Raila kicks of Nyeri tour with call for peace

Media mogul SK Macharia (left), former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth and ODM leader Raila Odinga join artist Peter Kigia in dance at Kabiru-ini Grounds, Nyeri. [Kibata Kihu, Standard]

Orange party leader Raila Odinga started his two-day tour of Nyeri with a call for peace and forgiveness during a series of meetings with several groups.

He steered clear of politics and instead focused on the significance of his visit, saying it was a peace-building mission.

He was accompanied by his wife Ida Odinga, a delegation of Luo Council of Elders, media mogul SK Macharia and more than 20 ODM leaders.

The first meeting was a colourful blend of cultures as dancers from the Luo and Kikuyu communities danced and exchanged gifts at Kabiruini grounds in Nyeri town.

The meeting involved 600 elders drawn from two formations - Kikuyu Council of Elders and the Kiama Kiama - and another 600 elders from the Luo Council of Elders. 

“This meeting between our elders has been a great success, it has cemented our friendship and will create a new beginning of peace and prosperity,” he said.

Raila recounted the 2007 incident when Lucy Weru, the proprietor of Karatina Tourist Hotel, kicked him out of her premises when he made a stopover accompanied by Joseph Nyaga (now deceased), Reuben Ndolo and Mumbi Ngaru for a meal after attending a funeral in Mathira.

“I will sit down and have tea with the woman who kicked me out of her hotel at her home in Karatina because I have forgiven her and we should all forgive each other and foster friendship,” he said.

Raila referenced the handshake, saying when he and President Uhuru Kenyatta decided to bury the hatchet, they wanted to find a lasting solution for the country. 

But host Governor Mutahi Kahiga said voters were not interested in history but what Raila would offer the region once he was in power.

“It is not time to talk about history. It is about today and where we are going. Let us not lie to the people, what do you offer us for our 500,000 votes?” he posed.

Kahiga said it was key to focus on security and not an offer of the running mate position.

Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, the master of ceremony, said the meeting was for commemoration of the handshake with the elders.

Kikuyu Council of Elders chairperson Wachira Kago condemned Deputy President William Ruto for insulting local governors not willing to support his presidential bid.

A group of elderly Kikuyu women gave Ida the nickname Nyawira, meaning a hard-working woman.