Opposition leader Raila Odinga gave the clearest indication yet that he will be on the ballot in next year’s election, leading yet another grand coalition to rout out entrenched corruption.
Speaking during the burial of former Kibwezi MP Kalembe Ndile in Mbui Nzau, Makueni yesterday, Raila said he has for long led a coalition of progressives to fight injustices, and will not let “latter-day progressives” to confuse the country.
The burial attended by former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka was dominated with calls for opposition unity, with Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu putting the leadership present on notice that failure to unite will present early morning victory to Deputy President William Ruto.
Raila said Ruto’s claim to represent ‘hustlers’ was meant to hoodwink vulnerable groups into supporting his bid. He said his team will apply the tactics used by late Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli, because it cannot be business as usual.
“We have a budget of 2 trillion plus, but most of it will be stolen. We do not lack. Money is stolen. We will stop all opportunities of theft and you will see for yourselves what we can do with the little we have. Magufuli did in Tanzania in five years, we can do it too.”
He complained that stolen money was creating confusion in Kenya’s political scene. He said he had come along away with Kalonzo, and would not make a mistake of separating with him. Raila criticised former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, saying he denied them justice when they filed a petition against the 2013 presidential election results.
“We have stood for justice, myself and Kalonzo. In 2013, we took evidence of electoral theft, they said we were late. Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga dismissed us, now he is pontificating about justice….”
Earlier this week, Mutunga issued a scathing attack against President Uhuru Kenyatta over his failure to appoint six judges recruited by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
Mutunga urged Kenyatta to resist “those who have built a thriving pettiness cottage industry, completely consumed by the pursuit of personal vendetta, at the expense of the national good and Kenya’s fledgling constitutional democracy”.
But Raila described him as a hypocrite, saying his successor Justice David Maraga went on to affirm NASA’s victory had been stolen in the 2017 presidential election. Raila said they had not given up on leading Kenya, because they have a plan:
“Kalonzo and myself, we cannot separate. We will unite and bring true redemption to Kenya.”
Kalonzo said NASA was still alive, and One Kenya Alliance (OKA) was also on the cards. He said he would not run alone, but on an alliance ticket that would sweep the country clean.
“We are much aware that not a single one of us can run alone and win. But we have allowed every one of us to show their ambition, including Governors Kibwana and Mutua. However, when the trumpet is sounded, you will see for yourself. You will see them standing behind me,” Musyoka said.
At the burial, Ngilu braved hostile mourners to present a unity message to Raila and Kalonzo. She said from her experience, if the opposition approached the election divided, they would essentially be handing Ruto victory.
She said when she vied in 1997, she bagged majority of Kamba votes but ended nowhere. But when in 2002 she united with Mwai Kibaki, Wamalwa Kijana, Raila Odinga and Kalonzo, they easily floored Kenyatta.
“Don’t hate me, I just gave you a message. What will it profit Kamba community to support Kalonzo for presidency and lose? We must agree to unite and work with Raila in order to beat Ruto. Mutua, Kibwana and Kalonzo should come to a negotiating table with Raila and agree on a compromise candidate.”
Suna East MP Junet Mohammed who also spoke at the burial took issue with Maraga for recommending the impeachment of President Kenyatta.
“Maraga is saying the president should be impeached by the same Parliament which he recently, before retiring, termed as unconstitutional. Unconstitutional Parliament can’t impeach a president,” Mohammed said.
Mutua steered clear of 2022 succession debate, he instead called for prudence in government expenditure.
“The government must learn to live within its means. We must stop the culture of having to borrow in order to finance operations. We must as a country be efficient in budgeting,” Dr Mutua said.
Kibwana, whose recorded message was played to the mourners, eulogised the late Ndile as a humble achiever whose works will not be forgotten. Kibwezi West MP Patrick Musimba mourned Ndile as a great and brave patriot who left deep imprints on the sands of time.
Kalembe’s widow Magdalene, together with her children, mourned their father for his commitment to family. At the burial, Raila and Kalonzo told the church off for meddling in BBI politics.
“I am Christian but I beg the church to let us do our politics, let the church do its biblical work, and let the reggae continue. Don’t tell us what to do,” said Kalonzo.
He claimed that it was not the first time the clergy were challenging a review of the constitution: “They did the same in 2010 and Kenyans passed it, nevertheless.”