Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi on Sunday asked Prime Minister Raila Odinga to start preparing for retirement.
“President Kibaki is supposed to retire according to the Constitution and since we are in a coalition government, the two principals should retire together in solidarity for Kenyans to have a fresh start,” Mr Mudavadi said in Nakuru.
Mr Mudavadi was speaking during his first presidential campaign rally since he left ODM to join the United Democratic Front (UDF) on whose ticket he intends to vie for the top seat.
He said the mood in the country was for the two principals to leave together.
President Kibaki is serving his last term and recently pledged to oversee a peaceful transition to a new leader after the General Election scheduled for March 4, 2013.
Mr Odinga, on the other hand, has launched his third bid for the presidency and opinion polls rank him as the man to beat at the ballot.
Mr Mudavai says he quit ODM after the party machinery denied him an opportunity to contest for the party’s ticket against Mr Odinga.
The ODM constitution says the party leader is its automatic presidential candidate, but the party last month gave notice to review the clause.
This is the first time Mr Mudavadi is taking about his former boss directly since he abandoned ODM.
But in a swift rejoinder, Mr Odinga’s campaign secretariat accused Mr Mudavadi of mischief and ingratitude.
“If there is any “wrong” the Premier has previously committed, it has been to redeem and polish up a conservative ingrate who had been dumped in the dustbin of history and given him a fresh lease of political life,” said Mr Barrack Muluka, the secretariat’s spokesman in a statement.
On Saturday, supporters of the two leaders clashed at the burial of Mr Jason Omwera Muhoro, the father of Nairobi mayor George Aladwa. (READ: Chaos as Mudavadi, Raila supporters clash)
The pair did not meet as expected because Mr Mudavadi left before Mr Odinga arrived. (READ: Mudavadi avoids Raila in home turf)
On Sunday, Mr Mudavadi described the incident as sad and blamed it on ODM, claiming they ferried youths from Kibera in Nairobi to disrupt the funeral.
“I am appealing to the security agencies to step up their surveillance and intelligence to avoid such incidents in future,” the Sabatia MP said at the Rift Valley Sports Club where he addressed journalists before attending a church service at the ACK Cathedral.
Mr Mudavadi said he was launching his campaign in Nakuru because it was the epicentre of the post-election chaos.
“After this meeting we want to go and tell other Kenyans that people of Nakuru have agreed to live together and they will never fight again,” he told the cheering crowd.
He warned his critics not to misconstrue his humility for weakness. “Humility is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength,” he said.
After the service, the DPM met MPs Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru Town) and Joseph Kiuna (Molo) and councillors at the Railway Grounds before going to Afraha Stadium where he addressed a rally.
The rally was attended by Housing minister Soita Shitanda, assistant ministers Katoo ole Metito, Nderitu Mureithi and George Khaniri.
Others were MPs Abdikadir Mohammed (Mandera Central), Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa), Najib Balala (Mvita), Boni Khalwale (Ikolomani), Abdi Bahari (Isiolo South) and George Nyamweya (nominated).
Asked whether Deputy PM Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto will support him, Mr Mudavadi said:
“Uhuru and Ruto are MPs and they are not my enemies, they are major players in the politics of this country and if they are not running and decide to support me I will be a happy man.”
Additional reporting by Francis Mureithi