Raila attacks 'corrupt' Jubilee

ODM leader Raila Odinga at Nairobi Serena Hotel on January 26, 2021.

ODM leader Raila Odinga at Nairobi Serena Hotel on January 26, 2021.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga yesterday intensified his attacks on the Jubilee government, reviving criticism of the standard gauge railway, which he called a fraud.

Mr Odinga said the project was conceived during the Grand Coalition Government at his office as prime minister.

“It was even awarded to a contractor at $2.7 billion but what did they do when they came to power? They cancelled the contract,” Mr Odinga said.

He added that when Jubilee took office in 2013, “they re-tendered it and awarded it at $3.5 billion. It went to $4 billion then to $4.3 billion. So it is finished, but at what cost?”

The ODM leader said inflating the cost of the project is main reason for the high costs of using the railway.

“This could not have happened under the Grand Coalition Government,” he said at Serena Hotel, Nairobi where he held a meeting with university student leaders, drumming up support for the Building Bridges Initiative.

Though the speech was directed at Deputy President Willliam Ruto, it could also be seen as targeting President Uhuru Kenyatta.

'Embarrass' president

On Sunday, Dr Ruto accused Mr Odinga of “embarrassing Mr Kenyatta with his attacks on the government”, even as his allies said the buck stops with the President over any Jubilee failures.

Using the analogy of a driver and conductor, Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua asked the crowd in Dagoretti who should be held responsible when the matatu is involved in an accident.

Mr Odinga, who was accompanied by Senate Minority Leader James Orengo and MPs Esther Passaris (Nairobi Woman Representative), Mishi Mboko (Likoni), Abdulswamad Nassir (Mvita) and businesswoman Agnes Kagure, talked of the need to come up with society transformative programmes in order to make Kenya middle income economy “instead of giving young people wheelbarrows”.

“The Grand Coalition Government came up with Vision 2030. Our railway would run from Mombasa to Kampala,” he said.

He accused Dr Ruto of “forgetting what he promised Kenyans during the campaigns as he now talks of wheelbarrows”.

“This is hypocrisy. We must not allow corruption flourish. The high level of corruption continues to impoverish our people,” Mr Odinga said.