Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has made startling revelations about a demand made by Azimio leader Raila Odinga during an interview on Inooro TV on Sunday, April 16.
Gachagua disclosed that Raila had demanded half of the cabinet secretaries, ambassadorial, and permanent secretary slots in exchange for calling off the weekly mass action. This demand was allegedly conveyed to Gachagua by US President Joe Biden’s home Senator Christopher Coons, who has been involved in Kenyan political deal-making in the past.
Gachagua, however, was not receptive to the demand and argued that it would defeat the purpose of holding costly elections in Kenya every five years. He pointed out that Kenya’s elections cost Sh30 billion, and it would be futile to hold elections only to discuss power-sharing afterward.
Instead, Gachagua suggested that if Raila wanted to discuss positions, it should be done after the elections, and only if Raila indicates that he is ready to retire from politics. In that case, Gachagua stated that President Ruto would be willing to discuss how the government can award Raila retirement benefits such as security detail, cars, and perks, but not to discuss an election that they believe they fairly won.
Gachagua also brushed off threats from Azimio to forward his name to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over alleged misuse of the police service. He affirmed that as the Deputy President, he would continue to protect people’s property during protests and that the government was within the law to use force to protect the rights of others that were being infringed by the opposition during protests.
Furthermore, Gachagua denied being a hardliner in the President’s wing and expressed concerns that engaging in a handshake with Raila, as President Uhuru Kenyatta did in the past, would lead to a similar fate of losing support in their region. He claimed to be the de facto spokesperson of the political wing of the Kenya Kwanza administration and stated that their political stand is against a handshake with Raila.
These revelations come at a time when the Opposition has proposed structured talks similar to the Kofi Annan-led talks after the post-election violence in 2008. Raila has also called for the extension of bipartisan talks to involve leaders outside parliament and to discuss other demands beyond just the electoral process.