NAKURU, Kenya, May 6 – Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi tore into Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Sunday, describing him as part of the old guard that should retire alongside President Mwai Kibaki later this year.
Mudavadi, who spoke in Nakuru in his first political rally since ditching Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) to join UDF, said it was time the PM quit and left politics for a new generation.
He said it was imperative for Odinga to retire because his principal coalition partner, President Kibaki, is due for retirement at the end of his second term.
“Kibaki is retiring because the constitution says he must retire. We want Kenyans through the ballot to also tell his co-principal in the coalition government to retire because we want fresh politics,” Mudavadi said in his sustained public criticism of Odinga.
He did not however refer to Odinga by name throughout his speech at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru, but it was clear he was referring to the PM when he said ‘Kibaki’s coalition partner.’
“We want fresh politics; We want fresh ideas. That is why we want to move on,” Mudavadi said to a cheerful crowd that chanted UDF! UDF! and urged… tell him! in an apparent reference to the prime minister who fell out with him over the nomination rules in ODM where Mudavadi had wanted to contest for the presidency when President Kibaki retires at the end of this year.
Mudavadi did not mince his word in portraying Odinga as a dictator often stating “you cannot hold the society hostage because of the wrongs of your past.”
“We can’t be held in captivity emotionally and psychologically by individuals. Even I cannot hold any one in captivity,” he said. “We want politics where one must not look around before he mentions someone’s name.”
Describing Odinga as a politician who always wants to blame others for past mistakes, Mudavadi said; “We should not be constantly blaming somebody else. It is not your fault that your father went to school without shoes, it is the circumstances and you cannot be blamed for it.
He described himself as the best suited presidential candidate who can rescue Kenyans from mistakes of past governments, including mismanagement and corruption which he blamed on bad governance.
“I can be the alternative to bring harmony and reconciliation in our politics,” he said.
Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament and politicians accompanying him at the rally blamed Odinga for hiring goons to heckle Mudavadi when he attended the funeral of Nairobi Mayor George Aladwa’s father in Sabatia on Saturday.
Political activist Stanley Livondo was more emphatic and stated that he knew the youths whom he said had been hired by ODM from Nairobi. He gave names of youths who alleged caused mayhem at the funeral service.
“I know them by name, and if the police want me to present them, I will because these are people I know. They were hired by ODM and we all saw them,” Livondo said.
Mudavadi was heckled by youths chanting ODM slogans when he briefly attended the funeral service and left shortly before Odinga arrived.
Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale who equally tore into the Prime Minister at the funeral Saturday went on with his salvos on Sunday, this time round telling Odinga to stop interfering with the Medical Services Ministry which is embroiled in a Sh4 billion scandal pitting the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).
Today, I have just learnt that (Medical Services Minister Anyang’) Nyong’o has reinstated the NHIF board which was suspended by the Head of the Civil Service Francis Kimemia. I know Nyong’o takes orders from the Prime Minister and this is a confirmation of what kind of a Raila presidency we will have,” he said. “I want to tell you that I will fight it in Parliament and that board must go and even Nyong’o must go.”
He said he would also oppose three nominees of the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) including Mumo Matemu whose names are due to be tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.
Former cabinet Minister Mukhisa Kituyi too backed Mudavadi’s sentiments that Odinga needs to quit politics.
“The old people should leave leadership to the new generation, things have changed and politics should change’” Kituyi said.