Raila says attacks on courts hurting Kenya's democracy

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga. [Emmanuel Wanson, Standard]

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has asked President William Ruto to desist from attacking the Judiciary saying he was the greatest beneficiary of the courts.

Speaking in Busia County on Monday, Raila warned that attacks on the Judiciary by the Executive were hurting democracy in the country.

“IEBC chief bungled the elections to give the Kenya Kwanza the presidency, and when we (Azimio) contested the results. The Judiciary, which Ruto calls corrupt, approved his controversial win. He should be the last man attacking the Judiciary as he is the greatest beneficiary of it,” he said. 

The Azimio leader was reacting to President Ruto’s attacks on the Judiciary after some judges temporarily stopped the implementation of some pet projects of the Kenya Kwanza government.

So far, the courts have slammed breaks on the Universal Health Coverage (UHC), housing levy, selling of State parastatals and the project of sending Kenya to work abroad as labourers.

Raila said that were it not for the controversial win of Kenya Kwanza, Azimo would be running the country seamlessly based on the rule of law, and the cost of living would not be an issue. 

“We have seen students being sent home to go collect school fees because the Kenya Kwanza government has refused to disburse all the monies that should go to school bursaries. That would be a thing of the past had we (Azimio) been declared victors because our manifesto provided for free education from elementary through tertiary education,” he said.

The ODM leader was accompanied by deputy party leader Wycliffe Oparanya, Busia Governor Paul Otuoma, National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi, Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi, Teso North MP Oku Kaunya, among other leaders.

“Ruto did not beat me, especially here in Busia. You (voters) told him to his face that you don't want anything to do with him, and I know in future, you will stand with me when I ask for your votes,” he told the Busia North constituents.

Raila said Busia had the highest number of registered ODM members since the registration drive kicked off last year, but “other counties like Kakamega, Homa Bay and Kisumu were working to beat you (Busia).”

He also asked President Ruto to expand the Standard Gauge Railway from Naivasha through Kisumu-Malaba to Kampala to spur economic development of the East African region.

Oparanya asked the Teso community to ensure the Teso South seat currency occupied by a UDA member, Mary Emase, “returns to ODM in the next election.”

The former Kakamega governor said that UDA lost track of governance and was now attacking the Judiciary.

“It’s not only the president targeting the Judiciary. I bet you've heard the sentiments of Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, trained at the very institution that should help interpret laws. The wordings are uncivil and primitive,” he said.

Governor Otuoma said his government was addressing drugs shortage in hospitals.

ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna disclosed that Budalang'i constituency was leading in ODM members registration with 35,000 out of 46,000. Funyula was second, Nambale third, Butula Fourth, Matayos fifth, and Teso North sixth, with 37,000 out of 59,000 reflecting 63 per cent. Teso South is last.

Leaders, including Busia Deputy Governor Arthur Odera, MPs Joseph Oyula (Butula), Raphael Wanjala (Budalang'i), Geoffrey Odanga (Matayos), Dr Oundo Mudenyo (Funyula), Nairobi Assembly Majority Leader Peter Imwatok called for a paradigm shift to have Teso South and Teso North restore the party's lost glory in the Teso region, especially Teso South.

"Although Teso North was ranked sixth in percentage, they were second in numbers to Funyula, i promise to launch a massive registration drive to have many people join the orange party," Kaunya said.

Busia Woman representative Catherine Omanyo hit out at President Ruto over his failure to release National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) and NG-CDF funds, claiming that he wants to micromanage everything.