We’ll not be pushed to back Raila, OKA team declares
Oliver Musembi and Mathew Ndung’u
Defiant One Kenya Alliance (OKA) principal Musalia Mudavadi yesterday scoffed at the possibility of forming an alliance with Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga.
Mudavadi insisted the alliance will not be coerced into a coalition and will instead let the people choose a leader of their choice.
The Amani National Congress (ANC) chief was responding to reports that he and other OKA leaders Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula had been invited to a meeting at State House on Saturday during which they are said to have been prevailed upon to support Raila.
“It is Kenyans who have the power to pick the leader they want. Let us forget the propaganda being peddled around in to force some of us to support someone.
I have said this before and I will repeat everywhere I go. Leadership comes from the people and the people must decide,” said Mudavadi.
His remarks were echoed by Deputy President William Ruto who, during a rally in Kajiado said he would not succumb to any threats and intimidation.
“Those selling fear to us should instead focus on coming up with an agenda and policies that are people-based.
Form a political party with a national outlook like United Democratic Alliance (UDA) and stop creating confusion with small tribal political parties.
We will not buy your fear whatsoever,” he told residents at Loitoktok town.
Ruto has said it is possible to make the 2022 polls peaceful and smooth.
However, he said this will be achieved if Kenyans are given a fair chance to elect leaders of their choice. “The contest must be free of blackmail, threats and intimidation,” he said.
Ruto noted that the current employment of fear and coercion to shape next year’s political choices was primitive and out of date.
“Fear is a sin. We cannot buy it. We will not buy it. Kenyans will only buy issues,” he added.
Mudavadi spoke at ATG Church in Thika town in the company of Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Kanu national chairman Gideon Moi and Moses Wetangula of Ford Kenya during a thanksgiving service and a harambee.
The Head of State is said to have met Mudavadi, Kalonzo and Wetang’ula. Baringo senator Gideon Moi and former Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo, who are also members of the OKA team, were not present at the meeting.
The President is said to have expressed discomfort about their ongoing campaigns and Mudavadi’s persistent talk that the economy was on its knees due to public debt.
Lugari MP Ayub Savula, responding to queries about the meeting, stated that the President was only appealing to the OKA leaders to support Raila and not compelling them for the same.
“The President is meeting the OKA leaders at the State House because these are people who represent political parties, they have to consult.
There is an issue of convincing and as Uhuru said before, opposition leaders have to unite because they have a common enemy but it is just an appeal, he cannot force them to support a particular person,” he said.
Mudavadi maintained that Kenyans should not be forced to vote for individuals simply because they have been endorsed by a certain group of elites insisting Kenyans should be allowed to exercise their democratic right of electing their leaders.
“I am not sure whether the OKA principals met President Uhuru Kenyatta. However, what I have heard is that they do not want to be arm-twisted to support any presidential candidate,” said Makueni MP Dan Maanzo.
Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr said he was not privy to the negotiations to have Kalonzo to support Raila.
“I am not aware. However, if they force his hand (Kalonzo), they should expect a rebellion.”
At the same time, Mudavadi yesterday told MPs to allocate more money to fund the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for the agency to extend the voter registration period.
“Democracy lays a great foundation for this country. I plead with Parliament to rise to the occasion and inject more funds to the IEBC, which has been complaining of lack of finances,” Mudavadi added.
He also said the OKA team aims to work towards building a stable economic base and made a reference to collapsed industries in Thika town, which they would ensure are revived if they take over the country’s leadership.
“We will also embark on tax reduction to ease the burden of Kenyans who are suffering from all dimensions of life,” he said.
Kalonzo said they have laid down plans to repay debts that the country owes in less than two years if they form the next government.
He said Kenya has enough minerals whose proceeds, if well utilised, can clear Kenyan debts to allow for stabilisation of the economy.
“We have enough resources that can spur economic development and reduce unnecessary borrowing.
Unlike our competitors, we have very good plans to do that in less than two years,” said Kalonzo.
Your vote, your future
Gideon said the challenges that Kenya continues to grapple with among them high cost of living, insecurity, joblessness among educated youths was a creation of a clique of individuals out to sabotage growth.
He said OKA will provide solutions to all the challenges facing the nation and insisted they have better policies to realise the agenda they have for the economic transformation of the country.
“I’m very proud of my colleagues in OKA because they’re trustworthy and mean well for the country.
There’s nothing greater than Kenyans trusting us. As we move forward, your vote means your future and I urge the unregistered to move quickly and get enlisted,” said Gideon.
Wetang’ula said that the OKA team will pay attention to the agricultural sector by bettering farming activities through support to farmers.
“We will copy nations such as Cuba, India and the Philippines which support their people including housemaids who work abroad and generate revenue for their country,” he said.
For three months now, the OKA leaders have been holding staggered talks with the President wit the purpose of convincing them to agree on supporting one of them against gis deputy, Rito, with whom they have fallen out.
Two such meetings were held in Mombasa State House and another one at thee Nairobi State house but none of them bore fruit, with the OKA chiefs insinuating that they had supported Raila for far too long and it was time for him to reciprocate.