Raila to follow Kagame script in graft war

Raila Odinga

ODM leader Raila Odinga with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on March 17, 2022. 

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • Mr Odinga claims the Judiciary has been infiltrated by a cartel of lawyers and judges.
  • Recalling 2007 poll chaos, ODM leader says he will accept defeat if the August election is free and fair.

Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga on Wednesday pledged to accept defeat in a free and fair poll this August as he recalled the disputed 2007 election that plunged the country into chaos.

If elected, he vowed to borrow heavily from President Paul Kagame’s strategy against corruption in Rwanda, saying Kenya loses more than Sh700 billion to graft annually.

Speaking at Chatham House in London, the ODM leader said the violence that erupted across the country after the bungled election 15 years ago had offered valuable lessons on democracy.

He remained hopeful that the August 9 elections would be fair, saying he had shared his views with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to ensure a transparent process.

“We will accept the results, ether way. In 2007, we suffered when the unexpected happened. It has been a long road ever since and we hope it won’t happen again,” said Mr Odinga.

“Kenyans paid a very heavy price. We said that never again will that happen in our nation. Sadly, subsequent experiences have not been much different, but we are looking forward to a better future,” he added.

Mr Odinga pledged to clean up the Judiciary, if elected, terming it as the weakest link in the fight against graft. He promised “to jail” even his close family members should they be implicated. 

Mr Odinga claimed the Judiciary has been infiltrated by a cartel of lawyers and judges, who connive to defeat justice. This cartel, he noted, has continued to frustrate the fight against corruption and other crimes in the country. 

“We have a corrupt Judiciary that gives easy bail terms to suspects; where cases are never listed for hearing for years. Cases taken to court in 2018 are yet to be determined. Investigative agencies should also do a better job,” he said.

The Azimio flag bearer said nobody would be indispensable in his administration, adding that he would mount a ruthless fight against corruption.  

“If you want to run a successful campaign against corruption, start with yourself. If any member of your family is engaged in graft, the law must be applied. I will follow what President Kagame did to his relatives . 

“If you take those kinds of actions then people will begin to know that it is not business as usual with corruption,” said Mr Odinga. 

He pointed an accusing finger at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions saying it had failed to play its role effectively even when all the evidence had been made available.

He lamented that many graft suspects have never been charged due to unnecessary delays by the ODPP. The ODM leader vowed to clean up the “rotten” system. 

“We will review all processes from the police station to the Judiciary to ensure our system works properly in the interest of our people,” Mr Odinga said. 

He, however, admitted that war on graft has been politicised, making it hard to effectively discharge justice. He said he would bank on his track record in calling out the corrupt and “clean pair of hands” to fight graft. 

“When I was the Prime Minister, I suspended two ministers in the grand coalition government but because of internal divisions, they were saved by my partner,” said Mr Odinga. 

He absolved President Kenyatta from blame in the fight against graft, saying he was unable to execute the mandate effectively because of a divided government. He said the President was being undermined by his deputy, who was basically “an opposition within the government”.