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Friday, August 18, 2017

'Desperate' Uhuru spreading rumours, Raila says over incitement claims

NASA flag bearer Raila Odinga during a rally in Chuka on Friday, June 16, 2017. /COURTESY
NASA flag bearer Raila Odinga during a rally in Chuka on Friday, June 16, 2017. /COURTESY

NASA flag bearer Raila Odinga has denied claims by Jubilee Party that he asked communities to return to their ancestral lands.

The opposition leader, in a statement on Friday, said he is "disappointed that President Uhuru Kenyatta has adopted politics of rumours and scaremongering."

Uhuru, during a rally in Bomet on Friday, said Raila is treading the same path that led to the 2007/2008 post election violence.

"Yesterday he was talking about 'wenye inchi' and 'wenye wanafaa kurudi kwao' (those who belong and those who should return to where they came from) ... and that is the same language he used to create conflict last time," the President said.

Read: Raila treading path that will lead to violence - Uhuru

In his response, Raila said the head of state is only looking for ways to survive in the face of stiff challenges arising from the disappointment of Kenyans with the Jubilee administration.

Dennis Onyango, Raila's spokesman, said the ODM leader has not made the utterances referred to by the President terming the claims as 'out of the blues'.

He said the president is only shaken by Raila's growing support base adding that the President’s remarks are therefore far-fetched and smacks of desperation.

"Under pressure, President Kenyatta is creating imaginary scenarios and enemies and proceeding to respond to them," Onyango said.

"We find such gasps of outrage rather hollow and unfortunate particularly coming from the President whose office is supposed to embody unity and certainty in the nation."

The opposition leader, he said, wants Uhuru to "desist from scary-sounding pronouncements and instead be a positive and uplifting force by addressing the issues hurting Kenyans".

He cited the high cost of living, the raging famine, rising insecurity and the holding of free and fair elections as some of the issues that the head of state should focus on.

Earlier, Jubilee Party secretary general Raphael Tuju wrote to the National Cohesion and Integration Commission demanding that Raila is probed for the remarks.

Raila, in a video purported to be from a Kajiado rally, asked the residents to protect their lands and not sell them to 'outsiders'.

"...until now there is no land because of poverty...we want to change that so that people don't sell their parcels."

"Keep your land with you so that you don't cry foul later on...let the buyers remain at their places of origin," Raila said.

But Tuju said the comments are likely to spark violence.

"We all know that it only requires a very small match to start a very large and dangerous fire. With these comments, Raila has struck that match."

"...the use of irresponsible and inflammatory language will ignite tensions within local communities and can only be regarded as hate speech," Tuju said.

He asked the commission to review the utterances and establish whether NASA contravened the law with respect to hate speech.

Also read: Probe Raila over 'hate' remarks, Jubilee asks NCIC

More on this: NCIC worried about lack of convictions in hate speech cases, says ole Kaparo

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