5 demands Raila issued to Uhuru before handshake talks
National Super Alliance (NASA) leader Raila Odinga has finally disclosed that he accepted dialogue with President Uhuru Kenyatta after the latter agreed to a five-point agenda for the discussions.
During a meet-the-people tour in Kakamega town yesterday, Raila said after the President’s swearing-in last year, he was approached by his (Uhuru’s) handlers for dialogue to end the political impasse facing the country.
But before he accepted the offer, he set some ground rules.
“I told them that dialogue could only be between the two of us, which they agreed,” he said.
Former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale had questioned Raila’s decision to leave his NASA co-principals out of the talks.
Raila said his colleagues – Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula – should be asking what he brought from the talks.
“When a father goes out early in the morning to hunt, he does not need to tell his children that he is going to hunt. The children should ask him what he has brought home on his return,” he said.
Raila said after he met Uhuru, he only agreed to start dialogue after the President accepted his five-point agenda.
The five issues are election malpractices, corruption, tribalism, devolution and security.
The former premier defended the dialogue and the eventual handshake as “good for the NASA regions and the Opposition zones” and said the handshake was meant to bring development to these areas.
Raila said they agreed on electoral reforms ahead of the 2022 elections, noting that without the changes, the next polls would be a far-fetched exercise.
In an apparent response to those opposed to the current clamour for electoral and constitutional change, he hinted that the calls were invalid if the two of them had agreed to the changes.
“If Uhuru and I agreed to the changes, who are you to try to be an obstacle?” he asked.
Legislators allied to the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party have in the recent past called for constitutional changes to create the position of Prime Minister. The call has received opposition from Deputy President William Ruto.
“We could not afford to sit and wait for 2022 while our people continued to be left out of development. I was not ready to wait for the next election as my people suffered,” he said.
The handshake at Harambee House two months ago has been the talk of many in the Opposition, with cracks emerging among NASA co-principals.
Kalonzo, Mudavadi and Wetang’ula expressed displeasure with Raila after he left them out of the meeting that culminated in the handshake.
Wetang’ula, a former Senate minority leader, has openly declared that his political relationship with Raila is over, adding that “the time has come when everyone should go his way”.