No, thanks: Raila, Gachagua tell clergy over calls for handshake

Raila Odinga and Rigathi Gachagua

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. The two have maintained hardline stances on proposed talks between the opposition and the government.

Photo credit: Nation Media Group

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leader Raila Odinga have maintained their hardline stances on proposed talks between the government and the opposition.

Mr Odinga has termed as an “insult to the intelligence of Kenyans” claims by a section of Kenya Kwanza leaders that the opposition was staging protests in a bid to join government through a ‘handshake.’

Addressing Journalists at his Capitol Hill office in Nairobi on Thursday, Mr Odinga who maintained a hard stance on calls by the clergy for dialogue with President William Ruto insisted that all he wants is the truth about last year’s election and a solution to his demands.

“Kenya Kwanza has continued to claim that all we are looking for is a handshake. We emphatically refute these unfounded rumours that we are protesting to improve the lives of Kenyans because we want a handshake. This is an insult to the intelligence of Kenyans.”

“We cannot and we will not participate in handshake with an illegitimate regime,” said Mr Odinga, adding: “our answer to the Clergy is in the Gospel of John 8:32.”

Mr Gachagua, also responding to calls by the clergy for dialogue between Mr Odinga and Dr Ruto, said the government is not willing to hold negotiation talks with Mr Odinga over calls for power sharing.

He said the religious leaders should instead convene a meeting with Mr Odinga and urge him to stop the mass protests.

“We want to tell members of the clergy that we have heard you and we respect you. But why are you telling us to hold dialogue with someone who has been blackmailing us? We are telling the clergy not to request us to sanction blackmail and impunity,” said Mr Gachagua.

He said Mr Odinga has fuelled chaos in the country that has led to theft and destruction of properties worth billions of shillings, adding that the government is not interested in discussing with him the outcome of the August 9 General Election.

“Let them [the clergy] look for that person and pray for him so that God helps him to move away from the spirit of destruction and impunity. After all, where do we even start that dialogue?” Mr Gachagua said.

He spoke at Sabasaba primary school on Thursday in Murang’a during the burial ceremony of Maragua MP Mary Wamaua’s mother – Diana Wanjiku Njuya.

Mr Gachagua said President William Ruto’s administration will not give in to the mass protests, adding that they are meant to loot properties and derail efforts made to revive the country’s economy.

“He is blackmailing us into talks yet you are requesting us to fall into that trap. We are asking our spiritual leaders to do the right thing by calling Raila Odinga and telling him to stop the destruction of property and looting of items,” he said.

Azimio demands

“All that Azimio is looking for with regard to electoral justice is the truth,” said Mr Odinga.

The truth, he noted, includes the opening of the servers for a forensic audit of the election results; tangible actions by the regime to lower the cost of living, restoring the subsidies on fuel, electricity, education and food, stopping the unilateral reconstitution of the IEBC, reinstating the four IEBC commissioners, ending the tribalization of the public service appointments and cancelling the appointment of 51 CASs that he said has no constitutional basis.

He also lashed out the Executive Director of the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) Ezra Chiloba, accusing him of issuing an illegal and unconstitutional order censoring the media and threatening sanctions for their truthful reporting of their demonstrations.

“We agree with democrats around the globe that democracy dies in darkness. With this action, Mr Ruto is opening the full dictator’s playbook to kill Kenya’s democracy. We in Azimio will not and cannot allow Ruto to take us to the dark days of yesterday,” the former premier said.

He also condemned what he termed as the illegal arrest of minority leaders Opiyo Wandayi and Stewart Madzayo alongside other MPs, MCAs, and activists who have since been charged.

“These patriotic Kenyans who have been arrested have done nothing wrong. We demand that the charges be dropped unconditionally with immediate effect.”