Luo leaders from Luo Nyanza have endorsed President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition Leader Raila Odinga as the next Prime Minister and President respectively.
Governors and lawmakers from the region want now the President to support Raila’s 2022 bid as his successor.
The 2022 politics is part of the agenda the leaders discussed with Uhuru at the Kisumu State Lodge on Thursday night.
During the meeting the leaders promised to support a referendum and endorse Uhuru for Prime Minister after his term ends.
Nyanza leaders from Kisii were asked to excuse themselves. The leaders met after Uhuru launched the universal health coverage programme at the Mamboleo showground in Kisumu.
Kisii governor James Ongwae, Nyamira’s John Nyagarama and Kitutu Chache North MP Jimmy Angwenyi were told to leave by an ODM official.
“They were told it was a purely elected Luo MPs affair. It brought together MPs from Nyanza and those elected in Nairobi,” a senator who attended the meeting said.
Raila unsuccessfully ran for president on four occasions in 1997, 2007, 2013 and 2017. His key political allies have continuously stated he is “too” young not to contest in 2022. Raila will be 77 then.
Uhuru’s allies have also said the president is too young and should be given another role after his final term at State House.
Both sides want a referendum to expand the executive and create the position of Prime Minister for an expanded executive.
“We said we must look at this issue of winner take it all. If that is why some people feel left out of government, we must ask ourselves whether it is a good thing or not,” Uhuru said in Kisumu.
Deputy President William Ruto who had accompanied Uhuru to Kisumu did not attend a meeting with Luo Nyanza leaders.
His ally, Migori governor Okoth Obado, also did not attend. Those who attended asked not to be quoted in the media.
“The meeting also focused on the building bridges initiative through which a referendum is expected,” a senator said.
Senate Minority leader James Orengo and his National Assembly counterpart John Mbadi mobilised the leaders for the meeting.
“We did not talk about politics but focused on development issues. You can remember Uhuru publicly made his stand on the referendum during the tour,” Okello said.
Mbadi denied the leaders discussed politics. “The president talked about building bridges and how we can unite the country and stop tribalism,” Mbadi said.
Uhuru visit was the first to Nyanza since last year’s bitterly contested election between him and Raila.
The tour was meant to launch development projects and drum up support for the handshake.
While Mbadi denied, a governor, a senator and an MP said politics was the main agenda of their meeting with the President.