential candidate as the election was four years away.
Raila appeared to endorse Kalonzo after President Ruto named the Wiper leader as his potential challenger during his trip to Raila's Nyanza backyard. Ruto indicated that Kalonzo would not pose a significant challenge to his re-election bid.
“Among us here, someone will vie for the presidency. We will stand with our brother Kalonzo Musyoka, he is trustworthy,” Raila said during his brother Oburu Odinga's 80th birthday celebrations on October 15.
Other notable Azimio principals include Narc Kenya's Martha Karua, Gideon Moi (KANU) and Charity Ngilu of Narc.