- Mount Youth Kenya Caucus says if Central will not support Raila they might be left in the opposition.
- Chairman Linford Mutembei says Raila has shown statesmanship and supported Uhuru's development agenda.
Mount Kenya residents have been urged to be ready for ODM leader Raila Odinga's presidency should he consider running next year.
Mount Youth Kenya Caucus on Saturday said leaders minding the future of the region should start negotiating with Raila to be part of the next government, failing which the region could end up in the opposition. The group has been supportive of President Uhuru Kenyatta's handshake with Raila and his development agenda.
“Raila has not said whether he will seek the presidency, but Mt Kenya voters should embrace and support him should he choose to," chairman Linford Mutembei said in a statement.
"By helping Uhuru unite the county—creating a good opportunity and environment for implementation of the Big Four Agenda and the fight against corruption—he has shown he has the interest of the country at heart.
"The region must start discussing with him to ensure they are part of the next administration, or we will find ourselves in the opposition.”
He said that although the President has not declared his preferred successor, he has demonstrated confidence in Raila, and since the handshake, his administration has implemented massive projects.
“Raila has demonstrated that he is a true statesman. Though he is still the opposition leader, he has partnered with Uhuru to unite and transform the country," Mutembei said.
"Raila has demonstrated that with him, the country will be in good hands and there will be continuity of Uhuru’s agenda.”
In an apparent reference to Deputy President William Ruto, he added: "It has also been demonstrated who is antagonising the government and coming up with retrogressive ideas for political expediency.
Last week, ODM national chairman John Mbadi was quoted as saying although Raila never submitted his application for the party’s presidential ticket, he will be on the ballot come next year's polls.
Speaking during his tour of Kisumu recently where he broke the Madaraka Day protocol to allow Raila to speak after Ruto, Uhuru vowed to work with the ODM leader into the future.
Last year, Jubilee Party vice chairman David Murathe, whose remarks mostly mirror the President’s political thinking and who has been part of a team shaping Uhuru’s succession politics by cobbling up alliances, indicated that he would vote for Raila as a one-term transitional leader.
Previously, Raila, who competed against Uhuru in bruising competitions in 2013 and 2017, faced hostility in the Mt Kenya region where the electorate would even stone his caravans.
But since the handshake, his fortunes have been changing, a situation Mutembei said boosts the former prime minister's bid. Until recently, the region appeared locked in favour of Ruto.