NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 23 – Kirinyaga Central MP David Gitari found himself in trouble during Wednesday’s National Assembly sitting after his fellow legislators reprimanded him over an explanation he sought from the government over former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s month-long trip to the US.
Gitari wanted National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale to explain how Odinga secured the trip, which is being coordinated by the African Presidential Centre at the Boston University.
The legislator said the Boston programme is only meant for former democratically elected Heads of State who have since retired from active politics.
He said Odinga has never been a Head of State and only shared power with Mwai Kibaki under a coalition pact, so he did not qualify for the programme.
“In his statement, the Leader of Majority should clarify the status that qualified the former Prime Minister to attend the Boston University-based programme for former democratically elected Heads of State,” he said.
Gitari further wanted Duale to officially confirm that Odinga has retired from active politics and was, therefore restricted from participating in politics or holding a political office in future.
However, Duale stated that he was unable to issue a response to the matter because the former premier’s trip was a private affair.
“Mr Speaker this matter is very, very private and the only person who can give me an answer is my good friend the former Prime Minister, because this is his private matter, it has nothing to do with government, even the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot give me an answer,” he said.
The Majority Leader added: “When we come back from the June recess, I will have an opportunity to have either lunch or go to his house. He is my old friend… so that he tells me about this leadership programme; but I want to urge you that some statements should not be sent to me; this is a private matter, how do I come in?”
According to the APC website, the centre establishes a forum for African leaders to engage other political, business, academic and public sector leaders regarding Africa’s relation to the world community of nations.
Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) MPs Ken Okoth, John Mbadi, Eseli Simiyu and Ababu Namwamba termed Gitari’s statement as frivolous and one that should never have been approved by the House secretariat.
The Kirinyaga Central MP further infuriated Okoth when he claimed he was being pushed to resign from his Kibra parliamentary seat in 2013 for the CORD presidential candidate to get his way back into the National Assembly. Kibra was hived off Langata Constituency which the former Premier represented in Parliament since 1992.
“Raila Amollo Odinga is not your age mate… show some respect and we are not here to be abused or for the leader we love to be abused. Honourable Duale, thank you for the Honourable response you gave, I salute you,” Okoth responded.
Mbadi added: “What Honourable Gitari asked was in bad taste and should not be allowed in the future because it polarises the country for no reason. Gitari has a lot of issues in Kirinyaga that he is supposed to raise but I have never seen him raise any substantive issue.”
“Honourable Gitari, Mr Speaker, is not just a member of Kirinyaga Central, he is a member of this House and he owes this nation and the Constitution to uphold the honour and dignity of this House. Mr Speaker, this must never be allowed at all, at any time,” stated Namwamba.