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Moi Grooming Raila, Claims MP

By Claire Gatheru and William Orende, The Nation, 19 March 2001

President Moi was grooming NDP leader Raila Odinga for the presidency, an MP claimed at the weekend

To illustrate how it was going to happen, Ndhiwa MP Joshua Ojodeh told a fund raiser in his constituency that already President Moi was giving Mr Odinga the exposure by either sending him or including him in the Government delegations accompanying the Head of State on foreign trips.

"What do you want? Must you be told verbally the man to succeed Moi when the Head of State is already exposing an individual to Libya, South Africa, Rwanda and other countries abroad?" he asked. "Read the signs of the times, dalili ya mvua ni mawingu (clouds are a sign of rains)."

He caused laughter when he told the crowd to intensify the fight against HIV/Aids "to be able to see how Mr Odinga runs the country".

Mr Odinga, who is the Langata MP, was in President Moi's delegation in his recent trip to Libya for an Organisation of African Unity Summit.

The NDP leader also accompanied Assistant Minister Mark Too of the Office of the President on missions to the Great Lakes region and was in the team that represented the Government in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the funeral of President Laurent Kabila.

Mr Ojode, a close confidant of Mr Odinga, told a harambee at Ramuya Primary School in his constituency, where he raised Sh200,858, that it was wrong for Kenyans to ask President Moi to name his successor "because it was obvious who will succeed him".

"The NDP recently upgraded its relations with Kanu to a partnership (and) President Moi has given strong hints that the NDP top brass may be appointed to the Cabinet soon," said Mr Ojode.

Mr Ojodeh asked the Luo and other communities to rally behind Mr Odinga in his bid for the presidency in the next General Election.

He revealed that his party had formulated a master plan to raise funds locally and abroad for its activities in the run-up to the poll. He said the NDP was already issuing "covenant" membership cards in Sh5,000 and Sh10,000 denominations, which were being bought by all Kenyans irrespective of their party affiliations.

He cautioned the electorate against being confused by selfish politicians who were out to wreck the party from within. "We don't want confusion in the party," he said.

Mr Ojode said the party elections run from April 20 to June 30.

Meanwhile the NDP's director for elections, Mr Lumumba Owade, claimed in Nairobi that there was a plot to rig the elections.

He cautioned party members against buying fake receipts being sold in some parts of the country.

Mr Owade told journalists at the party's head office that senior NDP officials would make countrywide tours to educate members on the election procedures.

"Party members must be given a chance to elect their leaders at the grassroots without intimidation, victimisation and harassment whatsoever and we will not allow any group with vested interests to take away our democratic rights," Mr Owade said.

Mr Owade was accompanied by the party's regional representative Nairobi area Ms Seth Mwau, Organising Secretary Ratib Hussein and the Deputy secretary for Legal Affairs Mr Ojwang Agina.

He announced that all delegates will be issued with receipts on March 20 by presiding officers at the election venues.

Copyright 2001 The Nation. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).