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Raila now one step to Presidency

Raila now one step to Presidency
By Justus Karanja
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga welcomed his endorsement as the Presidential flag-bearer of the Azimio la Umoja political coalition which now places him just one step to the presidency that has eluded him five times.
The decision to back Raila for the top seat was announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta at the coalition’s National Delegates Conference at the KICC where over 20 affiliated parties approved Raila’s bid. The head of state later unveiled Mr. Odinga as the captain of the Azimio coalition in the forthcoming presidential elections at the famous Jacaranda grounds. 
Raila’s candidature had received a major boost after Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka of the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) announced he had shelved his presidential ambitions in favour of the ODM boss – a person he has deputised in two previous elections.
After the backing, the former Prime Minister, who will contest the country’s presidency for the fifth time, exuded confidence that he will trounce his rivals, to emerge victorious in the eagerly-awaited poll.
“It’s been a long day,” he said in an apparent reference to lengths taken to convince Kalonzo to rally behind his candidature.
“I want to thank President Uhuru Kenyatta, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, KANU’s Gideon Moi, and other party leaders who have thrown their weight behind my candidature.”
“You decided to hand over the baton to me to run in the competition (election) in August this year. I want to assure you that I will not let you down. I will take this baton with bravery. I will run and I will bring the victory home,” Raila said.
He promised to take up from where President Uhuru Kenyatta will leave if he is elected his successor. He vowed that no single project initiated by Uhuru’s administration will be allowed to come to a halt, and instead ensure their completion for the benefit of all Kenyans.
“I announced recently the beginning of the third liberation of Kenya. The first liberation brought us independence, the second liberation brought us new constitution, and the third and final liberation is for the economic revolution and it belongs to our young people,” the ODM leader charged.
Kalonzo endorsed Raila’s bid to be the 5th President of the country during a rally at Jacaranda grounds.
Kalonzo who in the weeks preceding the Azimio La Umoja NDC had insisted he would not support Raila again without a measure of reciprocation softened his heart especially after day long talks between the two at a Nairobi hotel.
Kalonzo’s party was among 21 parties that signed an agreement to join Azimio whose flag-bearer is Raila.
The two alongside President Uhuru Kenyatta would later join thousands of supporters at Jacaranda grounds after witnessing the signing at KICC.
Kalonzo was the man of the moment as he announced Azimio and OKA had joined hands and will work together ahead of the elections in August.
“I thought my brother Raila would say ‘Kalonzo tosha’ this time round, but I say ‘Raila tosha’ again with an open heart,” he said as he led Raila to the podium to address his supporters.
Kalonzo said he has confidence in Raila’s commitment to fight corruption if elected saying Kenyans must be wary of electing leaders with a tainted background.
Kalonzo’s entry into Azimio all but seals the debate on whether he would lead a third force and sets the stage for a contest between Deputy President William Ruto and Rail

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