Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leaders have cautioned that they are ready to embark on their role of opposition if their Jubilee coalition partners continue to undermine them.
Led by Senate Minority Leader James Orengo, they blamed a section of Jubilee leaders of attempting to derail the handshake initiative between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga.
Mr Orengo accused Deputy President William Ruto of using his lieutenants to derail the close working relationship that has seen the country attain a number of milestones and unity.
"As ODM, we made a choice to support and work with the government. But we will only do so when they are on the right track. If they keep on provoking us, then we are ready to go to the trenches for the sake of Kenyans who are looking up to us," Mr Orengo said during a funeral service in Ulumbi village in Gem, Siaya County on Saturday.
He called on President Kenyatta — as the commander-in-chief — to act and crack the whip on his deputy for constantly undermining his authority and criticising government policies and directives.
Make a choice
"The deputy president of the Republic of Kenya has a permanent seat in the Cabinet and the Constitution requires the Cabinet to act collectively. The time has come for him to make a choice just like the first vice president Jaramogi Oginga Odinga did when he had an ideological difference with President Jomo Kenyatta," Mr Orengo stated.
He said it is unfair for DP Ruto’s supporters to blame Mr Odinga for government failures when neither he nor any ODM member sits in the Cabinet.
Mr Orengo dismissed claims that the handshake is about the 2022 elections and called on Kenyans to take their time to read and understand the contents of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) document and “not to rely on misinformation being peddled by Dr Ruto supporters”.
"If Ruto does not want to support BBI, he can concentrate on the implementation of the Big Four agenda which aims at transforming the key sectors of the economy," he said.
Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo, however, said that Mt Kenya residents stand to benefit more if the BBI report is adopted and passed as it is.
"It is now their turn to reciprocate and back the presidential bid of Mr Odinga who declared ‘Kibaki tosha’ while Mzee Jaramogi refused to take power until Jomo Kenyatta was released from detention," Mr Odhiambo said.
Siaya Woman Representative Christine Ombaka on her side castigated the government for engaging in too much borrowing and burdening Kenyan tax-payers.
“The debt ceiling has reached a record high and this should not be left to continue,” Mrs Ombaka said.
Mr Orengo also called on the government not to continue burdening Kenyans with more taxes as they strive to overcome the hardships brought about by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.