, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 28 – Members of Parliament allied to the two main presidential candidates traded barbs on Saturday over ‘celebration’ claims following the ICC verdict on Monday.
The two camps struggled to get their messages across after the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled this week that Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto should stand trial for their alleged role in 2007-8 post-election violence.
Orange Democratic Party MPs strongly defended Prime Minister Raila Odinga against accusations that he was behind the woes surrounding Uhuru and Ruto at The Hague.
“These are dishonest people because most of them supported the ICC process in Parliament,” said Kanduyi MP Alfred Khangati.
But MPs allied to Uhuru who held a major peace rally at Ruiru Stadium asked ODM MPs to take Ida Odinga’s advice on the ICC process and tread carefully on the issue.
“We welcome Raila’s wife statement of compassion but this amounts to nothing if the PM and his party are busy adding fuel to the fire,” said Taveta MP Naomi Shaban.
“There will be no shortcut to the presidency and those being pushed by outsiders should know that they will not go far.”
Ida on Friday said she shares in the anguish that the families of Uhuru, Ruto, Joshua arap Sang and Francis Muthaura are being subjected to and urged for mechanisms to allow the cases moved to Kenya.
Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka who was also at the Ruiru meeting dismissed calls by ODM MPs and a section of civil society organizations demanding that Uhuru relinquishes the Deputy PM position.
Musyoka said that the Grand Coalition Government will come to an end if Uhuru bows to pressure and resigns as Deputy Prime Minister.
“You should not listen to these voices as you will disappoint many Kenyans, we will use the law to deal with them,” he said.
The ODM MPs who spoke during the burial of Hamisi MP George Khaniri’s brother at Kapsotik, Vihiga County urged the PM not to be intimidated by opponents but concentrate his efforts on strategies to succeed President Kibaki.
“They were loud in saying let’s go to The Hague and now they are accusing Raila of scheming for the downfall of some of those whose charges have been confirmed by the ICC,” Khangati said.
“These people preferred ICC because they thought the court takes long to finalize cases, but they now have turned the heat on the Premier after realizing how swift the court can be,” said Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga steered clear of the ICC but instead expressed optimism that ODM will win the forthcoming general elections decisively and form the next government.
“ODM is headed to better times and will put in place strategies that will see it win the Presidency and have majority seats in the senate, national assembly and the county governments,” he said.
COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli and Khaniri endorsed Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi’s presidential bid saying he was best suited to take over from President Kibaki.
“Even though Raila is my brother in law, his chances of winning the presidency are quite slim,” said Atwoli.
Khaniri said Mudavadi has a track record that Kenyans can associate with.
“Unlike before, Mudavadi’s chances of winning the presidency are clear cut,” he said.