by George Kebaso
A meeting between former Prime minister Raila Odinga and a group of leaders from the Mt Kenya region yesterday added to intrigues regarding the former’s plans, including the possibility of a fifth stab at the presidency in 2022.
The meeting also raised eyebrows as it came barely 24 hours after another group of leaders in the region reportedly called on Deputy President William Ruto to retire along with the President in 2022.
Yesterday’s group was led by former MPs Kabando wa Kabando (Mukurweini) and Jamleck Kamau (Kigumo) who said the region owed Ruto no debt.
The group, comprising former legislators and professionals from the region asked the Deputy President and his allies to respect President Uhuru Kenyatta’s and Raila’s Building Bridges Initiative, the fight against corruption and the Big Four Agenda.
“We are here to represent various caucuses that have been meeting. We have come out with a strong resolve informed by the desire to have things work.
One of them is to firmly have the handshake work. We have also resolved to support the crackdown on runaway corruption,” said Kabando after the meeting with at Raila’s Capitol Hill office which extended to a “working” luncheon at a city hotel.
The politicians said campaigns for the 2022 elections were premature since the polls are four years away.
They said if there are any political debts to be paid by Central Kenya, then Raila is owed by the community dating back to before independence when Jaramogi Oginga Odinga supported the founding President Jomo Kenyatta and in 2002 when the ODM leader backed Mwai Kibaki with his famous “Kibaki Tosha” declaration.
They urged the President to be steadfast in his ongoing war against corruption.
“Mr President, be merciless and crack the whip. Purge from government the merchants of graft,” said Kabando.
The leaders called on public servants and legislators who, they said, are supporting the perpetrators of corruption to vacate office.
“By supporting tenderpreneurs, they are abusing the offices they have been entrusted with. Mr President crack the whip: remain firm in your plan to unite the country, so that you can correct past social injustices,” they said.
Kamau said it was sad that those busy campaigning for 2022 were not keen on supporting the war on corruption, the March 9 handshake and the President’s legacy.
“We are telling those opposed to the lifestyle audit ordered by the President to vacate the offices they are holding on behalf of the people. We are also telling them that the President and Raila are keen on uniting the country and ask them to support the initiative rather than fight it,” said Kamau who lost to Mwangi Wa Iria in the race for Murang’a governor.
He said the war against corruption should not be politicised because the vice was killing the country’s future prospects.
“If we don’t fight graft now, it will be a major problem for this country in future. If we don’t root out the corrupt from our society now, we are going to lose the country to cartels,” he said.
Former Murang’a Senator Kembi Gitura wondered why some politicians are not supporting the President’s lifestyle audit plan.
“The lifestyle audit which has been instructed by the President is not a ‘please’ issue, but a ‘must-be-done’. This must be done because if it is not, this country is going to go to the dogs,” he said.
He reiterated his proposal, made when he was Senate Deputy Speaker, that corruption be made a capital offence.
Kamau also dismissed politicians who are campaigning for the 2022 election as misguided.
Some politicians from Mt Kenya region who lost their seats in the last General Election pointed accusing fingers at Ruto, saying he engineered their fall in the August 8, 2017 poll.