Kenya’s main opposition coalition, the National Super Alliance (NASA) has picked a former Prime Minister of the East African nation as its presidential candidate heading into highly anticipated August polls.
Odinga, originally the leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) was Premier of Kenya between April 2008 and April 2013 under a power-sharing deal with then President Mwai Kibaki. ‘‘It is with great honour that I accept Team NASA’s nomination as its 2017 Presidential Candidate,’‘ he said in a tweet.
72-year-old Raila Odinga will come up against incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta who represents the Jubilee alliance. NASA on Thursday also unveiled its official symbol to party faithful who thronged the Uhuru Park.
It is with great honour that I accept Team NASA's nomination as its 2017 Presidential Candidate.
Odinga was the country’s second PM because the only other person to hold the post was Jomo Kenyatta back in 1964. The office was abolished after 2013. He has also handled different ministerial portfolios including Roads, Public Works and Housing as well as energy.
The NASA was formed eight months ago with the aim of wrestling power from Uhuru Kenyatta who will be running for his second five-year term. He won the 2013 race against Odinga, whose ODM is one of the five main opposition parties uniting.
Kenyatta’s presidency has seen the economy grow at a steady 5 to 6 percent a year, but has faced headwinds from a spate of militant attacks that have killed hundreds of people. He has faced criticism for not doing more to tackle corruption.
Some opinion polls have suggested Kenyatta is ahead. However, voting in Kenya in the past has tended to be driven by tribal loyalties rather than policy.
Odinga will by his current nomination be taking a third shot at the presidency. He disputed the results of the last vote in 2013 and the election in 2007, which was followed by weeks of ethnic violence in which about 1,200 people died.