Kenya’s presidential and parliamentary elections are close to four years away. On paper, the official campaign period will begin three months to the elections date in August 2027. But in a country where electioneering never stops, political party activity is already heating up.

The political scene could get even more dramatic in the coming weeks, with internal fallouts and realignments expected in the opposition Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Alliance after former prime minister Raila Odinga’s effusive praise of Kalonzo Musyoka and the forthcoming grassroots elections in President William Ruto’s party, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

Odinga, the leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party, was this week forced to try to clarify his remarks, which were interpreted in the media as an endorsement of Musyoka’s candidature, amid reports of unease among other coalition leaders with presidential ambitions.

Read: Ruto hopes he will face Kalonzo in the 2027 race

The former prime minister said the remarks, made at a birthday party for his 80-year-old elder brother, were a response to the president’s earlier appeal to ODM supporters in the Nyanza region to back his re-election bid and repay a political debt they supposedly owe him for having campaigned for their native son in 2007.

Musyoka has backed Odinga more times than Ruto in his five unsuccessful presidential bids. And while Odinga has yet to publicly rule out a sixth stab at the presidency, there has been mounting speculation about his participation in the next elections over age – he will be 82 in 2027.


Elements within the opposition coalition have been pushing for a succession plan in which Odinga will back someone else to face Ruto.

Musyoka, a former vice-president and foreign affairs minister, has declared he will be in the presidential race for a second time and is regarded by his supporters as first among equals in the crop of leaders hoping to succeed Odinga.

Internal tension is more palpable in UDA, which has for months been undertaking mass mobilisation for its grassroots elections set for December as part of its early preparations for 2027.

Read: Will Ruto’s coalition avoid the one-term curse?

Resolutions of a leaders’ conference for its women’s wing in Nairobi called for the postponement of grassroots elections over fears they could divide the party.

There is also unease in some parties in the ruling coalition over pressure by some Ruto allies to have their parties dissolved and merged with UDA to rally a more formidable force in the next elections.

Meanwhile, the opposition hasn’t been left behind in the early battle for voting blocs.

Former prime minister Raila Odinga, who was Azimio’s presidential candidate in the 2022 elections, on October 17 held a meeting with members of a youth lobby pushing for greater support for young people to vie for elective positions.

His ODM party, which is the biggest partner in the opposition coalition, has also started activating the programmes of its women league, with the secretariat mounting a mobilisation training for members of the county assembly and grassroots leaders in western Kenya.

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