Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua affirmed on Sunday, April 9 that Azimio la Umoja leader, Raila Odinga, must recognise William Ruto as president before the government could engage with the opposition.
Speaking during a church service in Mathira, Gachagua claimed that it was Raila who approached Ruto on April 1 for talks after he faced opposition from among others, the international community.
After hitting a dead end in terms of the mass action, Raila approached Ruto who informed him that he needed to initiate talks with the Parliament, with Gachagua dismissing reports that the talks were between him and the President.
“That is why we told him to talk in Parliament but ourselves (him and Ruto), we cannot engage Raila. Before we do, he must first acknowledge in public that Ruto is the President of Kenya,” Gachagua pointed out.
Gachagua further slammed Raila by stating that he was not in the same league as him or his boss, meaning he did not have the powers to speak on behalf of the people. The second-in-command in particular pointed out that some of Raila’s demands were beyond his own capability.
“We told him to advise his MPs because they are elected, to speak to ours. But we cannot talk to him, on what grounds?
“Who is he in Kenya? We talk to him as who? He’s just an ordinary citizen, he is not elected by anybody. If he has personal problems he should come we hear him out,” Gachagua declared.
The DP further accused Raila of being silent regarding the cost of living and the state of the economy during the period of his handshake with former President Uhuru Kenyatta and that if he had raised an alarm at that time, things would not be the levels they are at the moment.
Gachagua told Raila to engage the Kenya Kwanza Members of Parliament (MP) in the National Assembly and report back with what he agreed upon with the lawmakers.
“Let them go to the Parliament and engage our MPs and they will tell us what he said. We have no time,” he declared.
On Thursday, April 6, ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna had disclosed that Raila had ordered Azimio leaders to avoid discussing the bipartisan talks that will jeopardize the environment for the coalition to hold discussions.
“We will not listen to some of the leaders in Kenya Kwanza but will wait for President William Ruto to speak because he is the one who initiated these talks,” he stated.
Azimio picked three senators and four Members of Parliament (MP) to represent them in the bipartisan parliamentary talks. They included Senators Ledama Olekina (Narok), Edwin Sifuna (Nairobi), Enoch Wambua (Kitui), and MPs David Kosing (Pokot South), Otiende Amollo (Rarieda), Millie Odhiambo (Suba North), and Amina Mnyanzi (Malindi).
Kenya Kwanza is expected to name its representatives on Tuesday, April 11 during its Parliamentary Group (PG) meeting.
Raila is demanding President Ruto to lower the cost of living, open the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) servers, and reinstatement of dismissed commissioners led by Juliana Cherera, the former IEBC vice chairperson.
He also wants Ruto to reconstitute the team seeking to appoint new IEBC commissioners to replace former chairperson Wafula Chebukati, and ex-commissioners Boya Molu and Abdi Guliye, even though Ruto insisted that he was open to engaging with Azimio but through a parliamentary process, ruling any possibility of a handshake.