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Raila: I’m not after Ruto’s handshake

Azimio la Umoja party leader Raila Odinga maintains he has no intention of settling for a political handshake with President William Ruto.

In an address to the media on March 23, 2023, Mr Odinga also took issue with President Ruto appointing 50 Chief Administrative Secretaries (CAS) without subjecting them to vetting by the National Assembly.

“Mr Ruto is opening the full dictator’s playbook to kill democracy. We as Azimio cannot and will not allow Ruto to take us to the dark days of yesterday. We cannot and will not participate in a handshake with an illegitimate regime,” he said.

On the flip side, President Ruto has claimed that Mr Odinga is stoking a political crisis to force his government into a settlement to advance family business interests.

“I want to tell them to forget about the handshake and don’t tell us you do not want a handshake. We know you and we can see you,” he said.

Echoing his boss, the State House spokesperson Hussein Mohammed said that President Ruto would not get into any ‘unconstitutional’ political agreement with the opposition leader.

“There is the president and there is one side that is in the opposition. There are channels through which the opposition can engage the presidency and the executive through parliament and through committees of parliament,” he said.

Be it as it may, Mr Odinga early in the week announced to Kenyans that he would be leading protests on Mondays and Thursdays starting next week.

However, businessmen together with Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja have asked the government to intervene saying that they are counting losses following business closures and the effects of protests.

Mr Odinga maintains the protests are aimed at putting pressure on the government to address the high cost of living and electoral reforms.

As an opposition leader with a career spanning close to three decades, Mr Odinga got into a political handshake with Presidents Daniel Moi, Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta.

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