OKA to field presidential candidate in 2022 poll

OKA to field presidential candidate in 2022 poll

One Kenya Alliance principals come out of a meeting at the Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha on August 17, 2021. The alliance revealed it will field a presidential candidate in the 2022 poll.

Photo credit: Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group

The One Kenya Alliance (OKA) has resolved to field a presidential candidate in the 2022 election.

Pressure has been mounting for the nascent political outfit to back the candidature of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga, with talks rife that he is President Uhuru Kenyatta's preferred successor.

However, in a declaration Tuesday after a four-day retreat at the Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha, the OKA Principals' Summit and Joint Parliamentary Group announced that they will field a candidate.

“As the “Great Rift Valley Declaration”, we hereby unequivocally state that One Kenya Alliance will field a presidential candidate in next year’s general elections. And the candidate is here,” they stated in a joint statement.

OKA to field own presidential candidate

Representing independence party Kanu, Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda was categorical that OKA will have a presidential candidate come 2022.

“The coalition will and must field a candidate in the elections…we are the face of Kenya and OKA is the political outfit to keep an eye on,” Ms Lesuuda said.

Alternative force

OKA is packaging itself as alternative to Mr Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto, while endearing itself to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The leaders, however, refused to be drawn into Mr Odinga’s candidature, insisting that they are only focused on popularising their coalition.

In a statement read by the Ford Kenya deputy party leader Richard Onyoka, the OKA leaders stated that the alliance is anchored on shared ideals of individual freedom, national unity and equal economic and social opportunities for all, recognising the aspirations of millions of Kenyans who yearn for a responsive and reliable leadership bound by the rule of law.

The alliance announced that it will be engaged in countrywide political activities.

“We will not only share our primary agenda of hope on the bedrock of an economic liberation, but also demonstrate that in OKA, Kenyans have a unique opportunity to bestow their sovereign power on a responsible and trustworthy leadership,’ said Mr Onyoka.

Revive economy

The alliance promised to resuscitate Kenya's economy, voicing practical solutions to the economic challenges the country is grappling with.

“Empty narratives and sloganeering on economic models is not the antidote to our challenges,” said the Ford Kenya deputy leader.

“What we require as a country is to intensify the war against graft in order to salvage public resources diverted for personal gains and channel them to spur our economy.”

On corruption, the OKA affiliate parties implored President Kenyatta to unleash the full wrath of the law and get rid of corrupt elements within the government. They voiced the need to strengthen institutions mandated to fight graft through adequate funding and protection against interference.

Public participation

“Additionally, we must revert to the most fundamental governance principle that must underpin all our economic and social policies — public participation. No one knows better how to lift a majority of our population out of poverty more than Kenyans themselves,” said Mr Onyoka.

Amid fresh calls to restructure the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) ahead of 2022 elections, OKA maintained that they will not support any destabilisation of the electoral body ahead of the polls.

“We support the independence of the electoral commission and we cannot afford to destabilise the IEBC a year to the elections. As the body mandated to oversee the elections, Kenyans are looking forward to a commission that will deliver free, fair, credible, and verifiable elections,” they said.

The alliance members maintained that they will accept the ruling on the BBI appeal case which will be delivered on Friday, August 20, 2021.

“As an alliance that believes in the rule of law, irrespective of the outcome, we wish to restate that our resolve to be the leadership committed to seeing a one united Kenya,” they noted in the statement.

The parties expressed concerns over the extra-judicial killings, urging the relevant security organs to move with speed and stop the vice.

Hard stance

The four principals of the OKA coalition — Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper ), Musalia Mudavadi (Amani National Congress), Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) and Gideon Moi (Kanu) — joined at least 132 leaders of the affiliate parties in Naivasha for a retreat amid a hard stance taken by members on the 2022 presidential flag bearer.

The Naivasha meeting also discussed how to strengthen the alliance ahead of the 2022 General Election.

OKA is now expected to unveil its manifesto, logo and presidential candidate in the coming weeks.

"We will unveil the presidential candidate very soon. For now we just received a brief of the Mombasa meeting from our principals before we begin choosing the 2022 presidential flag bearer," Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior told the Nation.

"The aim of the retreat was to strengthen the OKA. Other things will follow later because we want to win in 2022. The issue of a presidential candidate will come at a later stage," added Mr Kilonzo.