Political debt: Raila says it's payback time from Mt Kenya

Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga during the national launch of the BBI signature collection exercise at KICC in Nairobi County.

Photo credit: PSCU

What you need to know:

  • Debunking the dynasty narrative being advanced by Dr Ruto, Mr Odinga said it is a classic case of logical nonsense.
  • He told Mt Kenya voters to treat Dr Ruto with high suspicion “and ignore his opposition to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).”

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Monday reminded the Mt Kenya voters that they have his political debt, which should be settled before that of Deputy President William Ruto. 

He added that the debt is cumulative since it spans 57 years ago when his father, the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga helped the nation’s founding father Jomo Kenyatta to ascend to the presidency before he himself backed Mwai Kibaki for president in 2002.

“I hear that Dr Ruto is demanding settlement of his political debt from you. His is only seven years old while mine is 57 years old… He should not jump the line, I am ahead of him and I know you will pay me first,” he said.

Mr Odinga was pitching his political ambitions for 2022 to the restive vote rich region currently perceived to be Dr Ruto’s to lose.

Though he fell short of announcing that he will be vying for the presidency, Mr Odinga’s projections of thought were heavily pregnant with his candidature, never at any point of the interview setting his eyes off Dr Ruto who is billed to be his main competitor in the 2022 duel.

“Dr Ruto stands for nothing in ideology and policy. He is only pulling a stunt on Kenyans that he is a hustler. A hustler who lives in an upmarket and drives top-of-the-range vehicles and occasionally flying own choppers coming down to the poor to give the wheelbarrows and mikokoteni is simply an insult,” he said.

Debunking the dynasty narrative being advanced by Dr Ruto, he said it is a classic case of logical nonsense.

“Look at it this way, founding father Kenyatta was of humble beginnings who was even jailed for agitating for self-rule. His successor Daniel Moi was a teacher who was born in a very poor family while Mr Kibaki was once a tout who had been chased from school over school fees. The current president was even selling French beans outside Blue post hotel. Just like the way he has worked his way up, though suspiciously, it is the very same way all of us had our beginnings,” he said adding that he at one time travelled as an illegal immigrant through seas and oceans to search for education.

He said the Hustler narrative as authored by Dr Ruto is fake and that which only serves to disintegrate the country along class lines — a recipe for hatred that can lead to anarchy.

Mr Odinga wants Dr Ruto to rise above political rhetoric of promising heaven to Mt Kenya people without offering roadmaps and policy-backed explainers.

Political problem

He told Mt Kenya voters to treat Dr Ruto with high suspicion “and ignore his opposition to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).”

He said BBI is a godsend happening in the region that has been demanding fair allocation of resources and opportunities based on population strength.

On December 30, Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata wrote an open letter to President Kenyatta warning him that BBI was facing 80 per cent opposition in Mt Kenya region and was bound to flop should it be subjected to a referendum.

But Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua immediately dismissed Mr Odinga as “a hard sell and a political problem in Mt Kenya,” even as nominated MP Maina Kamanda celebrated him as “visionary, well-meaning and the best bet for the region.”

Mr Gachagua said “the idea of Mr Odinga being our saviour is not only a silly thought, but the stuff that can make a great horror movie.”

Mr Odinga soldiered on in his endearment charm to the region saying he was instrumental in helping Mr Kibaki develop Mt Kenya when he served as his Prime Minister in 2008/13 reign.

“I was behind the Thika Superhighway marvel and the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). I was the brain behind his performance,” he pitched.

While Dr Ruto and his Tangatanga brigade accuse the March 2018 Handshake between Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga for slowed pace of service delivery, the former premier yesterday called it bluff, saying Jubilee is the party in power and has the president and his deputy as the office bearers.

“The two should solve their own problems. I don't want to meddle in their personal differences,” he said.

Mr Odinga defended President Kenyatta as a man who is working under difficult circumstances of being opposed by his deputy.