Raila Odinga, the 77-year-old Kenyan veteran opposition leader, has endorsed by an alliance of more than 20 political parties to contest the presidential election on August 9.
Among the parties that pledged support for Odinga’s quest for presidency in the East Africa’s largest economy was the ruling Jubilee which is headed by President Uhuru Kenyatta, reports Xinhua news agency.
For the first time in the history of Kenya, the ruling party headed by 61-year-old Kenyatta declared support for an opposition leader.
Kenyatta, in his speech at Odinga’s coronation ceremony held in Nairobi, said he had faith in his former rival, whom they shook hands in March 2018, after a vicious contest, setting the stage for an era of peace and tranquility in the country.
“I have faith in Odinga’s ability to transform this country and ensure it remained peaceful, united and a key player in regional affairs,” said Kenyatta, adding that Odinga had sacrificed personal interests to promote peace and stability in the country.
Odinga’s endorsement to run for presidency under the Azimio La Umoja (Resolution for Unity) coalition of more than 20 political parties set the stage for intensive campaigns ahead of the election.
Other political heavy weights who announced they will back Odinga’s presidential race included Kalonzo Musyoka, a one-time foreign minister and vice president who is the leader of opposition Wiper Party.
In his acceptance speech, Odinga pledged to transform the country’s economy, promote unity, cohesion and Kenya’s relations with neighbouring countries if he clinches presidency.
He promised to create a stand-alone ministry for the youth, roll-out tax holidays to spur growth of youth led enterprises and promote use of technology to transform agriculture in the country.
At the same time, he also vowed to fight graft in the public service, allocate adequate resources to devolved units, create a civil service that is efficient and accountable and manage public debt.
Odinga said that under his administration, Kenya would become a manufacturing powerhouse unrivalled in the African continent.