Whitman's remarks a threat to bipartisan talks, Raila allies say

When President William Ruto hosted US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman and Senator Chris Coons at State Houise Nairobi. [PCS]

Raila Odinga’s allies have maintained the recent remarks by the US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman are a threat to the ongoing bipartisan talks.

Former Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, former Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria and Roots party leader George Wajackoyah said Whitman’s remarks have a great potential to impede the talks that are currently at a critical stage.

The trio said the envoy should focus on representing America’s interests and avoid commenting on matters concerning the country’s internal processes.

Raila took a swipe at the envoy following her views on Kenya's 2022 General Election.

Whitman during the just concluded devolution conference had praised Kenya for holding peaceful and credible elections in August last year.

But Raila in a rejoinder termed the ambassador ‘rogue’ and threatened to seek her recall if she does not ‘shut up’.

“Kenya is not a colony of the US. Keep your mouth shut, otherwise, we shall go for a recall. She should leave Kenyans alone,” said Raila.

Raila’s sentiments however did not go well with the country’s top leadership who hit back saying such remarks were reckless.

While President William Ruto said Raila’s remarks were a disrespectful to the US envoy, his deputy Rigathi Gachagua said the onslaught was a result of opposition leaders' refusal to accept the losing the 2022 polls.

“It would be very ungrateful of us to vilify the people who are creating opportunities for us. We have huge investments from the American government, Germany, and other countries. We must know what our interests are and secure them…We must not be petty and look at things from a personal level,” said Ruto.

But Wamalwa, wa Iria and Wajackoyah said Whitman’s remarks although with no ill-intent, had come at the wrong time.

Former Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria, Roots Party Leader George Wajackoyah, God Will Provide Director Newton Ogada, and former Defense Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa in Kasipul Constituency. [James Omoro, Standard

The bipartisan talks are expected to resume on Monday after the committee members took a break to allow MPs to anchor it in the law.

The trio spoke in Kasipul where they had paid a courtesy call to the Director of God Will Provide, Newton Ogada.

“It is very wrong for Whitman to make such comments praising the system at a time when reconciliatory talks are just beginning. This is a time we need the support of both sides,” Wamalwa said.

Wamalwa accused the envoy of taking sides in Kenyan politics.

“When she clearly takes sides and begins cheering one side, it shows serious misconduct in our country,” he said.

Wa Iria accused Whitman of celebrating problems Kenyans are undergoing as a result of the high cost of living.

He said the envoy lacks interest in the well-being of Kenyans.

“She is aware that over 90 percent of Kenyans are unhappy with the Finance Act 2023. But it is unfortunate that she says Kenyans are happy with the Act. We don’t need America to tell the World how happy we are,” Wa Iria said.

In his sentiments, Wajackoyah accused Whitman of interfering with Kenyan internal affairs saying she had violated a treaty that forbids her from interfering with Kenyan affairs.

Wajackoyah said those cheering Whitman’s remarks should be reminded that it si a clear sign that the country is going to be under the hegemony of America.