Selfish politicians fighting Handshake, says Raila

Seth Onyango @SethManex

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has rallied global leaders to support his unity pact with President Uhuru Kenyatta even as he launched a thinly veiled attack on Deputy President William Ruto.

The former premier, who is on a tour of the United Kingdom, accused some “selfish” local politicians of scheming to undermine the deal to unite Kenyans.

Speaking at Cambridge University, Raila (pictured) said the politicians are working hard to maintain the status quo in Kenya.

“Many political careers have been made out of the foundation we are now seeking to shake and rebuild and many were hoping to make more careers out of that same foundation,” he said.

His remarks come at a time politicians allied to Ruto have criticised Raila’s call for constitutional amendment to change government system to a three-tier structure. They argue the proposals are part of a wider ploy to suppress DP’s ambition of ascending to power in 2022.

Although Ruto has supported Uhuru-Raila handshake in public, his allies have not minced words when criticising the unity deal.

The DP has also in several occasions criticised calls for a referendum, saying: “Referendums would be of no value to the lives of Kenyans.”

Defending the deal, now commonly referred to as the Handshake, Raila said it was meant to  strengthen devolution and tackle corruption, marginalisation, divisive elections, security and lack of national ethos.

“We are not in any way deluded that these changes will come easy. There will be opposition and resistance because the issues we want to tackle go to the core of how Kenya has been ran over the past five decades,” he said.

“It is an opportunity for a frank discussion about the questions that have bedevilled Kenya for decades. It is our hope that the Handshake could inspire other African nations struggling problems similar to Kenya’s.”

Raila was a guest of the debating society of Cambridge University, where he told gathering that Africa is now looking into itself and thinking of homemade solutions to the challenges it faces.

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