, NAIROBI, Kenya, July 11 – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday cautioned opposition leader Raila Odinga against threatening him and challenged Odinga to instead pick up his phone and address his grievances directly to the President.
President Kenyatta said he was not averse to speaking to the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) leader and said his offer for tea was still on the table.
“Stop threatening me. I am unshaken,” he said, “If you want to tell me something give me a call, (and) we will talk but you cannot threaten me,” he made clear.
Odinga, on his return from the United States on May 31, told a rally at Uhuru Park that he had called the Head of State to inform him of his departure three months earlier, indicating that he can indeed reach President Kenyatta on phone should he so wish.
President Kenyatta was responding to ultimatums given to him by members of the CORD fraternity during the July 7 Saba Saba rally in Uhuru Park.
Siaya Senator James Orengo for instance told President Kenyatta that State House is not the safest place, “just ask Idi Amin,” in response to the Head of State’s refusal of their demand for a National Dialogue Conference.
Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama went on to call for the storming of State House after claiming that the general election victory was stolen from them and the impeachment of the President through Parliament as currently constituted would be a near impossible task.
These statements were tempered by Odinga’s fellow CORD Principal Kalonzo Musyoka who said that while the time for dialogue was over, it was time for action in the spirit of peace.
CORD has made a number of demands of the President including the disbandment of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and most notably a national referendum presided over by the United Nations.
An aide to President Kenyatta had on Wednesday indicated that there would be no response forthcoming from the Head of State on CORD’s demands as, “the IEBC matter for instance is before Parliament, so what is there to answer? The President’s job is to govern.”
A response, he said, was better suited coming from the ruling Jubilee coalition.
But the President and his Deputy President William Ruto had made their positions clear on CORD’s previous demands for a National Dialogue Conference; that there would be no power sharing deal.
CORD’s grievances on insecurity, corruption and devolution – a Jubilee Parliamentary Group meeting resolved – were best addressed in Parliament.
Both sides however shunned a consensus building team of MPs chaired by Mbeere South MP Mutava Musyimi in the run up to the Saba Saba rally.
Odinga has also made it clear that he is not interested in a power sharing deal and is only interested in safeguarding the interests of the common man.
Among the actions CORD has threatened to take in the safeguarding of these interests is to boycott overpriced goods as well as Safaricom products should the Integrated Public Safety, Communication and Surveillance System tender single-sourced to them fail to be opened to other bidders – the matter is however before the National Assembly’s Committee on Administration and National Security.