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October 22, 2018

Raila: Why Kalonzo and Ruto were locked out of handshake discussions

NASA leader Raila Odinga during the opening of Kitui Villa in Kitui town, July 10, 2018. /MUSEMBI NZENGU
NASA leader Raila Odinga during the opening of Kitui Villa in Kitui town, July 10, 2018. /MUSEMBI NZENGU

NASA leader Raila Odinga yesterday said top leaders were left of his March 9 handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta because of their 2022 presidential ambitions.

As a result Deputy President William Ruto and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, who was Raila's running mate in the general election last year, were not part of the meeting.

Read: Is UhuRuto marriage ending before 2022?

Raila said he agreed with Uhuru that they should not not involve either of them in their initial meeting, because their agenda was weighty. They did not want it drailed by other interests, he said.

“Uhuru told me not to bring Kalonzo along into our first meeting since Ruto wasn't attending either," he said.

Raila spoke in Kitui town where he was the chief guest during the opening of the newly constructed Kitui Villa Hotel. It is owned by fierce Jubilee critic Prof Makau Mutua.

Kalonzo, Kitui governor Charity Ngilu and Machakos governor aspirant in the last poll, Wavinya Ndeti, were present.

Raila said he met with Uhuru to agree on ways of achieving the elusive Kenya dream envisaged by our founding fathers at independence.

The opposition said before the meeting, he told Uhuru he was not interested in the Big Four agenda.

“My concern was not Uhuru's Big Four agenda. I had my own five irreducible minimums, which I wanted laid on the table. We agreed on that prior to the meeting,” said Raila.

He said Uhuru invited him for a reconciliation meeting after the nation almost became ungovernable after he took an oath as the People's President on January 30 at Uhuru park.

Raila said the peace were necessary because there were fears that Kenya would go the Iraq, Syria or the Yemen way. He said were there to be violence, lives would have been lost needlessly.

“I was not afraid of being arrested because of the oath. Uhuru was in problem. He sent emissaries to ask me for a meeting. Since then the country has been a path of healing,” he said.

Raila praised Prof Mutua for his contribution towards good governance and justice in Kenya. He said his thinking and that of Mutua were similar.

"Mutua and I are Ideological soul mates," Raila said.

Also read: 'Handshake not about 2022': Raila narrates how Uhuru reached out

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