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Raila paints picture of life in ‘Canaan’ at city rally

Opposition flag-bearer Raila Odinga was cleared Sunday to run for president in the August 8 General Election.

Also cleared were Thirdway Alliance Kenya candidate Ekuru Aukot and Mr Mohamed Abduba Dida of the Alliance for Real Change Kenya.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is seeking re-election, is expected to appear before the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to seek clearance tomorrow.

On receiving his certificate, Mr Odinga tried to rekindle the enthusiasm of another epic election battle — the Narc election in 2002, during which the joint opposition defeated Mr Kenyatta and retired President Mwai Kibaki became the Head of State.

Speaking at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Mr Odinga said: “This election, we are definitely better than 2002. The 2002 one was a cyclone. This one of 2017 is a tsunami.”

In 2002, the opposition rode on the desire for change against Kanu, which had been in power for more than two decades.

10 MILLION VOTES

Mr Odinga argued that this year his team is better off than in 2013, when former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka of Wiper was also his running mate, because this time Mr Musalia Mudavadi is with Nasa.

In 2013 he ran on an Amani National Congress ticket and garnered 483,981 against Mr Odinga’s 5,340,546. Mr Kenyatta won with 6,174,433.

Nasa defended its claim that it could reach as many as 10 million of the 19 million registered voters. Coalition leaders said the estimate is based on their experience in politics.

“We say 10 million-plus because we have counted the number of voters we know we will get,” Mr Musyoka said of the claim.

“When we say 10 million, it is because we know this country. We know it, okay?

“It is not the first time Raila is running. It is not the first time I am running. And we have studied our country and know it… and it is 10-million-strong for Nasa,” Mr Musyoka said.

PRAYER SESSION

Mr Odinga was also accompanied by his wife Ida, Nasa co-principals Mr Mudavadi, Bomet Governor and Chama Cha Mashinani leader Isaac Ruto, and Ford-Kenya leader and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula.

Before proceeding to KICC, the Nasa leaders attended a church service at the All Saints Cathedral, where the provost said the creation of Nasa represented a pattern of killing political parties and birthing new ones.

“Could Nasa promise to last longer, at least?” It was a rhetoric question, and the congregation laughed.

“There is a lot of splitting and splitting, because everyone wants to be a leader. Sometimes you sit and wonder if this is Kenya. I hope Nasa will still be there in 2022.”

ODINGA’S MOTORCADE

Mr Odinga arrived at KICC with a 20-car motorcade at 11.15am, the exact time he was scheduled to arrive, accompanied by the co-principals, with an advance entourage led by ODM Secretary-General Agnes Zani, Siaya senator James Orengo, and his Kisumu counterpart Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o having already arrived to check things out.

He went through his papers with the IEBC team for an hour and five minutes past his scheduled 11.15-12.15pm window.

Hundreds of supporters braved an afternoon shower, occasionally shouting “Baba!”

A bigger crowd was waiting outside City Hall, where governor Evans Kidero hosted them to tea and provided a place for a change of clothes before the leaders headed to Donholm.

At Jacaranda Grounds in Embakasi, the Nasa leaders said they had declared “war’ on what they called an unequal Kenyan society and asked Kenyans for their vote.

The leaders criticised the ruling Jubilee government for “behaving like pests” as Kenyans suffer.

“The war has begun. The salvation has begun,” said Mr Odinga to the crowd gathered at the muddy grounds, braving a drizzle.

COST OF LIVING

He promised to lower the cost of living in 90 days, targeting prices of food and rent.

He did not specify whether Nasa will impose price controls but he argued there are sufficient laws to ensure the government guides traders to stay within acceptable limits.

He also did not explain how the government would lower rents, governed by a free housing market with high costs of land, expensive construction materials and a serious shortage of housing.

His running mate had thrown the first punch at the ruling party, accusing the Deputy President William Ruto of inaccuracies about the opposition’s ability to defend the presidency.

“Today, I want to respond to his claims that my backyard is in Jubilee. He is a liar,” Mr Musyoka said.

“In fact, he is the reason Uhuru will be sent home in August.”

LIFE IN CANAAN

Mr Odinga, an unsuccessful three-time presidential contender who has compared himself to the Biblical Joshua, said he would deliver Kenyans to a “Canaan” with no discrimination.

“Canaan is a fertile country. It has many resources. It is rich with opportunities for everyone. It is where everyone has their right.

“Children will get education, the sick will get health care, and there will be sufficient security for everyone.”

The five leaders argued the ruling government had forgotten about ordinary Kenyans.

“They have made us not to afford, even porridge,” Governor Ruto, who joined the alliance last month, said.

He was referring to the rising prices of commodities, which forced the government to subsidise maize meal two weeks ago.

“For the last four years, they have told us of the tyranny of numbers. Now we will show them what tyranny of numbers looks like,” he said.