Opposition leader Raila Odinga has been at pains to explain to leaders and supporters from Western why he seemingly abandoned NASA at the hour of need even as explained that he had met two former presidents, Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki to stabilise the country.
Raila rebuffed critics trying to label him a traitor: “You must play politics using your brains, I am preparing the way for us to take over the government in 2022,” he said.
He added that NASA zones including Western could have been starved of development projects for another five years if he (Raila) stuck with the hard line stand in the Opposition.
“We want to engage in politics of development, not tribal wars that would lead to ethnic profiling,” said Raila.
He urged those castigating him for opting to work with the government to understand that in politics there are no permanent enemies.
“People should stop calling me a traitor over the handshake, I have no intentions of leaving NASA,” said Raila.
But Raila, who was addressing mourners during the burial of Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito’s mother, Regina Mmbayi at Shinyalu yesterday told supporters not to despair over the truce reached between him and the president.
He said his recent meetings with the former presidents was part of his peace deal with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Raila said his flurry of political activities in the past one week was not personal but a sense of national duty as he and President Kenyatta midwifed the truce they signed on March 9.
“I am building bridges and making peace. We must salvage our country, which had reached a precipice and was about to tip over. This is why I am meeting leaders across the country,” said Raila.
In Shinyalu, legislators took the former premier to task to explain the meaning of the famous handshake between him and Uhuru.
Former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale accused Raila of going to bed with Jubilee at the expense of NASA and his supporters.
“In the NASA agreement, a presidential candidate will come from Wiper, ANC or Ford-K and not ODM, Raila will therefore not be on the ballot,” said Khalwale.
A visibly agitated Raila told Khalwale that he was much aware of the coalition pact and has no intention of violating it.
Sabatia MP Alfred Agoi challenged Raila to come out clear on the truce reached between him and the head of State.
“You have not only forgotten your colleagues; Musyoka, Mudavadi and Wetang’ula but have also left your supporters in a dilemma,” said Agoi.
Navakholo MP Emanuel Wangwe asked Raila and Mudavadi to back Governor Wycliffe Oparanya’s presidential bid.
“All MPs from this county have vowed to rally behind Oparanya and won’t support any leader from outside come 2022,” added Wangwe.
Bumula legislator Mwambu Mabonga told Raila to pass the mantle to his colleagues in the Opposition since he has unsuccessfully contested the presidency three times.
Raila’s latest political engagements have left tongues wagging, with some people speculating that he could be preparing to make yet another stab at the Presidency.
He has in addition in the past one month been hosting delegations of leaders from Nairobi and the Mt Kenya region in his Capitol Hill offices.
Yesterday, Raila said he was optimistic his peace project with President Kenyatta would succeed despite delays in launching it. “This peace project will work. At the end of it all, we will have a fully united Kenya,” said Raila who flew to Kisumu on Friday evening accompanied by Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga with whom he had a meeting at the airport’s VIP lounge.
Also at hand to receive him were Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti and Kisumu Deputy Governor, Mathews Owili. He later held closed door meetings with elected leaders from Homa bay, Kisumu and Siaya.