Kenyan opposition selects Odinga to run against president

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A coalition of opposition parties in Kenya has selected former prime minister Raila Odinga to run for president in August’s polls.

The announcement on Thursday sets up a rematch between Odinga and incumbent president, Uhuru Kenyatta, who faced each other in 2013’s presidential election. The three-time presidential candidate has a history of narrowly missing out on contested election results – including the 2007-08 polls that ended in deadly violence.

 

Odinga campaigns again

Senior members of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition announced on Thursday at Uhuru Park in Nairobi that Odinga would run once again for president. This will be the second time Odinga, who is now 72-years-old will face Uhuru Kenyatta, after he narrowly lost out to the acting president in 2013.

Odinga contested the result, alleging there were irregularities in the counting of votes, but Kenya’s Supreme Court rejected the challenge and declared Kenyatta the winner.

The former prime minister also ran in the previous 2007-08 elections, in which violence claimed more than 1,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands. His loss was widely contested, sparking ethnically charged violence across the country. President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto were later charged by the International Criminal Court for allegedly instigating mobs that went on to kill civilians. However, the charges were dropped last year with prosecutors claiming witnesses had been intimidated, compromising their ability to give evidence.

 

Odinga pushing for change

At the age of 72, this is expected to be Odinga’s final run as a presidential candidate. However, the veteran politician welcomed his selection has the coalition’s primary candidate and vowed to defeat the ruling Jubilee party.

“I’m honoured to have been bestowed with the responsibility of wearing the captain’s armband in this election,” he said on Thursday to a crowd tens of thousands strong.

“We will score against Jubilee. We are sure we will win,” he said.

 

Featured image: By World Economic Forum from Cologny, Switzerland – Accelerating Infrastructure Development: Raila Amolo Odinga, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24152996

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.