Raila made to sweat in tough Al Jazeera interview – VIDEO
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga was on Friday night put on the hot seat by Al Jazeera’s Head to Head host Mehdi Hasan who asked him uncomfortable questions as the Cord leader fumbled to get right responses.
At the start of the 47-minute interview, that was again aired by KTN News on Monday, Mehdi asked him why he only thinks that his opponents rig yet his allies have been filmed dishing out cash in his rallies.
“I never saw that clip, and this is the first time am hearing this. Probably he was doing it for his own,” Raila said.
Pressed on by the inquisitive host in front of a live studio audience, Mr Odinga had to admit that he “will talk to him about those allegations”.
It got hotter question after question as focus shifted to electoral disputes.
TAKE A BULLET
The ODM party leader was taken to task over his remarks carried in New York Times newspaper claiming that “he’s willing to take a bullet for him to be the president of Kenya”.
Raila quickly defended his statement saying: “I was misquoted. I meant that we shall never allow for elections to be stolen again!”
He also defended statements attributed to Nairobi County ODM chairman Mr George Aladwa who had claimed that “for Raila to be president, people must die!”
“I watched that clip and he never meant that way. He was saying that if they try to rig again, we shall strongly protests and demonstrate against the vote stealing,” he explained.
On the 2007/08 violence, Raila refused to take responsibility for the chaos, instead claiming that the violent scenes that were witnessed in his stronghold were spontaneous.
“I wasn’t responsible for the skirmishes. I was leading Mwai Kibaki and when local TV stations were ordered to stop live transmission and the then ECK (Electoral Commission of Kenya) chair (Samuel Kivuitu) announced wrong results, the country erupted into chaos,” he said.
He then contradicted himself when asked about ICC and the six Kenyans who were referred to it.
“We were the first ones to write to them reporting that the Kenyan government was committing human rights abuses.”
He, however, could not clearly express his opinion on Deputy President William Ruto. He could not confirm or deny that the DP was culpable of the charges he faced, but maintained that he would him if he was the president.
There was a light moment when he admitted to having paid a bribe.
“The question is when, not if because as you’ve have rightly put it, every Kenyan does it. Yes, at some point but not as a Prime Minister,” he said amidst laughter from the audience.
The questioning turned from lighthearted to embarrassing when he was asked if it was true that he US President Barack Obama’s cousin.
He tried to deny ever claiming that before Hasan pointed out to him a 2008 BBC interview where he had said that they were cousins.
“What I meant is that my mother and Barack’s father come from the same clan. But they’re not related,” he said.
Watch the full interview here: