The certainty that ODM leader Raila Odinga has secured Uhuru’s 2022 support may have compelled governors Hassan Joho and Wycliffe Oparanya to abandon their presidential bids.

With Raila viewed as a key cog in Uhuru’s succession plan, there is a larger political plan in the works to unite all pro-BBI forces under one umbrella to face off against  Deputy President William Ruto in the general election next year.

The two ODM deputy party leaders, Joho and Oparanya, had declared their intention to run for president, but a growing belief that Raila could have received Uhuru’s endorsement has shaken their plans.

The two second-term governors have stated that they will support Raila for president next year because they believe he has the best chance of breaking ODM’s long drought in the quest for state power.

There were concerns that Oparanya and Joho’s presidential bids would have shook up the Coast and Western Kenya, Raila’s most dependable support bases, undermining the ODM leader’s chances in 2022.

Oparanya’s association with Ruto had jolted Raila’s camp in recent weeks.
From Raila,Oparanya and Joho in their last meeting.

However, the governor told the Star on Tuesday that if Raila is on the ballot, he will abandon his 2022 plans.

“If Raila decides to run for president, I will not oppose him,” Oparanya declared, indicating his intention to withdraw from the presidential race. He insisted, however, that as of now, it was only he and Joho who had filed nomination papers for the ODM presidential ticket in 2022.

Raila did not submit his papers to the ODM National Elections Board, which his think tanks interpreted as a strategic decision. “I have been working closely with Raila since 2005, when I joined the party. “I will consult with him on which position I will run for if he runs for president,” Oparanya said.

The Kakamega governor has previously asked Raila to step down for him, claiming that the ODM leader owes him a debt of gratitude by supporting his presidential bid in 2022.

The ODM deputy party leader’s change of heart signals a retreat from his previously strong position to run for president next year.

Joho told a local paper weeks ago that he does not want to be the one who undermines Raila’s mission “when he has secured the support of Uhuru,” and vowed to participate in “serious handshake action.” “I’ve had numerous discussions with the former PM, and I am convinced that the vision and dream that we have pursued unsuccessfully for many years is just around the corner,” Joho was quoted as saying.

“His brother, the President, shares that belief very strongly,” he added. “I’ve had numerous discussions with the former PM, and I am convinced that the vision and dream that we have pursued unsuccessfully for many years is just around the corner,” Joho was quoted as saying.

“His brother, the President, shares that belief very strongly,” he added. Inside254.com has learned that Uhuru’s political advisers are determined to ensure that the One Kenya alliance works with Raila to defeat Ruto in 2022.

The OKA of Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Gideon Moi (Kanu), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), and Moses Wetangula of Ford Kenya is thought to be part of the plot to derail Ruto.

However, there are growing concerns within the alliance about reports that some partners are cozying up to their 2022 rivals, including Raila.

Moi has had meetings with Raila, including one in April at his Karen home and another on May 31 at the ODM boss’s Riat home in Kisumu.

The President’s strategists are said to have now enlisted the help of Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria, and Joho and Oparanya.

The team, which has been holding secret strategy meetings, is said to be pushing for a Raila presidency, which President Uhuru is said to have agreed to.

Former Cabinet Minister Musa Sirma, who previously worked with Raila in the ODM, hinted on Wednesday that the One Kenya Alliance will finally work with Raila as a single political force.

The ex-Eldama Ravine MP told the Star that Oparanya and Joho’s decision not to run for president next year was part of a larger plan to establish a massive movement.

“Oparanya and Joho are a force, and they cannot be written off. “However, the need to consolidate Raila’s camp by preventing disintegration was critical in them abandoning their ambitions,” Sirma explained.

Ruto would march to State House as the country’s fifth president next year, according to the former MP, unless One Kenya Alliance joins forces with Raila.

“Raila, with the support of One Kenya Alliance and the President, would be a sure bet to absolutely vanquish Ruto,” he added, adding that in a three-horse race, Ruto would win.

A prominent Moi ally, Kanu secretary general Nick Salat, hinted to a prospective partnership with Raila yesterday, saying that the larger the team, the better the chance of success in 2022.

“We don’t want a one-man show,” said the group. If we are to win in 2022, we need a larger squad that incorporates everyone,” Salat told the Star over the phone.

The former Sotik MP, on the other hand, expressed hope that the Building Bridges Initiative process will be completed soon so that its ideas for a larger Executive can be implemented.

“We haven’t given up on BBI because an all-inclusive government will fix the leadership issues,” he said.

Raila’s loss of Joho and Oparanya, according to former Cabinet Minister Franklin Bett, would be a political blunder.

“Joho, like Oparanya in Western Kenya, has done a fantastic job as Raila’s point man on the coast. Raila will have a hard time if they form a different coalition,” Bett said.

In order to cope with Ruto, the ex-ODM elections board chairperson believes OKA would be forced into a working relationship with Raila.

“One Kenya was established to obstruct Ruto. Raila is also present to keep Ruto at bay. The two (Raila and Oka) then share the same purpose, which forces them to unite,” Bett explained.

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