Raila backs plan by Ruto to probe 2022 presidential poll intrigues

ODM leader Raila Odinga (right) is received by Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir

ODM leader Raila Odinga (right) is received by Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir on January 6, 2023.

Photo credit: Wachira Mwangi | Nation Media Group

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition leader Raila Odinga has backed a plan by President William Ruto to have the August 2022 presidential election audited, saying Kenyans deserve to know the truth.

At the same time, he wants Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati charged with crimes against humanity at the Hague over the presidential poll.

He said Kenyans want justice, hence the need to know what transpired at the national tallying centre at the Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi, describing last year as the worst for the country.

“When we heard the ruling MPs demanding a probe into the August 2022 presidential poll, we breathed a sigh of relief and said, ‘praise be to God (Alhamdulillah)’. As Azimio, we want justice, you all saw the drama that transpired at the Bomas of Kenya last year. We must clean the mess and ensure Mr Chebukati is charged at the Hague for crimes against humanity,” Mr Odinga said during a meeting with elected leaders and ODM grassroots officials in Mombasa.

He said the four commissioners who dissented—Ms Juliana Cherera, Mr Justus Nyang’aya, Mr Francis Wanderi and Ms Irene Masit—have been crucified and charged, yet Mr Chebukati should take responsibility. Ms Cherera (vice chair), Mr Nyang’aya, and Mr Wanderi resigned from the IEBC, while Ms Masit stayed on, choosing to face Court of Appeal judge Aggrey Muchelule-led tribunal probing their conduct. 

“Mr Chebukati and his colleagues committed the worst crimes and evil. We are ready for the probe so that the truth is out. We want justice before we clean the mess. It will be unnecessary for Kenyans to participate in the 2027 General Election without cleaning Mr Chebukati’s mess.” 

Mr Odinga said Kenyans are still angry over the August polls and urged his supporters not to lose hope, as he will not retire from active politics.

Chaotic scenes at the Bomas of Kenya ahead of the declaration of Dr William Ruto as the President-elect

Chaotic scenes at the Bomas of Kenya ahead of the declaration of Dr William Ruto as the President-elect on August 15.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Governors defended

Meanwhile, Mr Odinga defended Azimio governors who are working closely with the Kenya Kwanza administration, saying he has given them the green light. 

He, however, cautioned them against being turned into beggars, saying the national government is obliged to disburse funds to the counties.

Mr Odinga, who jetted into the country on Wednesday from Comoros, said the county chiefs must work with the government as enshrined in the Constitution.

Coast ODM governors, led by Abdulswamad Nassir (Mombasa) and Gideon Mung’aro (Kilifi), have been warming up to the ruling party. The two had defended their dalliance with the President, saying it’s for the sake of the development of the region. 

President William Ruto shakes hands with Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir

President William Ruto shakes hands with Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir on November 18, 2022.

Photo credit: Pool

Mr Nassir, MPs Badi Twalib (Jomvu), Rashid Bedzimba (Kisauni), Masoud Machele (Mvita), Omar Mwinyi (Changamwe) and Senator Mohammed Faki were among the leaders who met with Mr Odinga yesterday.

The former prime minister said Governor Nassir who was in the State House on New Year’s eve is still in ODM. However, he said the ruling party is trying to sway the Azimio-elected leaders with goodies. 

“The relationship between the County and National Government is in the constitution. The two are distinct but must cooperate and work together. That is why Governors must work with the national government; it doesn't mean they are or have defected to UDA or the Kenya Kwanza coalition. The governor has to work with the national government because it’s in the constitution,” said Mr Odinga. 

“Someone enters your house and then starts seducing your wife. Be careful. But Mr Nassir was in the State House because he was permitted by the party leader. Let this issue of defecting stop. All ODM governors are allowed by the party to work with the Head of State,” he added.

Mr Odinga dismissed any fallout in the Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya Coalition Party warning party officials against backbiting.

He urged party officials to ensure the coalition is strong and work together as a team. 

He said the Kenya Kwanza leadership has changed the church into a political arena.

“After prayers, they start politicking. Let the church be a place of worship. Mr Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua should stop politics in places of worship,” he added. 

Mombasa leaders led by Mr Nassir swore to stick by their party. MPs led by Badi Twalib (Jomvu), Rashid Bedzimba (Kisauni), Masoud Machele (Mvita), Omar Mwinyi (Changagmwe) and senator Mohammed Faki swore to stick by their party leaders.

“We will remain in our party. This is your base. We clinched all five sub-counties except Nyali and the majority of the ward representatives are in ODM. Mr Odinga, you are still young, you can still vie, and you are our political Messi. We won't let you down. No one can stop us from politicising,” said Mr Twalib.

Mr Bedzimba said Mombasa is an ODM zone. 

“We are not easily swayed. We won't let down our political party. Don't be swayed by small goodies to desert ODM,” he added. 

Mr Machele said party loyalty to the party is crucial. 

“We will remain in ODM. They will come and go but we will not defect from ODM,” he said.

Speaker Aharub Khatri said ODM has managed to lure independent elected leaders from the County Assembly.

“We are solely behind you to give us directions. Azimio is not dead and it will not die. We had a by-election in Shella ward and we won, defeating the ruling party despite using money, and resources. The will of the people won. Coast region still has faith in you and they all know you won the polls,” said Mr Khatri. 

Senator Mohammed Faki rooted for a vibrant opposition party.

“The government is in confusion, you all saw the state address where the Head of State kept lying to Kenyans. He said he fired former CID boss George Kinoti when had earlier claimed he had resigned. So which is which? We won't be swayed. We are in ODM,” he said. 

Mombasa deputy governor Mr Francis Thoya urged ODM party leaders to work hard at the grassroots through mobilization to popularize the party.