Raila, Wetang'ula meet Uhuru, DP Ruto for talks at State House

Raila, Wetang'ula meet Uhuru, DP Ruto for talks at State House

What you need to know:

  • Mr Odinga had just arrived in a chopper as a guest at the burial ceremony for Zipporah Lemein, wife of Narok’s first post-independence senator, Philip Lemein.
  • He told mourners he had a received a call from State House to attend a meeting with the President at 2pm.
  • According to Mr Odinga, the meeting is meant to address some of the issues raised by his Cord coalition, top among them its position on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Cord leaders Raila Odinga and Moses Wetang’ula have met with President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto at State House in Nairobi.

Earlier Tuesday, Mr Odinga hastily left a burial ceremony in Narok for the State House meeting, ahead of Madaraka Day celebrations on Wednesday.

President Kenyatta also hosted a State luncheon to honour visiting Republic of Korea President Park Geun-hye.

After the luncheon at State House, Nairobi, the President, accompanied by Deputy President William Ruto, held a brief meeting with Mr Odinga, who was accompanied by Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetang’ula.

“The President invited Mr Odinga and Mr Wetang’ula to the national Madaraka Day celebrations to be held in Nakuru County tomorrow (Wednesday),” said State House spokesperson Manoah Esipisu in a statement.

Cord also plans to hold a public meeting parallel to the official celebrations to be presided over by President Kenyatta at Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium.

Mr Odinga had just arrived in a chopper as a guest at the burial ceremony for Zipporah Lemein, wife of Narok’s first post-independence senator, Philip Lemein, in Lenana, near Narok Town, when he requested to be excused to attend the State House meeting.

He told mourners he had received a call from State House to attend a meeting with the President at 2pm.

“I apologise because I have to leave immediately… I have received a call from State House to meet the President, which is very good for all of us.

ISSUES OF CONCERN

Mr Odinga said he was happy about President Kenyatta's invitation, saying Cord had been asking for a dialogue on the issues of concern to the opposition coalition.

“I have told the President several times that let us talk and iron out these very important issues we are raising and I am happy he has agreed and he has invited me to meet him today,” he said.

He called for patience as his team meets the President. “Wait for my word after the meeting on what we should do,” he told the mourners.

Cord wants officials of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) kicked out of office ahead of the next general elections.

Supporters of the coalition, led by their principals, have been holding weekly protests in Nairobi and other towns over the matter.

On Tuesday, Mr Odinga expressed hope the meeting would result in a consensus and get the two political sides to unlock the current stalemate over the electoral commission and other issues.

“If we agree with the President, that will be good for the country and if we disagree, I will inform the nation later today and we will continue with what we started and fight even harder,” he said.

The Cord leader was accompanied by Suna East MP Junet Mohamed and his Kitutu Masaba counterpart Timothy Bosire.

Mr Mohamed said the meeting would determine whether Cord would carry on with its planned parallel Madaraka Day meeting on Wednesday.

In his brief remarks to mourners, Mr Odinga had insisted that IEBC commissioners must leave office, arguing that they had lost credibility following their implication in the "Chickengate" scam.

He said the commissioners appointed during his time as prime minister were of good repute at the time they assumed office.

“I did not know they were bad and could easily be manipulated because they were good at first but they changed later,” he said.

Kama mtoto alikuwa mzuri na akabadilika akawa mtukutu, basi lazima waondoke” (If a child was initially good but later turns into a rogue then he cannot be spared), the Cord leader said.

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