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Kanu leaders fault Raila over remarks on Moi

By VINCENT MABATUK

A section of Kanu leaders in Rift Valley have called on Prime Minister Raila Odinga to accord former President Moi the respect he deserves.

Speaking in Nakuru, Kanu veterans led by Ezekiel Barng’etuny took issue with the PM’s remarks at the burial of former Starehe MP Gerishon Kirima on Tuesday, which they claim attacked Moi.

Terming the attacks unnecessary, Barng’etuny said Raila’s remarks implied he was still bitter with Mr Moi. The former politician challenged the premier to be bold enough and face Moi over any personal grudge instead of attacking him at public forums.

"Raila should be bold enough and start fighting Moi like a man instead of using funerals to attack him," said Barng’etuny.

In a statement, ten current and former Kanu officials from North, South and Central Rift Valley regions said it was regrettable that Kalenjin community supported the PM in the last General Election, but he still seems to have issues with Moi.

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Barng’etuny said two leaders from the community and a journalist would face trial at The Hague due to the support they (community) accorded Raila in 2007 elections.

"We know who called for mass action, and said bado mapambano (the fight is still on), (yet) no action was taken on them," said the leaders in their two-page statement.

The leaders said Raila should understand it was not Moi alone who opposed the new Constitution, saying the former head of state is a public figure and has the right to express his feelings.

Former East Pokot MP Joseph Lotodo said Raila has in the recent past publicly registered his personal bitterness against Moi.

"Moi is a senior statesman and current leaders should learn to respect him," said Lotodo.

The leaders said the Kalenjin community is ready to support any presidential candidate in 2012 regardless of his tribal background.

During Kirima’s burial, Moi said although he opposed passing of the new Constitution, it had some good provisions like giving an equal chance to all children to inherit their fathers’ property.

And Raila, who spoke after Moi, differed with the retired President’s remarks on the Constitution and section on same-sex marriages.

The PM, who repeatedly referred to Moi as Nyayo, termed his opposition to the laws during the last year’s referendum as democratic but invited him to read the document to confirm there was no room for gay unions.

Raila also said the Constitution provided protection of legally acquired land and prohibited abortion.