Kenyan Opposition leader Hints at 6th Run for President

Kenyan Opposition leader Hints at 6th Run for President


What’s Happening

Raila Odinga, the main opposition leader in Kenya, has hinted at a potential 6th run for President in the nations 2027 elections. Odinga is the leader of the Orange Democratic Movement, and head of the Azimio la Umoja–One Kenya Coalition. He also served as Kenya’s Prime Minister from 2008-2013.

Odinga was speaking on January 25th at a political rally in Kwale, a town in which he maintains a high level of support. In the rally he spoke of what he claimed were the failings and unfulfilled promises of Kenyan President William Ruto. While Odinga did not explicitly state he was running for president for the sixth time, he did state that his mission was to “defend democracy” and ensure “justice prevails”.

He added that his loss in 2022’s election had “shaken” him, but that he “did not fall”.

“They say that when a big tree falls, it sways. I didn’t fall, I was just shaken a little by the wind, but I’m strong” -Raila Odinga

He vowed to “continue the fight” against Kenya’s rising cost of living.

“These people are not following our fathers’ foundation and dream of fighting, poverty, hunger, illiteracy and bringing freedom and fairness” 

Raila Odinga this January celebrated his 79th birthday. If he runs again in the 2027 election, he will be 82. President Ruto, who is presently 57, will have a significant age advantage on Odinga if they both choose to run again.

6th Time’s the Charm

Raila Odinga has had a long and tumultuous political career that has lasted over several decades. While he has seen a number of successes, such as becoming the 2nd Prime Minister of Kenya (before the office was abolished in 2013), it has also been marred by a number of failures. Namely, his 5 losses in Presidential elections.

Odinga has ran in 1997, where he finished third, as well as 2007, 2013, 2017, and 2022, in each of which he finished second. Most recently in 2022, Odinga received 48.85% of the vote, compared to President Ruto’s 50.49%. 2022’s election was the closest he had come, being less than 2% behind Ruto

William Ruto (right) being sworn in after his victory in the August 2022 election (Photo from Getty Images)

Each time his loss has been met with accusations of electoral fraud, which has on several occasions led to political violence. Following 2022’s election, which was carried out comparatively peacefully in regards to previous elections, he filed a legal challenge to Ruto’s victory. However, the supreme court ruled Ruto’s victory was legitimate, and Odinga stated he would respect the decision.

Despite this, Odinga hosted a series of protests against the government, several of which were again marred by violence.

Following President Ruto’s first year in office, he maintained a 55% approval rating.

Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray is a published journalist and historicist with over 5 years experience in writing. His primary focus is on East and West African affairs.
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