ALL ABOARD FOR MOMBASA

Raila to Ruto: BBI train won't stop for saboteurs

Welcomes DP allies to rallies but warns them not to derail the process.

In Summary

• Tangatanga politicians had criticised the rallies and accused Raila and his ODM party of hijacking the unity drive to advance their 2022 agenda. 

• On Tuesday, however, they said they would be attending BBI rallies starting with Saturday's in Mombasa. 

ODM leader Raila Odinga at the Radisson Blue Hotel in Nairobi on Thursday, January 23, 2020.
ODM leader Raila Odinga at the Radisson Blue Hotel in Nairobi on Thursday, January 23, 2020.
Image: DOUGLAS OKIDDY

ODM leader Raila Odinga on Thursday welcomed DP William Ruto and his allies to BBI information rallies but warned that any attempt to sabotage the process will be thwarted. 

Raila likened BBI to a train that has left the station, saying that no force can stop it except for those who want to board to promote unity.

“I don’t think there is any force that can stop this train from moving. It will move on and we invite everybody else to join on board,” he said.

He had met senators from Central about the BBI rally on February 15 in Meru town.

Raila raised the stakes ahead of the BBI rally in Mombasa on Saturday, which Ruto’s allies have said they will attend. 

The pro-Ruto Tangatanga politicians had criticised the rallies and accused Raila and ODM of hijacking the unity drive to advance their 2022 agenda. Already, two rallies have been held in Kisii and Kakamega.

But in a surprise move on Tuesday, the legislators said they will be attending all the rallies, starting with Mombasa’s, to inform the public on the BBI report.

On Thursday, governors, most of whom are in ODM, said no one who is not from the Coast will be allowed to speak at the Mombasa forum.

Further, the master of ceremony will be Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, a die-hard ally of Raila's.

On Thursday, Raila said they have realised that the agenda of the BBI, a product of the handshake between him and President Uhuru Kenyatta, was not about 2022 politics but a drive to unite the country.

“It is not aimed at elections of 2022. It is not aimed at excluding any particular community. This is a Kenyan agenda. It is an agenda to bring the people of Kenya together so that we can solve our problems and make our country a better place,” Raila said.

However, the AU special envoy on Infrastructure said Tangatanga should preach the BBI agenda — unity— not 2022 politics when they attend the rallies.

 

“It will be very misguided and unfortunate for anybody to try to think that they can sabotage this exercise. This is a people-driven exercise. It is the people of Kenya who are moving this process,” he said. 

He denied claims he was using BBI to prepare his path for the presidency in 2022, adding that those peddling the propaganda trying to divert attention from the initiative and urged Kenyans to ignore them.

The ODM boss had met four senators from Central Kenya ahead of a BBI rall on February 15.

He met Ephraim Maina (Nyeri), Irungu Kangata (Murang'a), Mwangi Githiomi (Nyandarua), Isaac Mwaura (Nominated). Siaya's James Orengo was also present. 

“I briefed them on the BBI initiative and where we are coming from and our intentions. We have generally also discussed issues of development in the region,” he said.

Senator Maina said they have thrown their weight behind the BBI initiative because of its agenda of uniting the country and empowering the people. 

“The people of Central welcome anything that will bring peace to our people. We welcome anything that will help the people of Kenya, stop fighting and live in peace,” he said. 

Githiomi said they are supporting BBI because they believe it will unite the country to change the fortunes of Kenyans.

“In Mt Kenya, we have had a problem with milk which has been selling at Sh17. We want to know how BBI is going to ensure our milk is sold at the price it is supposed to,” he said.

Mwaura said senators have not been involved in the coordinating the previous BBI events, adding that they will be part of the team organising the Mt Kenya meeting. 

 

Edited by R.Wamochie