NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 1 – National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate in last year’s poll, Raila Odinga, has dismissed self-proclaimed National Resistance Movement General, Miguna Miguna, as dishonest and treacherous.
In an interview on Citizen Television’s News Night, the first since the famous March 9 handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta that ended a political turmoil triggered by his parallel inauguration as the People’s President, Odinga said he tried to save Miguna but the outspoken lawyer disrupted the efforts.
“I want you to spare me that question because you know what I tried to do for Miguna and you know how he’s treated me, the kind of things he’s said about me. Please, I don’t want to talk about Miguna!” Odinga told News Night host Hussein Mohamed on Tuesday.
Miguna has blamed Odinga for not defending him yet he was deported from the country because of the role he played in the NASA leader’s “inauguration” at Uhuru Park on January 30 in protest at President Kenyatta’s installation on November 28.
Odinga, however, said NASA will continue seeking for reforms under a joint taskforce established following the March 9 handshake to address electoral injustices and unravel the murder of the poll agency’s technology chief, Chris Msando.
“We’re dealing with issues of deaths like those of Msando and a number of our people who died during the elections,” he said.
According to Odinga, the taskforce will also recommend measures aimed at addressing negative ethnicity.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader denied claims by Bungoma Senator and former coalition partner Moses Wetangula that NASA is desolate.
In his interview on News Night, Odinga refuted reports by Wetangula that he had engineered the FORD-Kenya party leader’s ouster from the Senate Minority leadership position terming the allegations as insincere.
“I don’t want to discuss Wetangula except to say he’s entitled to his views. I’m not a member of the Senate and I have no vote in the Senate but I wrote a letter stating that our leader in the House was Wetangula,” he remarked.
Odinga said he tried unsuccessfully to save Wetangula from removal from the House leadership after the Senate Speaker declined to admit a letter endorsing the Bungoma Senator as NASA’s leader in the Senate.
“The Senate Speaker took a completely different stand saying the letter we wrote was not accompanied by minutes from the NASA Summit. But the original letter which appointed Wetangula didn’t have any minutes,” he explained.
Wetangula fell out with Odinga after the Senate Minority coalition de-whipped him of the much-converted position on March 20 over claims of highhandedness. The Minority Senators replaced him with ODM’s James Orengo (Siaya).
It is after his ouster that Wetangula pronounced NASA as moribund announcing that his political partnership with Odinga had ended.
In his interview on Tuesday, Odinga also distanced himself from claims Deputy President William Ruto was kept in the dark on his March 9 talks with President Kenyatta.
He, however, said that he had purposed to engage with President Kenyatta directly before they both briefed their lieutenants on the way forward with regards to the political impasse that gripped the county following the conclusion of last year’s presidential election.
“I’m not aware that Ruto was not consulted. What I know is that this was meant to be between the two of us who’d contested the election and sworn in separately. I cannot confirm or deny,” he said.
On reports that ODM was restricting its members from engaging Ruto directly, Odinga said Orange House was only cautious against early campaigns.
“We’ve told members that Ruto is the Deputy President and therefore part of the government so if he wanted to visit any constituency they are at liberty to welcome him. What we agreed with Kenyatta is that we aren’t going to talk about 2022 before we fix 2017,” said Odinga.
He said show cause letters issued to Msambweni lawmaker Suleiman Dori and his Malindi counterpart Aisha Jumwa both of whom have publicly declared their support for Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid were meant to enforce party discipline.
“We don’t want to put the country in a campaign mode before addressing issues that led to a crisis in 2017. That is why the party is restraining members from campaigning for 2022.”