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Raila: I called Kalonzo, Musalia and Wetangula on handshake day

Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta at Kasarani during ODM NDC. February 26, 2022. [Samson Wire, Standard]

ODM party leader Raila Odinga narrated the backstory of how the March 9, 2018 handshake between him and President Uhuru Kenyatta came to be and how the two leaders informed their respective co-principals.

Addressing the Jubilee Party National Delegates Convention (NDC) at KICC, Raila said: “We are here to join you because of the relationship we have with this party.”

According to Raila, on the said day, the President called his deputy William Ruto, in his presence, and told him everything the two had shared and agreed on after they held two meetings lasting 13 and six hours respectively.

Raila on his part said he then called his co-principal and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka but he was unreachable on phone.

He then called the Amani National Congress party leader Musalia Mudavadi, who was at the airport on his way to Mombasa, and told him that he was going to hold a joint presser with the President after their handshake. 

Raila said that he also called Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetangula and told them of his handshake while promising to hold a joint meeting the following Monday with all the NASA principals to give them further details of the handshake.

He said the partnership between him and President Uhuru Kenyatta was necessary and had saved the country from the economic meltdown.

He recalled the boycott he urged of Safaricom and Brookside products, calling for secession by certain parts of Kenya and his being sworn in as the “people’s president”. 

These he said, coupled with determination by some people in government to have him arrested and charged with sedition could have taken Kenya the Somalia way.

He took a swipe at the Deputy President accusing him of disrespecting the president after the handshake. “Half of the government is working and the other half is sabotaging,” he said.

Raila said the unity of the country was at the heart of the handshake and they both settled on a solution-based leadership style.

President Uhuru Kenyatta at the KICC during Jubilee Party NDC. February 26, 2022. [File, Standard]

It is the need to ensure devolution works that brought the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). “We brought reggae, it is on halftime and it will come back,” he said.

Raila said the Jubilee party had made a comeback to life while thanking the supporters for backing the president.

“Thank you for standing behind President Uhuru Kenyatta,” he told the Jubilee delegates.

Raila hinted that President Kenyatta may leave the government but may not retire entirely. “He is very capable to work for the people of Kenya in other capacities,” he said.

He said that the dialogue they were having with One Kenya Alliance (OKA) and Jubilee under Azimio la Umoja would take the country ahead. “Let us walk together, under Azimio la Umoja which will unite the whole country,” he said.

On his part, the president endorsed the ODM chief as his preferred candidate saying the country needs not to have a repeat of his mock swearing-in that took place at Uhuru Park.

“This time we do not want to have a fake Uhuru Park we want one that [Justice] Martha Koome will be in charge of, that is the right one and it is the one that we want to make sure it happens this time around,” he said.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka while addressing the delegates said it had been an honour to attend the convention. “I see energy, I see a clear sense of direction and I see leadership,” he said.

He likened the coming together of Jubilee, OKA and ODM to the three-legged stool which is strong, saying at the end their vision under Azimio la Umoja is to have a united country with the interests of Kenyans at the core. “We will walk with you,” he said assuring the president.

ODM leader Raila Odinga the party's NDC. February 26, 2022. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Kalonzo said that they could not afford to lose this election while revealing the negotiations between the parties to have President Uhuru Kenyatta be the leader of the coalition. “We will negotiate, structured dialogue, honest conversation correcting even historical imbalances because building a coalition is not easy,” he said.

Kanu chairman Gideon Moi said that when he made his way into KICC and saw the red colour, his heart was at peace. 

The KANU leader lauded leaders who attended the event saying most of them were there because of the love they share for the country.

“In OKA we have agreed and determined ourselves that we will work with those who are like-minded people who share the same ideals and values as we do,” he said.

He said the Azimio coalition would cement the president’s legacy.  “As you go into the sunset of your presidency do know that with Azimio and OKA Kenya will have a bright dawn ahead,” he said.

Other leaders who addressed the delegates are Cyrus Jirongo, Charity Ngilu, Wafula Wamunyinyi, Amason Kingi, Ali Roba, and John Lonyangapuo.