Raila Odinga apologises for madoadoa remarks

ODM leader Raila Odinga addresses the crowd during a rally in Wajir Town. [Emmanuel Wanson, Standard]

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga has apologised for madoadoa remarks he made in Wajir County on Wednesday, March 9.

Speaking at the Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Kisumu County on Friday, March 11, Raila Odinga said he meant Wajir voters shouldn’t elect leaders who are not affiliated to Azimio la Umoja outfit.

“I was in Wajir recently. All leaders who spoke before me said the county was strongly inclined towards Azimio la Umoja. When it was my turn to speak, I told them I was happy they’d ensured there was no madoadoa in the region,” Odinga said in Kisumu.

“I never meant that people who are not members of the native communities in Wajir should be expelled,” he said.

“If anyone was offended by my remarks, I say pole sana (I’m sorry),” said the former prime minister.

His apology came a few hours after the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) summoned him to appear before the commission over the Wajir remarks.

“The National Cohesion and Integration Commission has today (Friday, March 11) summoned HE Rt. Honorable Raila Odinga in response to remarks made in his meeting in Wajir County on Mach 9, 2022. In his remarks, he mentioned the term ‘madoadoa’ which is considered as hate speech in Kenya,” NCIC chairperson Samuel Kobia said in a statement to newsrooms.

The NCIC did not reveal when the ODM boss is expected to appear before the commission.

Madoadoa remarks had, on January 8, landed Meru Senator Mithika Linturi in trouble. He had told a rally in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County that they shouldn’t allow "madoadoa".

He’d later clarify that he asked Eldoret residents not to vote in leaders competing against the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), which is he is part of.

On February 28, a Nakuru court threw out the matter after the Prosecution failed to press charges against him over lack of sufficient evidence to sustain a hate speech charge.