I do not fear arrest, says Cord leader Raila Odinga
Cord Leader Raila Odinga has stepped up his criticism of the government and insisted that he will continue with his programme of countrywide rallies without fear of arrest.
He urged Interior Secretary Joseph ole Lenku not to play politics by threatening to arrest Cord leaders.
“I have been arrested many times in this country, arresting me is not an issue; ole Lenku, you have been appointed to do your work, just do it and don’t politicise issues,” Raila said.
Speaking at Neno Evangelist Church, Mombasa, Raila quoted from the Book of Isaiah 1, Verse 18, as he once again called for national dialogue.
“ ‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord, ‘though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool’ “.
Raila declared: “The sovereignty of Kenya lies with the people of Kenya, They can exercise it directly or they can delegate it to other institutions. We are not coming to dialogue with you [government] for our gain but for the benefit of Kenyans.”
His coalition co-principal Moses Wetang’ula said what he characterized as the “Baba Battalion” was on a “listening” mission across the country and will not be cowed by threats to arrest them.
“A dream can be frustrated, it can be delayed, but it can never be killed or defeated. We want a Kenya where everyone has a right to be proud to be a Kenyan. As Cord, we want equal opportunity for all, regardless of your tribe, ethnicity, colour, religion or race,” he said.
Later in Tononoka grounds, Mombasa, Raila said the warning of arrest by ole Lenku will not stop the people of Kenya from demanding dialogue.
“The donkey is tired. It is overburdened and the load has to be reduced – now,” said Raila.Over 30 MPs, governors, senators and MCAs attended the Tononoka meeting.
Speaker after speaker reiterated calls for the disbandment of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, saying it can never preside over a free and fair election process as currently constituted.
Homa Bay senator Otieno Kajwang’ said the electoral body must be restructured if it is to preside over the next General Election.
He said Kenyans are “tired of being hoodwinked at every election”. His sentiments were echoed by Siaya senator James Orengo.
“The Jubilee government is not a government of the people of Kenya. It does not have the face of Kenya,” said Orengo.
Suna East MP Junet Mohamed said the IEBC and the Jubilee government are no different as they have both failed Kenyans.Kisumu senator Anyang’ Nyong’o said the government was not committed to devolution.
These sentiments were echoed by four Coast governors – Hassan Joho (Mombasa), John Mruttu (Taita Taveta), Amason Kingi (Kilifi) and Salim Mvurya (Kwale).
The leaders told President Uhuru to face Kenyans and tell them the truth and not hide behind his foot soldiers.
Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo said Uhuru is out of touch with the reality on the ground, describing him as “a boy who was born with a milk bottle in his mouth”.
“Some jobs are not for boys,” he said. “You must agree to dialogue, or we will force you to agree to dialogue.”
Kakamega senator Bonny Khalwale criticised Uhuru’s effort to reduce some charges in the tourism sector so as to promote local tourism.
He said the sector only earns meaningful sums through foreign currencies like the dollar.
“The Kenyan economy will only improve if the dollar gets into the country. Reducing hotel charges so that the locals come to the Coast will not help. They will not use dollars,” said the senator.
He and Raila accused Uhuru of interfering with the Lands ministry through Lands Secretary Charity Ngilu.Khalwale accused Uhuru of extending historical land injustices.