Former Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende has told Cord leader Raila Odinga to support a Luhya for presidency as a way of reciprocating the community’s long support for him.
In the clearest indication, yet, that he is going for the presidency in 2017, Marende insisted he is the best suited candidate to be the community’s flag bearer because of his national credentials as Speaker.
“Many people from Western know very well that I have stood with Raila for a long time during his bid to win the presidency. I’m not looking for MP seat, governor post or senator post. Let us agree with Raila that this time round, he shall say, Marende tosha,” he said.
He insisted he has steadfastly backed Raila since he joined the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which partnered with National Alliance Party to form Narc in 2002 to oust Kanu from power then later in Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) against retired President Kibaki in the controversial 2007 election. He added that he supported Raila in 2013 when he contested against President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“I am targeting to move forward and I have set the pace. Raila should assure Western people that he will say Tosha to Marende if he wants our support. I have been Speaker through the support of Raila and I should be President through his support.”
Marende dismissed reports that he had decamped from Orange to Jubilee saying he is still with Raila but on condition of mutual benefit.
And in a quick response, Cord leader, Raila Odinga assured the former Speaker of his support in 2017 presidency.
He defended Marende on his appointment into the Kenya Power board by the Jubilee administration, saying it was his right as a Kenyan to be given such an opportunity.
“The job that Marende was given was not Uhuru’s nor Jubilee’s but Kenya’s. We are together with Marende politically,” he said.
Raila accused some leaders from Western of being used by outside forces to mislead Marende politically, cautioning him to be wary and on the lookout.
“Jirongo is misleading Marende and he should be aware of such people out to derail him from his good political track,” he said reffering to the party (UDP) that Marende and Jirongo, the former Lugari MP formed. He also urged Western people to arm themselves with voter’s card to vote him in as president in 2017.
The leaders were speaking in Luanda at the burial of Phoebe Akasa, mother-in-law to Raila’s daughter, Rosemary Odinga.