President Uhuru Kenyatta’s top aide David Murathe has thrashed calls by DP William Ruto and his allies to have Opposition leader Raila Odinga quit politics in the wake of his new job in the African Union.
Murathe who is Jubilee’s vice Chair said Raila’s appointment as an AU Special Representative in charge of Infrastructure could only raise his stature and increase his relevance in local politics.
“How many people have taken advantage of these international jobs to vie for local posts? What can stop Raila from running for any elective seat?” asked Mr Murathe, the Jubilee vice-chairman.
“If Raila uses the unity deal between him and the President to run for leadership, that is none of our business. We must, however, say that we are proud as a country because one of our own is now in charge of infrastructural development in Africa,” he added.
MPs Robert Pkose (Endebess), Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), West Pokot woman representative Lillian Tomitom and Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata yesterday said Mr Odinga’s international appointment had cleared the way for Deputy President William Ruto to clinch the presidency in 2022.
Murathe assertions corroborates that of ODM leaders who came out guns blazing, maintaining that Mr Odinga’s new role has nothing to do with his leadership of Opposition.
Siaya Senator James Orengo said the new job only enhances Mr Odinga’s role in building bridges and bringing peace and respect for human rights and the rule of law in the continent.
“It does not take away in any form or shape his current political status in Kenya and his political state in the rest of the world. I am excited that his statesmanship has been recognised even as he remains active in politics,” said the Senate minority leader.
ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna, national chairman John Mbadi, secretary of political affairs Opiyo Wandayi, Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo and his Rangwe counterpart Lilian Gogo weighed in, saying Mr Odinga will not retire from local politics soon.
Mr Mbadi said: “Political rights are inalienable rights that you cannot limit. That appointment cannot in any way force him (Raila) to quit local politics. He has immense time to do so. His role in infrastructural development in Africa is merely advisory.”
He went on: “He will go nowhere and those scared of him must know this. Their behavior shows they fear Raila’s participation in local politics.”
Mr Wandayi said nobody invited Mr Odinga to politics and “as such, nobody can dictate to him when to retire”. “If Africa needs Odinga, then Kenya needs him even more. Mr Odinga is a revolutionary and a freedom fighter. Revolutionaries never retire,” added the Ugunja MP.
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