Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga speaks during an interview with The Standard at his Karen home on October 4, 2023. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

When The Standard visited Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga at his Karen home for an interview on Wednesday, October 4, 2023, private security guards manned the gate.

The General Service Unit (GSU) officers we have been accustomed to were nowhere to be seen. Odinga told The Standard his security was withdrawn during the height of anti-government protests earlier this year.

“Although I am entitled to state security, I will not bother to ask the government to return them. I will not waste my time going to court because my biggest security is the people; that is why I can walk freely in the streets,” said Odinga.

Seemingly in no mood to pay a compliment to the Kenya Kwanza administration despite the ongoing talks between the government and his Azimio side, the opposition chief criticized Kenya’s mission to Haiti, terming it a misplaced priority.

 “Why Kenya?” Odinga asked, rhetorically. “The U.S. itself withdrew its forces from there, the problem with Haiti is political, they do not need more guns to calm that situation.”

When asked for a comment about Rigathi Gachagua’s leadership, the Azimio leader took no prisoners with the deputy president. Raila said Gachagua does not embody the character of a deputy president.

“Gachagua speaks with a lot of contempt and acts as if he is the deputy president of Mt Kenya only. He has a dirty mouth and is dividing the nation,” said Odinga, alluding to Rigathi’s remarks that equated Kenya to a company with shareholders.

The former Prime Minister also shed light on why he has been silent, appearing to give a vote of confidence to the National Dialogue Committee which he believes has the potential to come up with solutions to problems ailing Kenyans.

“We (Azimio leadership) have decided to give the talks the benefit of the doubt, so I will not speak and risk jeopardising the talks. I will speak when this process is over.” Raila said.

Asked if President Ruto has ever solicited his advice, the opposition chief described the Kenya Kwanza administration as know-alls. He, however, added that he was willing to help if consulted.

Odinga further poked holes into the government's foreign policy, terming efforts to seek foreign investors as an exercise in futility.

"It is useless to travel abroad seeking investors when the environment in the country is not conducive to already existing businesses. Investors are not donors, they expect a positive return from wherever they put their money." He said.

The ODM leader maintained that his party is the most popular in the country, and allayed fears that Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) is a threat to his political bases.

Odinga added that he is not bothered by Ruto’s visits to Nyanza and has accused the head of state of launching already existing projects. “It is unfair for the Kenya Kwanza administration to keep Kenyans in a campaign mood for five years, they should instead focus on fixing people’s problems.”

The opposition leader also told off detractors who want him to quit politics, saying that his time has not yet come.  “A time will come when I will leave and another person will take over, but for now, I’ll stand with Kenyans,” said Odinga.

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