Tell Gachagua I don't want to shake his hand, Odinga says

Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga (left) and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. [File, Standard]

Azimo la Umoja leader Raila Odinga has said that he has no interest in shaking hands with Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.

Odinga also denied that he is after a handshake with President William Ruto's government.

"We have never talked about a handshake, that is a language coming from the other side," said Odinga.

While addressing the press after meeting a section of Azimio leaders, Odinga said that they will not relent on issues they want to be addressed by the government and will not hesitate to go back to the streets if they are not.

According to Odinga the government called for a truce and sent emissaries to meet Azimio leaders. He criticized the address given by President Ruto on Sunday evening saying that it fell short of what had been discussed at the meeting. He dismissed reports that he had met President Ruto in Masai Mara.

He said the ruling administration must address the cost of living adding that the matter was affecting all Kenyans. "This meeting agreed that the high cost of living is urgent and can't wait."

He said that the government must take steps to reduce the cost of maize flour to Sh100 as was during the election time.

"We know many of our people can put bread on the table," said Odinga adding that the coalition will not rest until the matter is resolved.

"We further resolved that the Kenya Kwanza must take immediate steps to lower the cost of fuel and to freeze on the recent increase in the cost of electricity."

He said the leaders resolved that there should be a forensic audit of election servers adding that it was necessary and urgent and Kenyans need to know the truth of what transpired during the 2022 general elections.

"We understand that there are some people who are tampering with the servers they need to know that we are watching them," Odinga said.

On the contentious issue of the constitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) selection panel, Azimio says that the reforms are urgent and necessary for future elections.

Odinga also said that the coalition wants fidelity to the spirit of multiparty democracy in parliament. This follows earlier claims that President Ruto had captured parliament.

He also said that the coalition proposes its deliberation team be drawn from the different ranks in parliament to steer the conversation. "A purely parliamentary process may not serve the intended ends."

The coalition also wants the government to pay or waive the medical bills of people including journalists who were injured by police officers during the protests and to foot the burial bills of those who were killed.

According to Odinga the committee set to deliberate on the issues raised will have 14 Members of Parliament; seven drawn from either side.

He added that the coalition will have a team sitting outside parliament which will receive a report from the Azimio MPs on the progress and decisions made by the MPs in the committee.