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All presidents were once peasants, Raila tells DP

By Julius Chepkwony and Gilbert Kimutai | September 20th 2020 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

ODM leader Raila Odinga, Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat and Siaya Senator James Orengo at the home Knut boss Wilson Sossion (right) in Tenwek, Bomet County, yesterday. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga yesterday took on Deputy President William Ruto in his bedrock in Rift Valley, dismissing his 'hustler' narrative as misleading.

Raila said all Kenya’s past presidents were peasants before they ascended to power, adding that Ruto is trying to deceive voters ahead of the 2022 General Election.

“I’m the son of the late Jaramogi Odinga, his father was a peasant. Look at all the Kenyan presidents, Kenyatta, Kibaki and Moi, they all began poor, they were all hustlers,” Raila told the crowd that braved heavy rains to listen to him.

He was speaking at nominated MP Wilson Sossion’s home in Tenwek, Bomet County. Sossion’s family was celebrating admission of his daughter Rosemary Chepkorir to the Bar.

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Raila said Jomo Kenyatta, before he became president, was a city water meter reader, Daniel Moi was a school teacher, while Kibaki was a struggling politician.

Ruto has popularised  the phrase 'hustler', which is used to depict him as a son of a peasant who has pulled himself by his bootstraps to a point where he is just a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Most of his supporters have now come up with a narrative of a hustler nation, where the DP is projected as a leader who cares for the downtrodden, the sufferers, and the jobless because he too has walked their path in his youth when he hawked chickens by the roadside.

But Raila told Kenyans to focus on the policies and manifestos of presidential hopefuls instead of being “hoodwinked” by certain narratives.

“We should be telling Kenyans about our manifestos, policies that would improve our economy and what we will do for them,” he said.

The event was attended by Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli, Kanu secretary general Nick Salat, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, Siaya Senator James Orengo, MPs Johana Ng’eno (Emurua Dikirr) and Otiende Amollo (Rarieda). The ODM leader said the national cake is becoming small and the players are many. Therefore, as leaders they want to expand it so that every Kenyan can get a share. He said some leaders have resorted to stealing instead.

Second wave of reggae

Raila exuded confidence that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) will sail through and warned critics that they should brace themselves for a second wave of the reggae movement.

Raila said with the stabilising Covid-19 situation in the country, the BBI train would be back on track.

He rallied leaders and residents from the larger Rift Valley to join and support the impending constitutional change, saying the time had come.

“Reggae is going to be back and I urge all of you to join us and support the BBI and ensure we bring change in our country,” said the former prime minister.

He said the Mau Forest issues would be addressed once and for all.

Otieno Amollo said the BBI was coming, hitting out at Law Society of Kenya (LSK) president Nelson Havi for challenging the report in court.

He said one cannot challenge what he has not seen.

“As an advocate you cannot challenge what you have not seen. You should wait for the content of the BBI report to be made public. The case will be dismissed with the contempt it deserves. There is no way one can challenge plans to readjust the Constitution,” Amollo said.

Salat said the BBI is not about individuals but about the future of Kenyans. He said no faces and, or particular individuals should be named in the BBI.

Orengo said there is a need for mature politics as Kenya is greater than any individual.

Wamalwa said devolution is the centre piece of the BBI and when it wins, all Kenyans win.

Sossion supported the sentiments and called for a referendum.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) treasurer John Matiang’i said teachers supported the Handshake between President Uhuru Kenya and Raila and were ready to support the BBI.


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