- Jan 30, 2008
Raila: Elect those who will protect the Constitution
By David Ochami
MOMBASA; KENYA: Prime Minister Raila Odinga painted Mombasa orange even as his bitter rivals Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto virtually took over Nakuru town to seal their alliance.
The sun-drenched Tononoka ground in Mombasa was a sea of orange, providing a stark contrast to the rain-soaked ocean of humanity in Nakuru's Afraha Stadium.
Raila refrained from making any references to the Nakuru event, and instead warned his supporters of the need to elect leaders who will protect the August 2010 Constitution. The PM also warned "enemies of the new Constitution" were plotting to derail it and were promoting tribal divisions.
Adding his party was at the forefront of the struggle to get a new Constitution, the premier said conservative forces have fought the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) tirelessly.
Raila said US President Barrack Obama "whose father was Kenyan" had defeated "a pure white Anglo-Saxon called Mitt Romney" in a mainly white country, but expressed regret that the US leader would not have been elected in Kenya "because he would have been dismissed as a Luo."
He said ODM was committed to socio-economic transformation of the country through the new constitution and accused unnamed opponents inciting the Provincial Administration against his party.
The PM noted that ODM opponents and enemies of the devolution model have been inciting chiefs to picket publicly over their fate in the new constitutional dispensation.
"The chiefs were told to demonstrate after being told ODM will abolish the Provincial Administration if it came to power," added Raila who told the chiefs "not to agree to be used by our opponents to campaign against ODM."
He said his opponents were obsessed with fighting him and ODM through tribal alliances, but exuded confidence his party will win the next elections because it has a nationwide following. He said his rivals have fostered tribalism and hate against some ethnic groups.
While Raila avoided mentioning names, MPs who accompanied him to Tononoka were not as careful.They blasted Uhuru and Ruto as unsuitable to rule Kenya claiming their alliance was tribal.
Roads minister and Bureti MP, Franklin Bett dismissed the "UhuRuto" alliance saying TNA had already swallowed URP and left the Kalenjin.
Referring to Uhuru and Ruto, the MPs told the huge rally that Kenya's future would be in jeopardy if Kenyans elected people facing trial for crimes against humanity.
They claimed that the "UhuRuto" alliance was a ploy to retain power in a section of the country at the expense of other regions.
Lands Minister James Orengo warned of an attempt to create a climate of fear and likened the current state of Kenya's politics to what prevailed in Germany before Adolf Hitler was elected saying ODM's opponents were motivated by fear and a desire to defeat justice. He claimed some leaders want to create a climate of fear among Kenyans to get them to vote in a certain way. "After the First World War, Germans voted out of fear and elected Adolf Hitler," he said.
"In Kenya if you vote out of fear it is because you fear justice," said Orengo adding that some leaders were urging supporters to "vote to protect your own" from misdeeds.
Fisheries Minister Amason Kingi said the TNA-URP leaders could not lead Kenya with the ICC cases hanging over them.Kingi said the two were forced to resign from some offices or scale back public activities due to the proceedings at the ICC and were therefore unfit to lead the country.
East African Community Minister Musa Sirma described the TNA-URP meeting in Nakuru as "an ill-fated wedding" that would end in Uhuru's betrayal of the Eldoret North MP.
He said Ruto should not ignore Kenya's Founding President Jomo Kenyatta's treatment of his first Vice President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga in 1963.
Criticising the TNA-URP alliance as a pact of two tribes, the Kalenjin and Kikuyu, Sirma said: "Kenya is larger than two tribes."
However, though the Uhuru and Ruto alliance was described as a Kikuyu-Kalenjin affair, on Sunday in Nakuru the two were accompanied by 60 MPs from all parts of the country and they described their alliance as a national movement and the face of Kenya. Sirma said Coast and Rift Valley provinces have suffered similar land problems created by the Founding Fathers.
Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey accused TNA-URP leaders of fostering a conspiracy against tribes outside Rift Valley and Central provinces while Bett accused Ruto of subordinating himself to Uhuru.
Regional Development Minister Fred Gumo said Rift Valley and Central provinces have produced Kenya's presidents since independence in 1963 and must now elect someone from outside the regions despite the fact that Kenya has no provision for a rotational presidency or even a law defining when one region or community should not give a President.
Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim argued Raila averted possible civil war by agreeing to share power with President Kibaki during the 2008 post-election violence, adding the new Constitution lies in jeopardy if the PM does not become president next year while accusing Mzee Kenyatta of mutilating the Independence Constitution.
Likoni MP Mwalimu Masoud Mwahima said the URP-TNA alliance could not end the land crisis in Coast Province because Kenyatta "came here and took all our land."
Assistant minister Magerer Lang'at said that despite the alliance between TNA and URP he was confident the Kalenjin community would vote for Raila on March 4 next year.
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