ODM leader Raila Odinga will announce his 2022 political plans after the Building Bridges Initiative process is concluded.
Raila on Tuesday said he was mulling his options but will wait for the BBI before announcing his move.
For now, the ODM leader said he and his handshake partner President Uhuru Kenyatta will remain studiously silent about 2022 succession politics.
Raila said his camaraderie with the President currently focuses on building the necessary infrastructure that will avert future post-election chaos.
“The President will not talk about 2022 succession, I will not talk about 2022. I will talk about 2022 after the BBI process,” Raila said during an interview with Citizen TV on Tuesday night.
He said they have resolved to put aside succession politics to lay a firm ground that will guarantee peace for Kenyans in 2022.
“We first want to rectify what happened in 2017. No Kenyan blood is going to be spilled in the next election, we want to create a conducive environment under which Kenyans will go for an election,” Raila said.
This was the first time the former Prime Minister was opening up about how he intends to approach the 2022 General Election.
There are signals from both Raila and Uhuru allies, including handshake proponents that the ODM leader will make a fifth attempt at the presidency in 2022.
Jubilee vice-chairman David Murathe and Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli have hinted that Raila will be Uhuru’s successor.
But Raila on Tuesday said those making the claims have their democratic rights to express their views.
“I have always said that I don’t want to talk about 2022, but that does not mean I will muzzle the people who want to talk,” he said.
In the interview on a wide range of issues, Raila reiterated that the country must hold a national referendum before 2022.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic will largely determine when the country will hold a referendum even as he insisted that he is reading from the same script with the President.
“We are looking at how it is going to peak and level the curve so that it can start going down. That is going to determine the calendar when we are going to have a referendum,” Raila said.
He added, “The president’s views, I know because we talk regularly with him, are not very different from mine. Me and the President are in complete concurrence on the issue of the BBI.”
Raila dismissed those claiming that time has run out for a referendum, saying major plans to address key issues affecting Kenyans cannot be time-bound.
He gave an example of European countries, which he said conduct more than one election in a year with ease.
“So, the issue of time being too short completely misses the point, the issue is that, is it necessary? That is the question,” Raila said.
Whether the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission can manage the referendum in its current form, Raila said major changes at the electoral agency would be inevitable.
“You can appoint four new commissioners and have the three resign or whatever it is then form a new commission. That is not the reason for not having a referendum,” Raila said.
His remarks could set the stage for fresh faces at the election commission as key political players push for far-reaching changes to guarantee free and fair elections in 2022.
Only commission chairman Wafula Chebukati and commissioners Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu are in office. Consolata Maina, Paul Kurgat and Margaret Mwachanya resigned on April 16, 2018 months after Roselyn Akombe quit in a huff.
The battle for the composition of the IEBC commission is expected to gather pace once the Building Bridges Initiative report is unveiled.