NAIROBI: Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka announced a powerful alliance yesterday as running mates in presidential elections due in March.
The former rivals, along with trade minister Moses Wetangula and leaders of 10 other smaller parties, signed an agreement in front of thousands of supporters to form the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) party.
Odinga is widely tipped to be the presidential candidate with Musyoka as his deputy, although no formal announcement was made. “This is the only group that will propel Kenyans towards prosperity,” said Odinga, after a shuffling dance in front of cheering crowds.
“We are the people who understand unity, peace and security for Kenyans,” Musyoka said alongside him. The agreement comes two days after Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, ex-minister William Ruto, announced their alliance under the slogan Umoja Kenya (Kenya Together).
Both Kenyatta and Ruto are charged with crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court for their alleged role in 2007-8 post-election unrest that killed at least 1,100 people and displaced more than 600,000.
The violence shattered Kenya’s image as a beacon of stability in east Africa when the then-opposition leader Raila Odinga accused President Mwai Kibaki of rigging his way to re-election following the 2007 polls.
What began as political riots quickly turned into ethnic killings of Kenyatta’s Kikuyu tribe, which launched reprisal attacks, plunging Kenya into its worst wave of violence since independence in 1963. AFP