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We won't allow ethnic clashes now or in future, Raila vows

By Josphat Thiong'o | Jan 15th 2022 | 3 min read

Musician Ben Githae is joined by ODM leader Raila Odinga and other politicians at Thika Green Stadium in Kiambu on January 15, 2022, during a rally to popularise Azimio la Umoja. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has pledged there will be no ethnic clashes during the election cycle and beyond as the August 9 poll approaches.

Speaking when he met leaders from Kiambu and Murang'a in Thika at the Mount Kenya University (MKU), Raila condemned incitement remarks attributed to Meru Senator Mithika Linturi.

“We cannot allow people to incite the public into ethnic clashes due to the use of words like Madoadoa. We have seen what happened during previous ethnic clashes in 1992, 1997, 2008. We have seen a sad incident where a child was thrown back into a burning church. We cannot allow that to happen again. It will not happen, it will not happen under Uhuru’s watch, it will not happen under Baba’s watch,” said Raila.

The ODM leader observed that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration would ensure every Kenyan is protected and that the security apparatus will deal with anyone propagating bias on the basis of tribe.

“Everyone has a right to live in any part of the country and should not have to consult anyone else. We are all settlers in Kenya and as such we should learn to live harmoniously,” he added.

The former PM also refuted claims by Deputy President William Ruto that he is a puppet of the rich and dynasties.

Last week, Ruto claimed there are powerful forces keen to install Raila as the next president to serve the interests of a group of elites.

Ruto, while in Bomet, claimed Raila is being propped up by ‘a wealthy few’, who he did not name, claiming they are out to subvert the will of the people on August 9.

But in a rebuttal, Raila said he would accommodate all groups in his bid to become president. “It has been said Raila is a puppet of the rich and the dynasties because the people of Mt Kenya foundation are backing me, because they hosted me at Safari Park. I say no,” said Raila.

“In any other society, there will always be those who are owners of capital and those working but you do not deprive those who are rich to empower the poor. You give opportunity to those who are poor so they can also be rich,” he added.

Raila further waded into the issue of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) noting that that plans are afoot to ‘revive it’ in due time.

“Under the BBI, Kiambu County was to get an additional Sh9 billion but that did not happen. But the reggae (BBI) is only on half time. It will be back. We will bring it back,” said Raila.

Raila was accompanied by Kiambu Governor James Nyoro, his counterparts Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Anyang' Nyong’o (Kisumu), Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) and James Ongwae (Kisii).

Kiambu MP Jude Njomo, Gatundu North MP Anne Wanjiku Kibe, Maragua MP Mary Wamaua, Mathioya MP Peter Kihara, Kigumo MP Wangari Mwaniki, Gatanga MP Nduati Ngugi, Kajiado North MP Joseph Manje, Embakasi East MP Babu Owino, nominated MP Maina Kamanda, Senator Isaac Githua and EALA MP Mpuru Aburi were also present.

Agriculture CS Peter Munya spoke out against incitement of the public by leaders, warning it could prove costly as the elections near.

He took a swipe at the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) camp accusing them of propagating ethnic politics. “They are going to rallies and referring to Kenyans as madoadoa. No one should be referred to using such terms. We thank you Raila for not engaging in such type of politics,” said Munya.

National Assembly majority leader Amos Kimunya urged Mt Kenya region to speak in one voice and ensure a huge percentage of leaders elected were under the Azimio la Umoja coalition to give Raila majority in Parliament.

“The man (Ruto) has been saying Jubilee is dead because it is in his interest to diminish the power that the President commands in his region. Jubilee is not dead but part of Azimio which currently has 192 MPs,” said Kimunya.

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