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CORD slams Muthui Kariuki over ‘Raila attack’



CORD leaders yesterday reacted angrily to a statement by Government Spokesman Muthui Kariuki that hit out at former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

They denied any hand in the heckling of Jubilee leaders at a funeral in Kisii on Tuesday, which Kariuki had claimed was “orchestrated” by Raila. They also took exception to the accusation that the ODM leader was illegally holding on to six Government vehicles and regularly breaking traffic rules.

Led by Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetang’ula and Siaya Senator James Orengo, the leaders insisted Raila deserves the same treatment accorded to former President Mwai Kibaki, his co-principal in the Grand Coalition.

“It beats logic, (and) the rule of fairness and justice, to demand that Mr Odinga return all Government vehicles (still in his possession) when the man with whom he shared power travels in a bigger fleet,” the leaders said in a statement.

“Even retired President (Daniel arap) Moi keeps his fleet.”

The CORD brigade, which spoke from Nairobi and Mombasa, was reacting to scathing remarks by the Government Spokesman criticising Raila’s remarks and behaviour over the last four months.

State vehicles

The tirade, set off by the heckling of a Jubilee Cabinet minister at a funeral for accident victims in Kisii, included mention of six State vehicles that Raila has allegedly “refused to return”.

In a quick rejoinder, Jubilee Senate Majority Leader Prof Kindiki Kithure said the problem over State benefits for the CORD duo was legal, not political. “Kibaki did not assent to legislation that would have benefited the former Prime Minister (and VP),” Kithure explained, referring to a Bill rejected because MPs had padded it with a huge retirement package for themselves. “This (problem) should not be blamed on the Jubilee Government.”

Flanked by Senators Martha Wangari and Emma Mbura among others, Kithure said Jubilee would revisit the matter if the Retirement Benefits (Deputy President and Designated State Officers) Bill were re-introduced.

He accused CORD leaders of politicising the current position of the law as they sought to have Raila enjoy State privileges.

“CORD leaders should stop creating their own law,” he said.

“If Raila has a problem with his security he should just make arrangements with Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo.”

 Driving on the wrong side

He backed Mr Kariuki’s statement and urged the former PM to return the Government vehicles in his possession until a law is passed allowing him to have them. He also said Raila should stop driving into oncoming traffic with a siren as this violates traffic rules and endangers road users.

In his statement Thursday, Muthui had also claimed the Kisii County government, led by Governor James Ongwae (ODM), hired youths to boo Jubilee-allied speakers at a mass funeral for 11 school children and four teachers killed in a grisly road accident.

But in their rejoinder yesterday, CORD leaders said the Jubilee Government has lost the public’s confidence and is getting vindictive, bitter and desperate. Orengo warned the Government to “stop governing in anger and with an iron fist” and instead respond to the demands of Kenyans.

“If the Government’s response to people’s expression of displeasure is to demand vehicles in possession of the former PM, then its clear that it is hitting a deep, troubling and desperate low,” said Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati.

The leaders added that Raila would not be intimidated out of politics by denying him privileges that should be due to him.

“Raila is a creation of the people not the State,” they said.

Also present at the press conference at Nairobi’s Serena Hotel were MPs Onyango Osele (Kasipul Kabondo), Tim Wanyonyi (Westlands), Ken Okoth (Kibra), Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay) and Mohamed Junet (Suna East).

Wetangula termed as “reckless and unacceptable” Kariuki’s statement that the ODM leader was illegally holding six State vehicles and breaking traffic laws. He took issue with the existence of the office of the Government Spokesman, arguing that it does not exist under the new Constitution. Mr Kariuki’s statement, he added, does not help foster peace and unity.

Dismissing the statement as mere politics, Wetang’ula said: “As a junior officer, his utterances are misguided. If that is what he wants, he should join politics.


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