Raila tears into MPs over allegations of being compromised on graft

Opposition leader Raila Odinga. [Courtesy]
Opposition leader Raila Odinga launched a scathing attack on Parliament, a day after he returned from a State visit to India, saying some legislators were protecting graft suspects.

Raila, speaking on Monday at Kanyimach village in Migori during the burial of former Migori Senator Ben Oluoch Okello, asked MPs to remain above reproach and give Kenyans hope.

“Members of Parliament must lead by example. MPs must protect the people. If they are going to be accomplices in this, then Kenyans must think twice,” said Raila.

The former premier warned MPs that history would judge them harshly if they became accomplices in economic crimes currently under active investigations by various Government agencies.

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He cited the current investigations into the existence of contraband sugar recently impounded in various parts of the country, saying members of the joint committee picked to investigate the matter were involved in side shows.

Saying Parliament had no investigative powers, Raila advised legislators to leave the sugar issue to investigative agencies.

Parliament last week declined to endorse a report tabled by a select committee appointed to investigate the sugar scandal after Speaker Justin Muturi led MPs in rejecting it on claims it was  shoddy and incomplete.

Raila said institutions fighting corruption had been energised and were working, adding that Kenyans should support them.

“We need to give them power to continue fighting corruption,” said Raila.

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He added: “The MPs must handle corruption issues with care or they will find themselves on the wrong side of history. We don’t want a situation where you send a hungry dog to go catch a man with meat. They will take the meat and leave the thief to get away with goods.”

Raila said it was needless to summon the same individuals being investigated by various institutions.

ODM leader Raila Odinga (centre) consoles the two widows of the late Ben Oluoch Okello, Ruth Auma (Left) and Hellen Achieng (Right). [Caleb Kingwara, Standard]
“Leave the investigators to arrest and prosecute these people. On the sugar probe, you find a parliamentary committee summoning the same sugar lords for grilling only to try to sanitise them.”

He added: “Parliament has no investigative powers. Leave this to the institutions with the manpower trained to investigate. You call people and shout at them to be seen on television that you are working. You are not doing anything useful to this country. You only want to be seen that you grilled so and so.”

The ODM leader said MPs must respect constitutional institutions and commissions.

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“Why does Parliament think that it is above the Constitution? Why should they set their salaries, which is the work of the Salaries Review Commission?” he posed.

He added: “Parliament is setting a very bad example for the people of this country. I want to plead with MPs who are here to go tell their colleagues out there that Kenyans are watching.”

Raila, again, defended his handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta, saying he had no regrets because the peace pact had brought stability in the country.

He said the world was happy with Kenya and leaders were now borrowing from the March 9  handshake.

“Our handshake has had a multiplier effect across the world. Soon after we met with President Kenyatta, we saw what happened between arch rivals South and North Korea. We also saw what Trump did,” said Raila.

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He added: “When I visited India last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated me for  bringing peace to Kenya through the handshake. He said he had been receiving reports that Kenya was in the throes of anarchy.”

Raila said the 14-member committee appointed to spearhead the ‘Building Bridges’ initiative was working well and would soon convene a conference to discuss corruption, among other issues.

“Everything is going on well. Members of the committee are working in secret and will soon hold the conference.”

Several leaders, including MPs and senators who attended the burial ceremony, supported the handshake.

National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi and his Senate counterpart James Orengo warned against early campaigns for the 2022 presidential campaigns.

They also warned those opposed to the lifestyle audit that Kenyans would never support them for the high positions they were seeking.

Mr Mbadi criticised those saying that ODM had no candidate for the the 2022 presidential election, saying Raila remained their candidate.

“According to our records, Raila Odinga was our candidate in 2017. It was me who issued him with a certificate. I have not issued that certificate to any other person. This means he is the ODM candidate unless otherwise stated,” he said.

ODM leader Raila Odinga (right) and Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka confer during the burial ceremony of the late Migori Senator Ben Oluoch. [Denish Ochieng/Standard]

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