Inside Uhuru, Raila week long meeting in Mombasa

Monday, August 9th, 2021 00:00 |
ODM leader Raila Odinga (left), Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir (centre) and Mombasa Deputy Governor William Kingi at ACK Mombasa Memorial Cathedral yesterday. Photo/PD/Ndegwa Gathungu

 Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga yesterday said he held a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta who has been operating from his private home in Nyali, Mombasa.

Speaking at Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Memorial Cathedral service in Mombasa yesterday, Raila, however, declined to divulge details of the meeting saying the talks were personal and there was nothing much to announce.

Raila said his closeness with President Uhuru should not be misinterpreted.

“Ndio, tulikutana na Rais Uhuru Kenyatta hapa Mombasa na Kama tumekutana na Rais na tuna mambo ya kutangaza tungetangaza. Tulikutana na tukapiga gumzo, (its true I met the President, and we had talks. If we had something to announce we would have done so),” said Raila.

His spoke on a day it emerged that Uhuru had allegedly met with other party leaders including Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Gideon Moi (Kanu) Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya), Alfred Mutua (Machakos governor) and Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni governor) ostensibly to prevail upon them to support Raila’s presidential candidature in next year’s election.

Government advisor

Sources say there are plans to unveil a grand coalition in October. President Uhuru Kenyatta is said to have prevailed upon Kalonzo to back Raila but was told to ensure he ups his game first.

The alleged meeting comes at a time when Uhuru’s differences with his deputy William Ruto have escalated in the recent months.

During yesterday’s church service, Raila said he was not part of the Jubilee government and that he was only an advisor.

“I can tell you that Raila is not in the government. Raila is just an advisor to the government,” he said.

Raila, who has been in Mombasa for the past one-week, said his role was to advise the government on matters of public interest especially on economic recovery.

He said that he had directed MPs from his party to initiate a law on economic recovery under the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This time we are calling on the government to also come up with remote economic recovery plan, unlike the normal cash transfer to the vulnerable so that the youth can get a earning,” Raila said.

He said the government should now think about how to buy more Covid-19 vaccines to vaccinate all Kenyans so as to fully reopen the economy.

He gave examples of the United Kingdom and the United States who, he said, were slowly re-opening their economies after vaccinating most of their people.

Raila, who was accompanied by accompanied by Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, challenged the government to embark on a comprehensive economic recovery strategy to cushion Kenyans from suffering and help revamp the economy.

He said many Kenyans were suffering as a result of  the pandemic which, he said, had resulted in many people losing their jobs and other sources of income. 

“I want to ask the government to take the initiative of rebuilding the economy by helping Kenyans who are suffering.

As you know, many businesses have collapsed, the youth have lost jobs. So we want the government to come up with a comprehensive economic recovery plan,” he said.

Nassir said Members of Parliament will this week convene and table legislation seeking to guide the government on how to slowly reopen the economy adding that it was not right for Kenyans to continue suffering.

“The direction the country should take is not to lock down. We have engaged with the party leader and the country needs to open up the economy.

The only solution is to open the economy while doing mass vaccination of Kenyans,” said Nassir.

He said he was seeking Raila’s blessings to run for the Mombasa governor seat and not an endorsement as it has been perceived.

“I have been moving with Raila even before and it’s not about endorsement. It’s about blessings, and we have a mandate to deliver before 2022. When the time comes we will declare our intentions,” said Nassir.

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