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Raila off to watch Arsenal, Liverpool match in the UK

Raila Odinga is off to the United Kingdom for a series of engagements, including watching Wednesday’s English Premier League match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium.

The seasoned politician, considered among the favourites to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta ahead of the August 2022 polls, left Nairobi for London on Sunday.

He is accompanied by a delegation of politicians including former Gatanga lawmaker Peter Kenneth who has been mentioned as a possible running mate, Governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Charity Ngilu (Kitui), Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru) and Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), plus Siaya Senator James Orengo, Suna East MP Junet Mohamed and Ben Agina who is Mr Odinga’s advisor on international affairs and diaspora engagement.

A former footballer, patron of Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, plus passionate fan of the Kenya national football team, Odinga, also an Arsenal fan, will be hoping Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, who are on a rich vein of form, will beat Liverpool after two losses to the same opponent this season.

The trip comes at a time Kenya is banned by Fifa from international football in the wake of a fallout between the government, Football Kenya Federation and the international football body.

Arsenal are gunning to qualify for the UEFA Champions League after four seasons in the cold, and have amassed 25 points out of a possible 30.

Liverpool too, are on a rich vein of form following a league win over Brighton at the weekend, plus an aggregate triumph against Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League in midweek.

Off the pitch, Dennis Onsarigo, the press secretary of the Raila Odinga 2022 presidential campaign secreteriat confirmed that Mr Odinga leaves on Sunday night for a tour in which he will meet senior UK government officials, give talks and meet Kenyans living in the UK.

“Mzee (Mr Odinga) will give a talk on democracy in Africa. The people know his credentials in democracy and he is also very keen on governance,” said Mr Onsarigo.

In a trip that comes barely a week after Deputy President William Ruto, considered Odinga’s main rival in the August 2022 polls, toured the UK and US, Odinga is expected to share his vision for Kenya and Africa in an increasingly uncertain world, and will reflect on the political goal of unity presented by his Azimio la Umoja coalition movement.

The seasoned politician also has a date with the Arch Bishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on Thursday at Lambeth Palace, which is his official residence.

On the same day, he will meet with Kenyans living in the UK.