Opposition leader Raila Odinga has dismissed claims that he was using the March 9, 2018 handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta to rock the Jubilee Party.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader said he was beyond local politics and was now focusing on his role in the African Union where he serves as the High Representative for Infrastructure Development on the continent.
“Raila is not in Jubilee Party. He is a member of ODM. I don’t attend meetings in Jubilee or Cabinet meetings. If it is about interference, it should be in the African Union,” Raila said yesterday at a hotel in Nairobi.
Building a legacy
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He caused laughter when he added, “Mimi nacheza Super League. Nyumbani nawaachia nyinyi.” (I’m no longer in the local field, I’m playing in the Super League)
Raila spoke after Rachel Shebesh, the Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs demanded to know details of the handshake deal.
Addressing women-led organisations that met to celebrate the unity brought about by handshake, the ODM leader said the handshake was geared towards uniting all Kenyans as well as building a legacy for himself and the president.
“Uhuru wants to leave a legacy…Raila too wants a legacy,” he said.
He explained that together with Kenyatta, they realised the country was sliding into hopelessness and ethnic conflicts and they charted the way forward.
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“Two people who had taken oath met and we took the journey down memory lane. We said it should not happen again. The country is bigger than our egos,” revealed Raila.
He revealed that he agreed with the President to set up the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) to lead Kenyans towards unity and create an opportunity to discuss measures that can be put in place to avoid eruption of violence in future.
The ODM leader further indicated that the fight against corruption is also a key issue they agreed to tackle and insisted that the process was not targeting anybody or certain communities.
Raila who maintained that the Constitution must be amended accused the elite of initiating ethnic differences while pursuing their political ambitions noting that, “The common man is always the victim.”
Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka who was present at the event but left before Raila arrived, heaped praises on Kenyatta and declared that he was advocating for the “non-contested” referendum.
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Holding them accountable
“I celebrate the determination of Uhuru to win the war against corruption. Uhuru will be remembered for fighting corruption,” he said.
Other leaders who attended the event are Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi’s wife Zahra Moi, Kiambu Woman Representative Gathoni Wamuchomba and former nominated Senator and Kanu party member Zipporah Kittony among other leaders.
Meanwhile, Siaya Senator James Orengo has accused Deputy President William Ruto of trivialising the fight against corruption.
The senator told off Ruto saying he cannot have his own team in the national government yet President Kenyatta is in charge.
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Speaking during a funds drive in Sinaga Girls Secondary School, in Siaya County, Mr Orengo insisted that the Jubilee government must speak in one voice and be led by the President with NASA holding them accountable.
“Ruto must work with the President. He must assist him not purport to be in charge. Ruto must know he is a mere herdsboy while President Kenyatta is the herdsman. He must therefore assist the President as the captain and not have his own team,” said Orengo.
At the same time he asked Ruto to allow the opposition play it’s role saying it was wrong for Ruto to accuse Raila of corruption.
And the National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi asked the DP to stop defending government officials accused of corruption.
Mbadi argued that Ruto’s remarks that only Sh7 billion was lost in construction of a dam in Elgeyo Marakwet County was akin to defending government officials accused of perpetrating graft.
Speaking during a funds drive in aid of construction of a dormitory at Okok Mixed Secondary School in Ndhiwa Constituency, Mbadi said the grilling of Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich over funds related to the dam project is quite telling on the war on corruption
“Grilling of high profiled CSs like Rotich shows something is wrong in the government. Let all senior government officials be committed to fighting corruption,” he said.
[Additional reports by Olivia Odhiambo and James Omoro]
Raila OdingaODMPresident Uhuru KenyattaPolitics