[h=1]Politicians unleash bag of tricks[/h] Updated 10 hr(s) 18 min(s) ago [h=2]Related Stories[/h] [h=3] Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka. Photo: File/Standard[/h] [h=3] Raila defends Wetangula's reinstatement to Cabinet[/h] [h=3] Raila urges private sector to supplement education[/h] [h=3] Kibaki appoints IEBC chair[/h] [h=3] Ruto: We are not bothered by ODM elections[/h] [h=3] ODM to purge party of rebels[/h] By Oscar Obonyo With just slightly over one month to the election year, muck-racking characteristic of electioneering is increasingly taking centre-stage. In recent days, Prime Minister Raila Odinga has often times been forced to fend off political attacks that his camp alleges is a smear campaign. And his opponents, too, have had to contend with similar political attacks though no one wants to take responsibility as presidential aspirants manoeuvre for pole position ahead of the defining 2012 General Election. [TABLE="align: left"] [TR] [TD] [/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Prime Minister Raila Odinga pays his last respect to the late Mama Zilpa Ochieng Obara at her home in Uyoma Rarieda District, on Saturday. He was accompanied by his wife, Ida Odinga, and area MP Nicholas Gumbo. Picture: PMPS/Standard [/TD] [/TR] [/TABLE] In a sensational development on Saturday, it was the Prime Ministers former advisor on coalition affairs, lawyer Miguna Miguna, who called a press conference to allege threats to his life over articles perceived to be negative to the PM.He accused some politicians he did not name of being behind the alleged plot against him, following his falling out with the Premier. In early August, the office of the Prime Minister announced that it was suspending Miguna from his position, without pay pending, investigations into his conduct over complaints (see story page 11). In recent days, Railas allies claim opponents were on an over-drive to bring down the Langata MP, whom opinion polls suggest is favourite to win the Presidency in the next elections. Raila has this month been put on the defensive in Parliament during heated sessions on alleged corruption over Kazi Kwa Vijana project, and the re-appointment of Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula. Opinion polls The ODM leader on two occasions protested at what he described as selective attacks against his office to settle political scores. During debate in Parliament on November 9, when he explained the reappointment of Wetangula, the PM had to fight off claims that his relatives were beneficiaries of ambassadorial appointments. Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale questioned the appointment of some envoys, suggesting that Raila had influenced them, to the PMs consternation. Khalwale said: "I do not know, but was it because he was returning a favour in respect of the appointments of (he listed the names)?" But Raila termed Khalwales remarks unfortunate and that he had to set the record straight because the issue had been a subject of propaganda against him. "I do not want to dismiss these remarks because I know that they have been subject of insinuations and rumours," he told the House. Furious at Khalwales suggestion that the persons who landed the appointments and whom he had listed were his cousins, Raila responded: "Not every Luo is a relative of the Prime Minister." He added: "The people he has talked about have no blood relationship with the Prime Minister. The member needs to know that the Luo are Kenyans and they have a right to be appointed like any other Kenyan." The PM explained that the country had 60 ambassadors and high commissioners abroad and about 80 consulars, totaling 140, and it was unfortunate to pick on any. Another battlefront The justification that Wetangula was given back his job because investigations had cleared him prompted the New Ford-Kenya MP to open another battlefront. Khalwale claimed "double standards", asking why the decision had not applied in the case of Eldoret North MP, William Ruto, after High Court acquittal. He posed: "Why is Hon William Ruto not in the Cabinet, if it is not a question of applying double standards?" Raila responded that Ruto had asked to be relieved of his Cabinet position to "concentrate on building a new party that is not a member of the Coalition Government". That explanation angered Ruto, who told a public rally thereafter to be wary of leaders who were not honest even about things that were common knowledge. Ruto, who is also ODM deputy party leader but has fallen out with his party boss, had been suspended as Higher Education minister over a corruption case. However, although the court cleared Ruto, his post was given to Eldoret East MP, Margaret Kamar, who was elevated from Environment Assistant Minister during a Cabinet reshuffle. Interestingly, the Industrialisation docket, which has remained vacant since Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey stepped aside over an ongoing abuse of office charge, was not filled. Raila has adopted a softer stand on Kosgey, who is ODM chairman, unlike the hard line position against Ruto, who has publicly denounced ODM for United Democratic Movement. ODM insiders said the party had given up on any reconciliation with Ruto, who heads a rebellious wing of ODM that includes some Rift Valley MPs. However, the party brass has extended overtures to Kosgey, including selling the idea that they were comfortable with him defending his party position if he returned to the fold. A week earlier, MPs had put Raila on the defensive over the alleged theft of Kazi Kwa Vijana funds. Heated session The PM, however, weathered the storm during a heated session at which he, again, protested that some members were maliciously attempting to smear his office to settle political scores. Khalwale stirred the pool when he read out a list of senior staff in the PMs office who he said were involved in supervision of the programme. Among them, Khalwale said, was Caroli Omondi, the Chief of Staff at the Office of the Prime Minister, Deputy Chief Economist John Musale, Permanent Secretary Mohammed Isahakia, and Rachel Gesami, the Vision 2030 co-ordination director. Raila said Khalwale had been selective and economical with facts "because the list he was quoting from had 47 names". "He purposely just picked a few names from the Office of the Prime Minister," said Raila, explaining that the officials had done no wrong. After riding out the storm in Parliament, the PM had to contend with other developments in Kisumu, which gave opponents fresh cannon fodder to attack him on perceived intolerance to competition. This followed the stoning of presidential aspirant Raphael Tuju in Kondele during a campaign stop. Tuju himself charged that the buck stopped with the ODM party leader, in a stinging rebuttal to claims by the Orange party that he had staged the attack. Cooking scandals "The ODM party thrives on communist-style/Hitler-like propaganda where peddling falsehoods, half-truths and outright lies were common," said Tuju. ODM Secretary General Anyang Nyongo had blamed Tuju for the incident at a press conference following a party Parliamentary Group meeting. Over time, the PM has fought off a barrage of accusations targeting him by "mimi ni mweupe kama pamba (I am as clean as cotton)". His allies, on the other hand, have derided opponents for their persistent attacks on the PM. But Ruto denies that Raila was their target: "Kuna watu wengine wanafikiri eti kila mara viongozi wakikutana kuongea mambo yao, eti wanazungumza juu yao (There are some who imagine that each time political leaders meet to consult, they are discussing them). However, Sports Minister Paul Otuoma maintains that Railas detractors were busy "cooking scandals" to discredit him. "This is the work of malicious politicians who are now abusing the very freedoms that the likes of the PM fought so hard and sacrificed a lot to achieve." Joint Government Chief Whip, Jakoyo Midiwo, said there is nothing wrong with fighting corruption. The only problem, he observed, was when the exercise is politicised or personalised.