Raila reveals contents of letter passed to him by Thika man during Jan. 15 rally

Raila Odinga introduces Thika-based trader Joshua Kimani during a rally in Murang'a on Saturday, January 29. [Standard]

On January 15, ODM leader Raila Odinga addressed a rally at the Thika Green Stadium in Kiambu County, as he popularised his presidential bid in Central Kenya.

While stating the measures he will adopt to economically improve the lives of Kenyans, should he win the August 9 presidential polls, the former prime minister noticed that security officers were attempting to stop a man in the crowd from reaching him.

“Let him come [to the podium], don’t rough him up,” Odinga said in what appeared to be remarks directed at uniformed police officers providing security at the event.

“Don’t beat him [up],” he emphasised, adding that he would reply to the letter that the man had addressed to him.

“I am in receipt of your letter, and I promise to respond,” he said, as the brief interruption lasted 30 seconds.

The crowd cheered as Odinga gave an assurance of feedback.

Exactly two weeks later – January 29 – the ODM chief revealed that the author of the letter, a Thika-based hawker, had complained that he was being constantly harassed by Kiambu County Government askaris during work.

The ex-premier made the revelations during a rally at the Ihura Stadium in Murang’a Town on Saturday, January 29.

“Do you remember the young man who passed a letter to me during my [January 15] rally in Thika? He has accompanied me here today. His name is Joshua Kimani, and he is a trader based in Thika. In his letter, he said he was asking for my intervention because the county government askaris had made the work environment in Thika unconducive,” Odinga said.

The ODM leader said Kimani accused the askrais of constantly harassing, oppressing and roughing up the small-scale traders in Thika Town.

“After reading his letter, I reached out to him, and I’m glad he is here with me today. I promise to look into his welfare, moving forward. He will be one of my grassroots key supporters.”

A calm Kimani stood next to Odinga on the podium, holding what appeared to be a copy of the said-letter.

Odinga said Kimani was one of the many young men that he is seeking to win their support in the August 9 polls.

“If we really want to grow as a nation, the youth must join me in the economic liberation efforts,” he said, urging young people to register en masse as voters.

Corruption allegations

The ODM boss said he knows Deputy President William Ruto, Amani National Congress Party leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford-Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula on a personal level, and that none of the three can be trusted to govern the country.

According to Odinga, various corruption allegations have blighted the trio’s ability to lead the nation.

He made references to past graft cases, in which Ruto, Mudavadi and Wetang’ula denied involvement.

On Ruto, Odinga linked him to the 2009 Kenyan maize scandal. On Mudavadi, Odinga alleged that he was involved in the 2010 City Council cemetery land scandal. On Wetang’ula, Odinga claimed that the then-Foreign Affairs minister was involved in the fraudulent sale and purchase of Kenya’s Embassy in Tokyo, Japan in 2010.

None of the three has been arraigned or implicated in the graft allegations.

Ruto, Mudavadi and Wetang’ula entered into a pre-election agreement on Sunday, January 23, during ANC’s Annual Delegates Conference (ADC).

The trio will work together in efforts to have one of them, most likely Ruto, contest against Odinga in the August 9 General Election, multiple interviews by The Standard indicate.

Ruto is riding on the bottom-up economic model, which places the low-income earners at the centre of his budget plans, while Odinga focuses on elevating Kenyans’ economic positions through long-term government loan facilities and a Sh6,000 monthly stipend for families that don’t have regular sources of income.