National dialogue: Fresh roadblocks as Raila, Gachagua clash over talks

The opposition leader took Gachagua head-on over his recent condescending remarks on the bipartisan talks
Raila and Gachagua clash over dialogue
DP Rigathi Gachagua and Nyandarua Governor Moses Kiarie pose for a photo with Mau Mau veterans after the burial of freedom fighter John Kagwe in Kanjuiri, Nyandarua County./Photo Courtesy

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, and opposition leader Raila Odinga, on Friday engaged in a war of words, maintaining their hardline stance on national politics.

The 2 shared a podium during the burial of Mau Mau veteran John Kagwe, alias Brigadier Kiboko, in Kanjuiri, Nyandarua County.

Raila responded to Gachagua and his political lieutenants,  who had earlier termed dialogue between Kenya Kwanza and Azimio la Umoja as the opposition’s plot for a coalition government.

“Each country has its unique problems but patriotism is about talking and solving them. Nobody can go to the streets for protests if everything is okay. We are not mad people,” said Raila.

The opposition leader took Gachagua head-on over his recent condescending remarks on the bipartisan talks.

“Now Riggy G (Rigathi) there is no problem with having dialogue. Let Kimani Ichungwa, Kalonzo Musyoka, and their teams have the talks. Even if we are not on the same page, just listen. You, President William Ruto, and I should step aside,” said Raila.

He emphasised that the opposition was not interested in having a share of government positions.

“I don’t want to be a deputy president. I don’t want to be a prime minister. I have been this and more. I no longer have an interest in that. Just be calm and cease claims I want nusu mkate,” he said.

“When did I meet Ruto? We have an agenda that needs to be addressed. These people are still interested in the fair sharing of resources. We can only achieve fairness with patriotism,” he added.

In a rejoinder, Gachagua said Azimio has no moral authority to lecture the Kenya Kwanza administration.

“Where were you when projects stalled, when cash transfers for the aged stopped, when fertilizer prices rose to KSh7,000? Why didn’t you hold protests during the handshake government?” said Gachagua.

The DP added: “Come we talk but you and your people cannot join our government. It is not possible because there is no constitutional provision and we can’t agree that you mess us up the way you did with Uhuru.”

Gachagua said he respects Raila’s contribution in the fight for the country’s second liberation but his subsequent actions are shocking to many.

“Someone who has been bit by a snake in the past shivers at the sight of a rope. It is true we fear you. You had a handshake with our son Uhuru Kenyatta but changed him for the worse. That is why we fear any handshake with you,” said Gachagua.

He recounted how he suffered under Uhuru’s government despite their previous relationship.

“I was Uhuru’s personal assistant. He was my best buddy. We were very close. The moment he started working with you, he turned against me. If you assure us nothing like that will happen to Ruto, you can go ahead to shake his hand,” he added.

He said that the teams selected for bipartisan talks should continue with their job but maintained this would not distract their development agenda.

“If you will agree to be peaceful, we have no problem. But the moment you will touch private property… I heard some say that there would be cessation. In which country and under whose leadership? Let us be honest. It won’t happen,” he said.

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