Raila: Ruto is a master of double speak

Azimio leader Raila Odinga.

Azimio leader Raila Odinga. I will keep repeating this even if I sound like a broken record: Those seeking leadership positions must guard against inflammatory diatribe during campaigns.

Photo credit: Tonny Omondi | Nation Media Group

Azimio La Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga has accused Deputy President William Ruto of hypocrisy over the allegations that there are plans to rig the August General Election.

The ODM chief said Dr Ruto was contradicting himself arguing that when the former National Super Alliance (Nasa) demanded to have a parallel tallying center in 2017, the DP opposed, wondering what could have changed between then and now.

In an interview with BBC on Tuesday evening, Mr Odinga said his main challenger in the August 9 was not sincere in his claims.

“Deputy President is being very economical with the truth. Last election, when we demanded to be allowed to set up a parallel tallying center, he is on record saying on March 25, 2017 that it would be unconstitutional to have a parallel tallying center. Now he is saying he is going to set up a parallel tallying center. He is living in contradiction,” said the former Prime Minister.

He asked the Wafula Chebukati-led Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to ensure that elections will be free and fair, noting that he has been a victim of rigged polls.

“I have been a victim in the past. At the moment, my demand is for this electoral body to ensure that this coming election is a free, fair and verifiable election,” said Mr Odinga.

According to Mr Odinga, Kenyans are usually being provoked when the electoral process is not transparent pushing them to the streets.

“Kenyans don’t want to just wake up one day and go to the streets and begin to engage in violence. I think it is the consequence of the unfairness in the electoral process that people actually protest against,” he said.

Pressed to assure Kenyans that there will be no political interference and rigging as had been claimed by the deputy president, the former premier said he has no such powers as he is not part of the electoral agency.

“I cannot give assurance because I am not part of the electoral commission. IEBC is supposed to be an independent body that is not dictated to or directed by any other side,” said Mr Odinga.

Speaking at the Karson Institute for Race, Peace and Social Justice in Loyola University in Maryland during his tour of the US last week, the Dr Ruto said different government agencies were trying to manipulate people’s decisions and make decisions on their behalf.

“As a leader, I have taken the position to speak against any attempts to try and straitjacket people into predetermined outcomes. We would have expected to do this without the baggage of blackmail and intimidation that is going on but unfortunately that is where we are,” said Dr Ruto.

At the same time, the ODM leader defended his social protection program saying that when he is elected, he will not tolerate corruption and by doing so, he will get enough funds for the program.

Mr Odinga assured of his commitment to give Sh 6,000 monthly stipend to poor families under his social welfare protection program.

“I am going to be ruthless about corruption because through graft, a lot of funds are lost in our country. President Uhuru Kenyatta has estimated that Sh2 billion daily that works out to be Sh700 billion annually. That is more than what I require,” said Mr Odinga adding that he is ready to be held accountable if he fails to live up to his pledges.

He further pointed finger at the Judiciary for the extra judicial killings witnessed in the country arguing that the manner in which some cases are handled in courts, forces people to take law into their hands.

“Failure of our criminal justice system that sometimes focus people take law into their hands when for example, it is a criminal who is known as a murderer is charged then given bail. The case is never heard at all. Goes on bragging around and tomorrow goes on to kill again. People feel frustrated,” said Mr Odinga.

The Opposition chief said under Babacare, the focus will be on affordability and accessibility of healthcare countrywide with well remunerated personnel.

“Apart from having the universal healthcare, facilities will be to closer to the people and well-equipped. You find mothers dying because they cannot reach health facilities to give birth. We want to bring all these to an end.”

The Azimio la Umoja presidential hopeful said Kenyans should hold him accountable for his promises after the elections.
“I said recently that the pledges that I’m making are pledges that I intend to keep and this is going to be like a contract between me and the people of Kenya,” he said.

Mr Odinga also waded into the ongoing crisis between Ukraine and Russia terming it ‘unacceptable’.

“It is most unfortunate that a sovereign country can just decide to go and invade another sovereign country and cause such suffering to the people. It is completely unacceptable,” he said.

He noted that he backs the resolutions condemning Russia without any reservation.


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