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Raila reveals discussions he had with Ruto during Mashemeji derby

Raila Odinga has assured his supporters his recent meetings with President William Ruto were a coincidence.

Speaking on May 16, 2023, Mr Odinga, who is the Azimio la Umoja coalition leader, stressed he was focused on keeping the Kenya Kwanza government on its toes and had no time to shake hands with them.

Mr Odinga explained that his first recent meeting with President Ruto since the contentious 2022 presidential elections happened at the burial of Mau Mau leader Mukami Kimathi in Nyandarua county on May 13, 2023, as he had been invited.

Later in the day, the two leaders met at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, during the Kip Keino Classic athletics meet where they again shook hands and were spotted chatting while in a jovial mood.

The following day, the President and opposition leader again met at the Nyayo Stadium during a Kenyan Premier League match between Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards. The clash is normally referred to as the Mashemeji derby.

“I went there because I am the patron of Gor Mahia. When I got to Madaraka Estate, there was a traffic jam and I asked why there was a traffic jam on a Sunday. I was told you know the roads are closed because the President is going to the stadium,” said Mr Odinga.

He added that during the first half of the match, he and the President had the opportunity to visit the lounge where they talked only about football.

“We met there. Pictures were taken. We talked about nothing but football and there was no handshake.”

The opposition leader also addressed Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, reiterating he was not keen on a political handshake with President Ruto.

“Mr Gachagua, understand that we do not want a handshake with Kenya Kwanza. We didn’t ask for it and we don’t want it. And we will not go for it.”

The Azimio leader also said that if the proposed Finance Bill sails through parliament, he will mobilise Kenyans to demonstrate against it.

“Kenya Kwanza must prepare that we will have no option but to mobilize citizens around the country to fight for themselves. We will have no option but to mobilize all the social sectors and take all the necessary political actions to stop this blow and burden.”

He said that the government should address the economy’s many structural shortcomings instead of introducing more taxes.

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