No handshake with Raila, allies urge Ruto at Machakos meeting

President William Ruto with Machakos Governor Wavinya Ndeti during a thanksgiving service hosted by United Clergy at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos town. [PCS]

Leaders allied to Kenya Kwanza coalition on Sunday piled pressure on President William Ruto to resist a handshake deal with Azimio leader Raila Odinga.

Speaking during a thanksgiving service hosted by United Clergy at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos town, the leaders cautioned that a handshake with Raila would be suicidal.

MPs Vincent Musyoka (Mwala), Nimrod Mbai (Kitui East), Caleb Mule (Machakos Town), former Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and former Kitui Senator David Musila claimed the opposition was not honest even with its demands.

“We in Kenya Kwanza are worried because of the possibility of a handshake between the president and Raila, and we ask the president not to accept any invitation to it. We all know the extent to which the previous handshake ruined our country and led to victimisation of certain leaders,” said Mbai.

He added, “Be it as it may be, they (the opposition) can proceed with their street protests if they do not want to engage in honest bipartisan talks, but it should sink in them that we do not want any handshake with them.”

In an apparent reference to Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, who has been backing Raila’s calls for mass protests, Mbai urged the Kamba community to liberate itself from what he called political slavery.

“The problem in Ukambani is lack of proper political leadership. This culture of following one person should come to a stop,” said Mbai.

His sentiments were echoed by Musila who said the Akamba will not be misled politically into pursuing a ‘lost cause.’

“For ten years, we as a community have remained in the opposition because of politics of hero worship. But today I can say without any fear that this community is now ripe for better leadership,” he said.

Musila pointed out that a handshake will not address the plight of millions of Kenyans, but will only benefit a handful of politicians.

Prof Kibwana said the two teams appointed to represent the government side and the opposition must only focus on the issues that affect the ordinary citizen. He accused the opposition of insincerity in their quest for justice.

“The silent majority are saying that we should address issues with humility and peace. If Ruto had not been duly elected as president, President Uhuru Kenyatta would not have handed over the instruments of power to him. We are proposing that civil society be included in the bipartisan talks,” he said.

Mwala MP Vincent Musyoka, who is also the UDA organising secretary, said the opposition was hell-bent on causing turmoil through unrealistic demands.

“The reasons advanced by the opposition are not genuine at all. The president does not keep the keys to the IEBC servers that they demand must be opened as a condition for ending the protests.”