Nairobi News


Raila: They were praying that I should die

ODM leader Mr Raila Odinga claimed Saturday that some of his political opponents wished him dead when he was taken ill last month, but noted that he was as fits as a fiddle and ready to work for the people.

At a burial in Bondo Sub-county, Siaya, on Saturday, Mr Odinga said his detractors even claimed he had lost his speech and would not make a comeback because he was dying.

“Some of them said I had lost my speech on my deathbed and was being fed using a tube. They were praying that I should die,” he said in his native Dholuo language.

Mr Odinga was taken to Dubai where he underwent a minor surgery following a problem with his back. He was last in Siaya early in March.

The Orange Democratic Movement leader toured Kisumu County on Friday after a five-month absence due to restrictions to curb the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As you can see I am very fine. I am very okay now and we say to them, washindwe (may they be defeated),” he said.

Referendum “unstoppable”

Regarding the referendum, the politician reiterated that the resolve to hold one before the 2022 General Election was on course and unstoppable.

He said the plebiscite would happen “whether some people like it or not”, because it was Kenyans who requested it and since most of the proposals on the review of the 2010 Constitution were pegged on it.

“Kenyans will decide if they want a referendum but I can assure you the plebiscite will be held. It is Kenyans who will decide what should happen at the vote, ” he said.

Mr Odinga noted that he and President Uhuru Kenyatta were only waiting to receive the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report from the Secretariat before beginning the second phase of the tour to educate the public on the initiative and the contents of the report.

“I am fully back with the BBI, which only stopped for halftime. The reggae, as I said, earlier is unstoppable,” he said.

“Once we receive the report we will take it back to the people in round two of the popularisation tour,” he also said, adding a referendum would then follow.

Deep state claims

Mr Odinga also talked about his handshake with President Kenyatta, noting it was aimed at ending the cycle of election violence and other social ills that have plagued Kenya.

“We want to fix this country once and for all. Never again shall we fight over elections. The handshake was to help us come up with mechanisms to cure the election-related violence that has seen Kenyans shed blood.”

Referring to recent remarks by Deputy President William Ruto, he claimed those opposed to the handshake between were “coining words like ‘in the deep state’,” yet they were to blame for the violence witnessed in the past.

President Kenyatta and DP Ruto faced charges at the International Criminal Court over the 2007/8 post-poll violence that left at least 1,300 people dead and more than 600,000 internally displaced.

They were cleared for reasons including lack of evidence and political interference.

Secured future

Siaya Senator James Orengo said the handshake would fulfil the promise of a united country that every Kenyan citizen would be proud to associate with.

“The handshake is unshakable. Ask Dr William Ruto if you want to confirm how unshakable it is,” he stated, adding the benefits would secure the public’s future.

He added, “Those used to stealing from the public coffers are the ones who should explain to us how the deep state operates.”

Rarieda MP Dr Otiende Amollo said the referendum should take place as soon as possible and should be separate front the General Election,

“We can’t say the referendum can’t be held because of lack of money. We must review the Constitution and then go to the election,” he said, adding proposals for the number of constituencies to be reduced must be reviewed before the 2022 vote.

He said the National Assembly’s Legal Affairs committee, which was dealing with the review in Parliament, was ready to receive the BBI report and jump-start the referendum process.