The leader of Kenya’s opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) yesterday said its flag bearer, Mr Raila Odinga, remains a friend to both President John Magufuli and former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa.
In a statement sent to The Citizen, the Director of Communications for Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), which is one of the principal members of Nasa, Mr Philip Etale, said even in the 2015 General Election, Mr Odinga made clear his support for both “and that may the best candidate win.”
On Saturday, the opposition Chadema, which unsuccessfully fielded Mr Lowassa for presidency in 2015, declared it was supporting President Uhuru Kenyatta on his reelection bid against Mr Odinga.
Chadema in the past has been supporting Mr Odinga, but according to the party’s national chairman Freeman Mbowe, they have decided to rally their support behind Mr Kenyatta due to his good record of promoting democracy and allowing the opposition to flourish during his first term in office.
It is a known fact that President Magufuli and Mr Odinga are best friends, and although Dr Magufuli has not openly declared his support of Mr Odinga there are fears especially in Kenya that Tanzania will play a helping hand to Nasa in the August General Election.
“As ODM we believe in democracy and would not at any point want to lose our friends because of politics,” reads part of the statement, adding: “Mr Odinga wants support from everyone and anyone and it is our hope that the decision is not pegged on the last election, but other influences.”
Addressing the party’s council, Mr Mbowe said after an assessment, Chadema leaders and followers concluded that Mr Kenyatta was the right candidate for presidency and a better choice for democracy in Kenya. Earlier last month, the ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Augustine Mahiga, refuted media reports that Tanzania was interfering with the Kenyan elections in favour of a particular presidential candidate.