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President Uhuru has abandoned his flock, claims Cord leader Raila Odinga

By Standard Reporter | December 4th 2015

Raila Odinga is on the resurgence, fired up no doubt by bungling within the Jubilee administration, notably on matters corruption, insecurity and the high cost of living. He spoke to The Nairobian about Aden Duale, why Uhuru must change tact and his relationship with foe-turned-ally Martha Karua

In your assessment, is President Uhuru in charge of government?

Sometimes one gets the feeling that the president has abdicated duty and is not giving the nation his full and undivided attention.

But one also gets the feeling that the capacity is not there such that even when he is trying his best, it falls short of expectations.

We have seen decisions being taken that leaves everyone asking, how was this arrived at?

We do not feel that there is a steady hand on the steering wheel and a clear sense of direction of where we are being driven to.

How, in your view, did we get to this situation?
First, the president and his deputy came in with the attitude that they are experts in everything and they were not going to listen to anyone, even to their hirelings.

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That actually was the coded message in the declaration that the president and his deputy were going to be the only politicians in government. Then they dismantled key institutions that used to do thinking on policy issues.

The National Economic and Social Council (NESC) which had local and foreign experts last met under the grand coalition. It was essentially killed and left a huge gap. Then the get rich quick mindset set in. Everyone is looking for money out of procurement tenders. Add to that the arrogance that makes Jubilee refuse to admit that they are wrong.

That is why they are pushing on with unsustainable projects like laptops. That is how we got here.

Some commentators say these cracks could be explained by the appointment of weak people, including Cabinet Secretaries, in key positions.

I don’t fully agree with that. While that may be true to some extent, we need to recognise that a number of the cabinet secretaries were successful professionals in very complex fields. Whether they were deployed to the right ministries is debatable.

But I think that overall, the failure is a result of lack of or weak political leadership and absence of overall philosophy and sense of direction. It is difficult to tell what jubilee is trying to achieve and by what time.

Even the best professional would get lost in that kind of environment.

Your view of National Assembly Leader Aden Duale is not very flattering. If you were Uhuru, who would you have handed this key position?

Duale as Majority Leader is part of the difficulty people have with understanding what Jubilee is trying to achieve. What influenced his selection to that position is difficult to understand. He has not done justice to the country and to the government with the position. A little diplomacy and finesse would do him, the country and the government a lot of good.

Is it true you have bought two new choppers?
No, I have not.

Will Cord retain the Nairobi gubernatorial seat?

Cord is confident of retaining not only Nairobi seat but all the gubernatorial seats we hold now and win some more.

The courts say Cord Co-Principal Moses Wetangula bribed voters. Why is the party blaming IEBC and Jubilee for his woes?

We know political moves and political decisions when we see one. We are operating in the same political space. We know the secret meetings taking place, including between the executive and supposedly independent institutions like the judiciary.

When we speak, we do so from positions of knowledge. The decisions on ‘Weta’ are political.

How would you have managed corruption and theft of public resources if you were in charge of government?

I would apply the laws of the land to the letter. I would not play favourites. I would treat all as equal before the law.

It has been suggested that your supporters do your cause injustice because lack they‘discipline and that while you have the authority to whip them into line, you never reprimand them

We have spoken out openly and candidly against indiscipline and acts of hooliganism. We are the only party that has even fined its members for such acts. Just check your records.

Looking back at the 2013 campaign, what mistakes did you or your team make?

The only mistake we made, if any, was to trust the IEBC and to trust that the institutions created by the new Constitution would stand up for free and fair polls.

We also trusted that after the events of 2007-2008, nobody would be reckless enough to rig elections again. We learnt our lessons. We will approach 2017 much wiser.

You and Martha Karua were bitter foes, but you are now allies of sorts. What brings you together?

Martha and I have never been enemies. We were just in different political camps. We remain strong believers in change and that is what brings us together.

What are the key pillars of this campaign?
Change, inclusion rather than exclusion. Resources and power to the people are key pillars of our referendum campaign.

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