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Makau Mutua: Rigathi, Raila 'bumped into each other' at airport

Prof. Makau Mutua. [File, Standard]

Prof. Makau Mutua, who was Raila Odinga’s campaigns spokesperson in the August 2022 elections, says Odinga and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua “met by chance” in Mombasa on Friday, September 16.

Mutua said the two leaders’ meeting was not preplanned, and that their conversation was centred on “exchanging pleasantries”.

“Honourable Rigathi Gachagua and Honourable Raila Odinga bumped into each other at the VIP lounge of the Moi International Airport in Mombasa. Both were travelling back to Nairobi in the morning,” Mutua told The Standard on phone.

“I understand they exchanged pleasantries,” he said, adding that the two leaders, thereafter, travelled to Nairobi on the same plane.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua having a conversation with Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga. [Courtesy]

Earlier Friday, Dennis Itumbi, President William Ruto’s digital strategist told The Standard that Gachagua and Odinga had a brief meeting at the airport’s VIP holding area.

“The deputy president, who was on his way back to Nairobi, and the Right Honourable Raila Odinga had their meeting at the VIP lounge at the Moi International Airport,” Itumbi said, confirming the authenticity of pictures that had earlier Friday been shared on Facebook and Twitter.

On Facebook, a page linked to Rigathi Gachagua, said: “We have tremendous respect for our senior citizens. I was delighted this morning (Friday, September 16) to have a tete-a-tete with former Prime Minister the Right Honourable Raila Amolo Odinga in Mombasa.”

Gachagua’s post did not reveal the agenda of the brief meeting.

This comes barely a day after Odinga accused the Supreme Court of Kenya of biasness during determination of the presidential petition that he’d filed.

Gachagua was in Mombasa County to preside over the opening of the 47 governors’ induction seminar.

Odinga lost the August 9, 2022 presidential election to William Ruto, who got 7.18 million votes (50.49 per cent). Odinga, the first runner-up in the presidential polls, had 6.94 million votes (48.85 per cent)

During the campaigns, Gachagua had accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of fronting a Raila Odinga candidature so that he (President Kenyatta) could “continue ruling through a proxy”.

Kenyatta, who has since retired, denied the allegations.