Former President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga
ODM leader Raila Odinga has launched a new charm offensive targeting the election bloc in Mt. Kenya.
In his latest overture yesterday, Raila revived the rich history that links his family and the Luo community with the residents of the central region and the country’s three presidents.
He took time to recount his father’s connection with Jomo Kenyatta, Mwai Kibaki, and Uhuru Kenyatta in a 58-year affair marked by love, hate, and betrayal and iced over with a mountain of political debt.
In his pitch broadcast by Kameme TV, Raila said the Mt. Kenya region owed him a political debt and remembered being polled with Kibaki to end Canoe’s rule even after he (Kibaki) was involved in a serious road accident was.
His father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, had also missed the chance to form the first African government to demand the release of Jomo Kenyatta as a condition for Kenya’s freedom.
MoU before the elections
The former prime minister claimed to have been betrayed by Kibaki men who abandoned their pre-election Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which aimed to create a powerful prime minister’s seat to occupy.
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His remarks are likely to spark a new debate on debt policy, as Vice President William Ruto also looked to the region for support for Uhuru in the 2013 and 2017 polls.
It was discussed that Ruto was also indebted by the region for supporting Uhuru and ensuring that Rift Valley voted steadfastly for president in the last two polls.
Raila remembered how he was celebrated by the residents as mutongoria njamba (brave leader) during stopovers on the way to Nyeri on a victory tour with the then newly elected President Kibaki.
“The problem started when those who served under Kibaki rejected the declaration of intent. We had an MoU to change the constitution, but they refused. I was the one who was betrayed, not another person, ”said Raila.
He continued: “They are the ones with my fault; I have no debts. We went to Bomas in Kenya, I was betrayed a second time for saying no to the proposed constitutional changes. I am what they owe, but what we do now is make sure we forget the past and unite the country. ”
He said when explaining Kibaki Tosha, canoe guides said Luos would not vote for a Kikuyu because the community did something to Tom Mboya and Jaramogi.
He also announced that his father treated Kibaki as a son and said how the first vice president took Kibaki from Makerere University and made him a senior executive at Kanu and even paid his salary for two years.
“I told Luos that there was never a fight between Luos and Kikuyus. What was there were ideological differences. Luos voted for Kibaki with 98.5 percent. Even Orengo (Senator James) was a candidate, but Kibaki beat him in the election, ”he said.
He tried to end the political hatred between the two communities by stating that his father and the first president had only ideological differences.
He said how he worked with the region’s political leaders in the struggle for the second liberation and multi-party democracy.
“My father refused to be appointed prime minister and instead pressed for Jomo Kenyatta to be released from prison. They only worked together to differentiate themselves on land issues. These were ideological differences and not a tribal war. I supported Kibaki by saying Kibaki Tosha and worked with regional leaders like Charles Rubia, Kenneth Matiba, and Bildad Kaggia for liberation. The region should stand firm and support our striving for a better Kenya and build the bridges together with us, ”he said.
The Senate majority whip, Irungu Kang’ata, and Nyeri City MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, however, rejected Raila’s account of debts to the community.
Kang’ata said agreements made in a boardroom cannot be used to gather a fellowship to support an individual’s presidential quest.
He said that only agreements made public through the involvement of voters can be honored.
“He has to check whether these cases actually fit a criterion for binding political agreements … In order for a political agreement to come about, political offer and acceptance must be politicized by disclosure and confirmation of its terms,” said the Murang’a Senator.
Wambugu said the region will not choose anyone because of political debt, but because of what it wants to offer the region.
He said those who asserted political debt benefited from the agreements they made by holding certain positions and therefore cannot turn around and claim to be owed.
“I am not signing a debt policy. We cannot have a debt policy through Ruto or Raila. We’re not going to vote for anyone based on debt but what deal they want us to offer for future engagement, ”said Wambugu.
The MP said that if people started complying with previous pacts, even Amani National Congress (ANC) chairwoman Musalia Mudavadi would come and say he lost his seat in 2002 to support Uhuru.
“We cannot discuss debt policy because politics is about the future,” he added.
But Uhuru’s close ally and anniversary vice chairman David Murathe suggested last year that it was time to reward Raila for his struggle to free the country.
His remarks indicated that the region, which has traditionally spoken out against Raila, is keen to support him in the next survey.
Raila used the interview to appeal to the region to support the proposed constitutional amendments by looking at the benefits they can get if they are passed in the referendum.
He said the region should separate his name from the project launched by the March 9, 2018 handshake.
“Wings have a chance, if they are not used they will fly away. I appeal to the region to remove Raila in BBI and see the profits to be made in this region, ”he said.
Raila said he was focused on popularizing the BBI agenda rather than his quest for the presidency. He noted that this will be the best inheritance that will give more money to the counties.
Denying claims that BBI was his secret card for succeeding President Kenyatta, he noted that since the handshake began, he has always avoided the campaign meeting to give the anniversary government time to keep its promises to the electorate.
While defending his handshake with Uhuru, Raila said the deal brought stability and reconciliation and should not be associated with anniversary failures.
The DP has attributed the government’s inability to implement its Big Four agenda to the handshake.
“Those who claim that the handshake prevented the anniversary government from fulfilling its mandate are dreaming. The country was in chaos after the 2017 general election. The country experienced tension and economic sabotage when our supporters opposed some of the products of some companies, but things resumed when we greeted each other, ”he added.
Regarding Ruto’s failed relationship with the president, Raila exonerated himself, saying the matter was an internal Jubilee issue and not his cause.
At the same time, Raila threw Ruto a blow at his hectic narrative and asked him to sell his manifesto to the electorate without grouping people as belongings. A narrative he warned could be a recipe for anarchy.