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Why 'handshake' is heading towards headwinds - Mudavadi

By Rawlings Otieno | Published Mon, July 2nd 2018 at 00:00, Updated July 1st 2018 at 22:20 GMT +3
NASA leaders Musalia Mudavadi and Raila Odinga. [Courtesy]

Q: Why have you been silent since the ‘handshake?'

A: I have not been silent! It’s you in media who seem to have a different agenda of exclusion. I have spoken about the need to institutionalise the handshake into an all-inclusive national dialogue. I have even talked about the items for the agenda. I have spoken about it heading into headwinds unless it is depersonalised. I have raised the alarm about the runaway corruption at National Cereals and Produce Board and now at NYS (National Youth Service) and even passionately about the aberrations in the proposed Income Tax Bill.

Q: In your opinion, has the ‘handshake’ achieved anything?

A: It did achieve some thawing in tensions arising from the election contest. But you can already see it is now producing its own tensions out of fear and suspicion. Each side is ratcheting it as an intrusion. This is because it has been personalised rather than being institutionalised to broaden participation. Raila Odinga is being played after he conferred legitimacy to Jubilee.

Q: There were reports that you planned to form an Opposition alliance with other National Super Alliance leaders, leaving Raila out. Is the plan still on course? When should we expect this to happen?

A: What alliance do we need other than what we already have as NASA? No party has officially left NASA. Each member party is strengthening itself after last year's election. Orange Democratic Movement is re-organising. Wiper is rebranding. Amani National Congress (ANC) and Ford-Kenya are working on a merger. All these efforts can only strengthen NASA.

Q: Political analysts argue that you have been clinging on Raila’s coat tails for the last nine years. Is this the truth?

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 A: That is absolute nonsense! Check your records for facts. Nine years ago, we were in the Grand Coalition government after our victory in the 2007 election was stolen. I was Raila’s running mate. In 2013, I ran for presidency just like Raila did. Last year I formed NASA, and Raila and others joined. We chose to front Raila as our candidate. I chaired the NASA campaign. The coat tail I have always held is that of voters, not that of an individual. But many, including Raila and Uhuru, have held my coat tails for support.

Q: Three scandals have rocked the Jubilee administration: The new NYS scam, the Youth Enterprise Development Fund and the National Cereals and Produce Board one. What is your take on the scandals?

A: I have passionately spoken when nobody cared to speak because they were not sure whether or not they would scuttle the 'handshake.' It is things like the 'handshake' that embolden theft. People seem to think if leaders become amiable with each other, then they’ve a license to steal from the public.

Q: Some Kenyans want a review of the Constitution. Do you support the call for a referendum?

A: I support review of the Constitution to close gaps and tighten some loose ends. After all, the YES campaign in 2010 promised Kenyans that the 20 per cent of the Constitution that were contentious would be looked at after passage. But the more fundamental reasons are that after experimenting with the current system, it is obvious we need to review the structure of the Executive to make it more inclusive. Devolution is staggering, and we need to guard it against manipulation by the national government.

Q: What, in your opinion, is the current state of the nation, and what needs to be done?

A:The nation is staggering under the weight of unnecessary expensive debt, high cost of living for ordinary people, impunity, unprecedented theft of public resources, and very unresponsive government. I continue to advocate for an all-inclusive national dialogue and talk through Kenya’s problems. Let us talk so that we don’t pamper corruption. Opportunistic approaches such as 'handshake' can only widen divisions and misunderstanding.


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