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Raila, Ruto confident of victory for their camps

BUSINESS
By | Jul 18th 2010 | 4 min read
By | July 18th 2010
BUSINESS

By Biketi Kikechi

Prime Minister Raila Odinga's doctors have not allowed him to return to the campaign trail, but he is pulling the strings on 'Yes' campaign from his Karen home.

The confidence with which he is talking about a 'Yes' win in the August 4 referendum casts the picture of a man smelling victory, and whose answer to those asking how the race will go is, ‘Watch this space’.

Raila Odinga

This is his way of conveying his message to Kenyans something significant is about to happen, by way of defeat of the ‘No’ team, through what he calls a bigger gap than is being talked about.

"People will be surprised by the margin of victory that ‘Yes’ will enjoy in the referendum. The campaign is gaining momentum. I know we are going to triumph with a big margin. People will be surprised by the margin we will get against the opposition," Raila said in an exclusive interview with The Standard On Sunday.

Typical of his fighter instinct in the political arena, and exuding the ardent spirit of a man whose agitation for reforms put him behind iron grills in detention for nine years, Raila spoke of the birth of a new Kenya.

The PM promised he would be back on the campaign trail when doctors tell him he is fit to do so. His home is a hive of activities as visitors trickle in to wish him well. Some to seek counsel, others to take orders or consult, on the question of the day – referendum.

Things up running

"I will rejoin the campaign trail towards the tail-end because the doctors say I need to rest until I recover fully," said Raila, who was hospitalised on June 28, for six days.

At his home Raila is not a sitting duck following the referendum campaigns as a pastime, and in the interview he told The Standard On Sunday: "I had a meeting with members of the ‘Yes’ Secretariat on Thursday. I’m happy things are running and it is true all key operations have been moved to Harambee House, and the Treasury."

He is happy President Kibaki is doing a great job just like he himself did when Kibaki was down during the 2002 General Election campaigns, following a road accident. Reports had earlier indicated he could have returned to the campaign platform in Eldoret with President Kibaki on Friday. But he did not.

Looking jovial and motivated, Raila called on Kenyans to create another milestone by passing the Proposed Constitution.

"We have fought for change for a long time. I know we will create history on August 4, because of the widespread support the new document is enjoying," said Raila.

He asked Kenyans to be on the watch out for "propaganda and lies" which he said were being spread by the ‘No’ team.

"Ukweli ukidhihiri, uwongo hujitenga (falsehoods fly in the face of truth)," said Raila.

His argument is that ‘No’ side has perfected the ‘The Great Lie’, a statement borrowed from Adolf Hitler’s Nazi chief propagandist Joseph Goebbels, who said: "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it…"

In a speech in 1928, Goebbels who later served Hitler’s Reich’s (Republic’s) Ministry for Propaganda, said a lie repeated 100 times becomes the truth.

The Prime Minister has been directing ‘Yes’ campaign operations from his home, and is happy the hiccups at the secretariat and funding challenges have been addressed.

To spur its campaign, Raila said, the ‘Yes’ campaign had to redesign its strategy, and was now using a multi-pronged approach.

"The ‘Yes’ team is doing pretty well – our strategy is to explain to the people what is in the Proposed Constitution in detail at national, county and constituency levels," said Raila.

He is assured that the ‘Yes’ side would win with a big majority because of the overwhelming support.

Raila said the often-repeated claim by those opposed to the Proposed Constitution that the document was a highway to abortion should be ignored. Abortion will not be legalised as they alleged.

He singled out American Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey for allegedly campaigning for the ‘No’ side, and at the same time claiming that US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger was campaigning for the document.

William Ruto

"I know Mr Smith. He spent a lot of time telling me about the right to life when I visited the United States.

He has tried many times and failed to push the idea through the US Congress.

"How can we believe him when he has failed to convince fellow Congressmen to believe him?" asked Raila.

He admitted friendly countries were assisting the country’s reform agenda, but rejected claims the ‘Yes’ team was being influenced by foreigners to pass the draft constitution.

Raila dismissed the ‘No’ complaints that the ‘Yes’ team was getting support from foreigners because: "They are also receiving support and funding from people like Smith and the interests he represents."

Told about Ambassador Ranneberger meeting in Kisii where he was reported to have received defectors from ‘No’ to ‘Yes’, Raila said he did nothing wrong.

He described the envoy as a friend of Kenya who, just like other US and European Union leaders, was supporting the process but not the outcome.

He argued that it was not only the US that has helped Kenya in constitution making. Many other countries were doing the same.

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