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Uhuru, Raila traded barbs at Ntimama burial and internet explodes

By DAVID KWALIMWA September 14th, 2016 2 min read

President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Wednesday turned the funeral service of former Cabinet Minister William Ole Ntimama into a political battleground for Jubilee and Cord.

The two politicians traded barbs at the four-hour event to the excitement of the tens of thousands of mourners, with a visibly angry President Kenyatta bluntly telling Mr Odinga to keep off the newly unveiled Jubilee Party’s affairs.

Wachana na Jubilee yangu, wewe jenga chama yako huko na tutakutana uwanjani,” said Mr Kenyatta.

Mr Kenyatta also told Mr Odinga: “Kiti sisi tumekalia, wewe ni kutafuta. Kumezea nyama mate si kula nyama. Ukweli na usemwe. Ama vipi?”


In protest, Mr Odinga refused to honour President Kenyatta at the end of his speech when he remained sat as the head of state was heading back to his seat.

Pallbearers among them family members carry remains of the Ntimama. Photo | Suleiman Mbatiah
The casket with the remains of the late Ntimama. Photo | Suleiman Mbatiah

But it was, in fact, Mr Odinga who fired the first salvo in his speech, delivered before the president’s.

Mr Odinga recalled how the late Ntimama supported him when he revolted against then President Daniel arap Moi’s decision to anoint Mr Kenyatta as his successor in 2002.

President Uhuru Kenyatta condoles family members of the late minister. PHOTOS | SULEIMAN MBATIA

“I hear Jubilee leaders here (read Duale) saying that they will debate and possibly implement the TJRC findings. I am wondering where they will find time to do that because we are soon removing them from power,” Mr Odinga said.

Mr Odinga also recounted how a few days to his death, Mr Ntimama phoned him after a meeting with Jubilee leaders at State House and told him that he was firmly in ODM.

President Kenyatta, all this time, was laughing sheepishly.


When he rose to speak, President Kenyatta took a swipe at Tanzania, telling the country’s presidential candidate Edward Lowassa to “go tell Tanzanians that I’m firmly in control of things”.

There have been suggestions that an administration of a neighbouring country was working to destabilise the Jubilee administration.

Cord leader Raila Odinga arrives at the home of the late minister.
Cord leader Raila Odinga arrives at the home of the late minister.

That administration is said to be the Tanzania Government headed by John Pombe Maghufuli.

Ntimama who passed on peacefully at his Narok home last week, was finally laid to rest at about 4:30pm.

After the event, Twitter was ungovernable.