Raila to give keynote speech at devolution conference

What you need to know:

  • Mr Sifuna confirmed that Mr Odinga had received the invitation from the Council of Governors and is slated to give the main speech.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga will deliver the keynote address at the upcoming devolution conference after President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered that a personal invite be extended to him in the first formal engagement after their March 9 unity deal.

While it is not clear what engagement Mr Odinga will have with President Kenyatta after the deal, the Head of State was on Wednesday said to have asked the Devolution Conference Steering Committee, co-chaired by Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata, to reach out to Mr Odinga.

That Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa was to join the team to head Mr Odinga’s office left many questions unanswered about the new status of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader.

INVITATION
Previously, Mr Odinga has addressed devolution conferences, including the 2015 edition when he made a memorable appeal to President Kenyatta, who was a few seats away from him, to rectify the security situation.

However, it is the team sent to his office on Wednesday that made news.

“The President instructed me and (Ms) Waiguru to deliver the invite. It is part of the handshake agreement to promote unity in the country,” Mr Kang’ata, who is also the Senate Majority Deputy Chief Whip, said.

The team led by Mr Wamalwa, however, did not meet Mr Odinga.

“We were ready to meet Mr Odinga at 11am but when he changed time to 12, we could not attend the meeting because I had other engagements in Nakuru while Ms Waiguru also had some functions to attend,” the Murang’a senator said.

GOVERNORS
The conference, to be held in Kakamega County, will take place between April 23 and 27.

The ODM party leader arrived at his Capitol Hill office some minutes to 12pm in a convoy of five vehicles but there was no sign of Ms Waiguru, Mr Wamalwa or Mr Kang’ata.

Later, ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna addressed journalists who had been waiting for Mr Odinga and Mr Wamalwa from as early as 10am.

“The expectation was that you were to be briefed by Mr Odinga, Mr Wamalwa and Ms Waiguru but the CS had to attend to an urgent meeting in Naivasha hence could not attend the meeting,” Mr Sifuna said.

Mr Sifuna confirmed that Mr Odinga had received the invitation from the Council of Governors and is slated to give the main speech.

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