Raila rules out any alliance with Ruto for 2022 elections

Friday, July 9th, 2021 00:00 |
Opposition leader Raila Odinga. Photo/PD/FILE

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga yesterday ruled out the possibility of forging an alliance with Deputy President William Ruto, linking the latter to corruption and bad governance.

Raila also declared that he was ready to remain in the political cold rather than head a country “infested with lords of corruption and charlatans.”

“We have reached a level where people are afraid to talk about theft of public resources.

Since I spoke in Mombasa, I have received very many calls and messages, warning that Raila must be very careful because those talks are sensitive because many Kenyans are corrupt and they can’t back him because he will jail them if elected,” he said.

He added: “But that is not the Kenya that I want; if they have decided that things should go that way, then let me remain at home. There is no need because Kenya cannot proceed if theft of public resources will continue this way.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila have since the March 2018 ‘Handshake’ led a purge on corruption in government which has seen Cabinet Secretaries (CSs), Principal Secretaries (PSs), governors, MPs and heads of parastatals sacked or charged, rattling the DP and his allies who have been fighting back viciously claiming it is political witch-hunt.

Shielding graft suspects

There has been a tendency in Kenyan politics where national leaders are forced to tolerate and shield suspected graft and drug barons due to the political influence they wield, often because of their generosity through ill-gotten wealth which also makes them popular among the masses.

The Opposition leader who had kept his supporters guessing over his 2022 game plan, signaled an epic duel with Ruto , saying while his party was open to forging alliances with like-minded political players. 

In an interview with Radio Citizen on a wide range of issues, the Opposition leader ruled out the possibility of entering into an alliance with Ruto despite recent widespread speculation that the two could be in talks geared towards forging a coalition ahead of the 2022 election.

“He has bolted out and is running, which is his democratic right to do whatever he wants,” said Raila.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader, who fell short of declaring Ruto unelectable because of alleged theft of public resources and bad policies, said corruption had reached worrisome levels.

Raila accused the Jubilee government of stealing billions of shillings through inflation of tenders for development projects and the cash channeled to top government officials as kickbacks.

“You saw Arror and Kimwarer dams would have cost Sh45 billion but were inflated by Sh17 billion, then you see someone claiming that out of that cash, only Sh7 billion had been lost. Sh7 billion is not small money.

They have hidden that money and it is what they are donating during harambees for women’s groups where he donates Sh10 million, churches where he gives Sh5 million, schools where he donates buses and cars for pastors being ordained.

One person? Where did he get this money? Safaricom cannot manage that. This is public money that has been stolen.

I do not want to lead a country that celebrates thieves; I would rather stay at home,” he said.

Ruto has previously downplayed the Arror and Kimwarer dams scandal while disputing the total amount said to have been lost.

The DP has publicly maintained that Sh7 billion was lost as opposed to the higher figures given by various investigating agencies.

“The money in question is about Sh7 billion and for every coin that has been paid, we have a bank guarantee,” Ruto was quoted saying while defending former Treasury CS Rotich who is facing corruption charges linked to the scandal.

Yesterday, Raila said: “I never mention names of people, but the guilty ones are always afraid. That person has always come up to fight.

It is him (Ruto) who I normally talk about yet I have never mentioned his name.

It seems he has identified himself as the person who does those things that I am talking about.

Ask him, where does he get that money, where is that saving that never dries up?”

Grand Coalition government

Raila also dismissed the DP’s assertions that he helped him ascend to the position of prime minister in the Grand Coalition government formed in the aftermath of the disputed 2007 General Election.

“Claiming that he helped me, Uhuru, who is he to help people? When we went to the 2007 elections, we did nominations at Kasarani and I won. Mudavadi was number two and he (Ruto) emerged third.

We went together to hunt, and when he killed the animal and because Musalia was number two, he became deputy prime minister.

I gave Ruto the biggest portion, minister for Agriculture, the highest portfolio on our side because it had 42 parastatals,” said Raila.

“So it’s not him who helped me, he helped himself; there was Musalia, Najib Balala and the late Joe Nyagah.

It was a concerted effort. He can’t claim to have played better than Balala, Governor Hassan Joho, Nyagah, and Farah Maalim who were also in the team. He was just one of the players,” the ODM leader asserted.

Raila said he was determined to run for the presidency in order to uplift the living standards of Kenyans and improve governance “because I personally know that so many things have gone wrong in this country”.

“I have been in government and opposition and I have solutions which have so far not been tried,” Raila stated.

“Those who are already in the race do not have solutions, they are just throwing words but they have no intention of transforming people’s lives but I personally know what I can do if elected.” 

Raila also denied accusations by his fellow principals in the National Super Alliance (Nasa), among them Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Amani National Congress (ANC) boss Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetangula’s that he had betrayed them.

“Nasa was not a political party, the parties are Wiper, ANC, ODM, Jubilee and the rest. And these parties can form coalitions and have a different name.

We had Cord, we had Nasa, but those are campaign coalitions to boost chances in the presidential election, and if you win, you share the government and run it until the term is over. But if that does not happen, you go to the Opposition where you stay as different parties,” said Raila.

“Currently, ANC have their own plans which they are working on, Wiper have their own programmes as they prepare themselves, ODM is also making its own plans; Nasa comes to an end with the dissolution of the current Parliament, and if we want to revive it, we will have to sit down and make fresh arrangements,” Raila explained.

Jubilee Coalition talks 

He confirmed that ODM and Jubilee Party are in talks over the 2022 elections.

“ODM has players and Jubilee also has players, you cannot tell them to just stay there on the pitch and wait for the whistle to be blown. They must start preparing themselves to see which way they will go.

ODM must seek to know the route they will take, whether it is through a coalition and that is what is being looked at,” he stated.

He denied accusations by Nasa principals he had reneged on an agreement to back one of them in the 2022 polls, saying the proposal must be subjected to a vote to determine the most popular candidate.

“It can be your turn but once you are in the race, you don’t get the required support. There is no selfishness.

We went to the bush to hunt but we did not catch an animal. We returned without any meat to share.

They are saying that we share, what are we sharing? What benefit has ODM accrued so that people can argue that since we benefited, we should now back them? We all returned empty handed,” he said.

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