Opposition leaders used a rally to campaign for a referendum to reiterate their unity against the backdrop of disquiet stemming from their competing presidential ambitions.
Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula assured supporters attending the Okoa Kenya rally at the historic Mulu Mutisya gardens in Machakos that clamour for power would not split them.
Coming on the back of his recent launch of a website and hard line position by close allies that his run for presidency in 2017 is not negotiable, Raila dismissed reports that he had ignored his CORD co-principals and launched his presidential bid, terming the suggestion a scheme by their opponents to divide them.
“We are firmly together as a family and I cannot leave my brothers Kalonzo and Wetang’ula. These guys think that we are stupid,” said Raila, referring to their opponents in Jubilee Government.
The ODM leader added: ‘’Let them be told that CORD will still be intact and stronger when we go to the 2017 General Election contrary to their predictions.”
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Raila said it was unfortunate that instead of the Jubilee leaders concentrating on solving the rampant problems affecting them, they were busy working for the downfall of CORD.
“They should be busy mending their fences which have broken and stop diverting Kenyans’ attention from their poor performance to CORD which is peaceful,” Raila added.
And Kalonzo, who has been endorsed by his Wiper party, whose members have persistently referred to an agreement suggesting Raila was to back him after the 2013 elections, said CORD enemies were creating perception that Wetang’ula and himself were being taken for a ride by Raila.
“But let me tell them that their calculations are futile since we are in CORD to stay. Those saying Raila has started his campaign and left me and Wetang’ula out are our greatest enemies. However, they will not succeed because God is on our side,” said Kalonzo.
The former Vice President asked suspended Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu to ditch Jubilee and rejoin CORD to avoid further frustrations.
Wetang’ula, too, assured supporters that the CORD leadership is aware of where they have come from, where they are and where they are going.
“No man will untie our covenant until we reach the promised land,” said the Bungoma Senator.
The CORD leaders led hundreds of supporters, including more than 10 MPs, seven senators and over 30 MCAs, in endorsing the demand for more resources to the counties under the Okoa Kenya initiative.
The centerpiece for CORD’s proposed referendum is scaling up allocation to counties to at least 45 per cent of national revenue collected in the preceding financial year - tactfully intended to resonate with voters as it is seen as more funding to grassroots development.
The three leaders accused the Jubilee government of failing to tame corruption and tribalism, which they said had reached alarming levels.
Raila said devolution, which Kenyans voted for in the Constitution, was meant to ensure equitable distribution of national resources to the 47 devolved units.
“Many parts of this country had been marginalised because resources were being distributed unfairly. Devolution was to address these shortcomings,” he added.
He said CORD is pushing for the increase of the county allocations from the current 15 per cent to 45 per cent in order to spur development in the counties.
“We need more funds to go to the countries to accelerate development and fight poverty and unemployment among the youth,” declared Raila.
Raila claimed that there is a scheme to finish him politically, but assured his supporters that he is firm and ready to lead Kenya if CORD hands him the ticket to run in 2017.
He said a CORD government would ensure those who have stolen public money face the full force of the law.
Raila took issue with Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua for snubbing the rally.
“This is betrayal of the highest order if somebody like him elected on a Wiper party ticket can decide to boycott a CORD meeting in his backyard,” he said.
“It is so unfortunate that if Jesus happens to come back and witness how the Jubilee government is exploiting Kenyans, He will definitely cry,” said Mr Wetang’ula amid cheers from the crowd.
Earlier, the CORD entourage got a rousing welcome from jubilant supporters who escorted them to the historic Mulu Mutisya Gardens for the public rally.
Enthusiastic supporters filled the grounds and sang and danced for the CORD team.