Coalition for Reforms and Democracy leader Raila Odinga has cautioned President Uhuru Kenyatta of a “political storm” if the Jubilee government maintains a hardline stance against the national dialogue his team is seeking.
But in a quick rejoinder from Nyeri, at the burial of Governor Nderitu Gachagua’s father, Deputy President William Ruto hit back at the Opposition.
“We are telling them that the election is over, it is time they gave us a break and let us implement our manifesto. After three-and-half years we will be back to the electorate and they will decide,” said Ruto, who has been against the dialogue.
Ruto said the Government was stable and would withstand the pressure from the Opposition.
“Let me assure Kenyans that the Government under the stewardship of President Uhuru Kenyatta is firm. We are used to these noises and we will not let down Kenyans,’’ the DP went on. (See story page 4)
But in what seems to be a hardening of positions five days since he returned from abroad, the former Prime Minister said the country is in crisis on various fronts, including insecurity and corruption. Raila said these matters could not be sorted out by the Jubilee coalition alone.
Addressing a political rally in Nairobi’s Eastleigh Estate, Raila told Uhuru he couldn’t afford to play “deaf and dumb” to demands for serious talks between the Jubilee government and the Opposition.
Raila asked Uhuru to brace for a political storm that will sweep across the country.
“I tell my brother Uhuru, ‘You have to look up and see the coming storm. This will not be an ordinary storm. It will be a powerful roaring political storm, which can only be stopped if you hold serious talks with us. There is no turning back. The country is in a crisis,’” Raila threatened.
He added: “If the President rejects our offer for talks, Kenyans will conduct their own talks during “Saba Saba Day” (July 7) and make a decision there on how to move forward.”
The Orange leader termed as an insult likening the “national dialogue” to a “cup of tea” at State House.
He insisted that he wants nothing short of substantive discussions and tight agreements on key national issues including tackling what he termed as runaway insecurity, corruption, threats to Devolution and the disbandment of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
“The talks we are demanding are not about inviting us to State House for a cup of tea with the President. We don’t lack cups of tea where we are now. No, that would be an insult. We want serious discussions on how the country can move forward.”
He went on: “Things are so bad that we can’t wait for 2017. The talks have to happen now.”
He said Uhuru appears willing to engage in substantive discussions with the Opposition, but is being dissuaded by a clique of political leaders and advisers in the coalition who are pushing a hardline stance.
“When Uhuru gave a speech on Madaraka Day, he said he was ready to engage in serious talks with the Opposition. A few days later, he changes his mind. He should not be dissuaded from these urgent talks by those around him for he is the one who will face the political storm that is coming,” insisted Raila.