Kenyan Opposition Candidate Says He Would Be One-Term President

  • Odinga tells Citizen TV his alliance has 10 million vote-base
  • Ex-premier has lost three previous presidential elections

The main opposition candidate in Kenya’s presidential election, Raila Odinga, said he’ll rule for just one term if he wins the Aug. 8 vote and then back another member of his coalition to replace him.

Odinga, who’s the candidate for the National Super Alliance, a coalition of five opposition parties, said in an interview with Kenya’s Citizen TV that as part of a deal with his alliance partners he wouldn’t seek re-election.

Raila Odinga and Musalia Mudavadi on Aug. 10.

Photographer: Riccardo Gangale/Bloomberg

“This agreement lasts for five years,” said Odinga, a former prime minister who’s failed in three previous presidential bids. “After that, my work would have been done.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta is seeking a second and final five-year term at the August polls in East Africa’s biggest economy. Violence surrounding elections in Kenya make them fractious times for investors, and the International Monetary Fund has warned the vote may result in slower growth for the $69.4-billion economy this year.

Less than half of the supporters of the National Super Alliance agree with the choice of Odinga, 72, and former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka as its flag-bearers, the Nairobi-based Star newspaper reported on April 28, citing an Ipsos poll.

It’s the same ticket that lost in 2013, when Kenyatta beat Odinga with 50.07 percent of the vote. In 2007, he came second to Mwai Kibaki. The opposition said both elections were marred by vote-rigging. Kibaki’s contested victory sparked two months of ethnic violence that left at least 1,100 people dead. In 1997, Odinga placed third in an election won by incumbent President Daniel Arap Moi.

Odinga told Citizen TV that his opposition alliance has at least 10 million voters. He likened his role to that of Joshua in the Bible, who led Israelite tribes into Canaan after years of wandering in the desert. “That is the role I want to play,” he said.

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