It is Official:Raila, Kalonzo told to return 10 GK cars

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railonzoThe government has repossessed 10 official vehicles from former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka.

The Cord leaders were left with two official cars and 12 security officers each.

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The Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government, Mr Joseph ole Lenku, asked for the surrender of the vehicles before Mr Odinga flew back into the country on Wednesday evening after a trip to the US.

He, however, said Mr Odinga was still entitled to VIP privileges because of the position he held in the last government.

Mr Lenku, citing government VIP policy, had written to Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka on July 26 asking them to surrender the vehicles which they had been allocated when they were in office.

Mr Odinga was required to hand over eight cars — three Toyota Prados, three Mercedez Benzes, one Range Rover and a Nissan Sunny — all bearing GK numbers. Except for the Nissan Sunny, the private registration numbers for the vehicles were provided.

Mr Musyoka was asked to surrender two government cars, both of them Toyota Prados. The letters asked the two to contact Mr Lenku in case of any questions.

“In line with the government policy, I wish to inform you that you have been allocated two government vehicles for use by the security officers attached to you. In view of the above, all other vehicles belonging to the State that are under your custody should be returned to the government,” said Mr Lenku.

In response, Mr Musyoka denied being in possession of any government vehicles. He said that the only government car at his service is a Toyota Prado which drops two security officers to his residence, but which he does not use.

“I have no government vehicle to return since the one which drops security officers is in the possession of a government driver. I have been using my personal car, and most of the times, driving myself,” he said.

The Cabinet Secretary had earlier in the week said that the two were not in unprocedural possession of government vehicles.

He made the clarification after Government spokesman Muthui Kariuki kicked up a storm last week by accusing Mr Odinga of holding on to six government vehicles.

“The cars which were within his possession and outside government policy were returned. There is a VIP policy which outlines how many security officers he should have and no action has been taken to demean the former Prime Minister,” Mr Lenku clarified in Mombasa earlier this week.

On Wednesday night, the ODM leader arrived from a visit to the US through the gate used by ordinary passengers at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Retired presidents

Two months ago, there was uproar after he was stopped from using a lounge reserved for the Deputy President and retired presidents. The government said Mr Odinga could use the VIP lounge reserved for senior government officials.

Speaking after being welcomed by Cord MPs and his supporters, Mr Odinga said he was entitled to some of the privileges he enjoys.

“I am a former Prime Minister of this country and was a co-principal (with retired President Mwai Kibaki) in the Grand Coalition government,” he said after arriving from Texas, USA, where he led 10 Cord governors for talks with potential investors.

The government has also reportedly withdrawn drivers and bodyguards detailed to serving deputy governors and former MPs.

“Like you know, I was away and just heard about these developments. I want to wait for an explanation from government before I can comment,” Mr Odinga said.

Reports by Bernard Namunane, Zadock Angira and Peter Obuya-nation.co.ke

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