Jubilee Secretary General, Jeremiah Kioni, has claimed that the row between President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga widened after King Charles III’s visit to Kenya ended.
According to Kioni, the opposition ascertained that the government laid out a well-oiled plan to tame the opposition in an effort to show that the country was united.
However, the government benefited from what Kioni termed a public relations gimmick as the opposition’s demands, including lowering the cost of living, were unmet.
This explains the camaraderie witnessed between Raila and Ruto at State House during the State Banquet hosted in favour of King Charles on Tuesday, October 31.
Former Prime Minister Raila received by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua at Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) on Tuesday, September 5, 2023.
The same was witnessed at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) during the Africa Climate Summit, where Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua received Raila as one of the key guests.
Over 17 heads of state attended the inaugural African summit, which developed strategies to mitigate climate effects ahead of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) at Expo City Dubai.
“They (government) were very clear in their mind what they wanted. There was a team of 15 African leaders who were coming into the country before, and they needed us to have a calm country to give the perception that all was well in Kenya.
“We had the Climate Change African summit and then the King. These were issues where they needed to give the impression that all is well and we are legitimately elected as leaders of the country,” Kioni told NTV on Friday.
He further alleged that President Ruto agreed to the bipartisan talks conducted by the National Dialogue Committee to manage the opposition ahead of the tours by notable world leaders.
Kioni insisted that the talks led by former Vice President and Wiper Party Leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Kenya Kwanza’s Kimani Ichung’wah (Kikuyu MP and National Assembly majority leader) were a waste of time.
The sole purpose of the dialogue, he alleged, was to derail the opposition from holding the government accountable. According to Kioni, during the three months where the talks were underway, the government embezzled funds, as seen through the controversial government-to-government Saudi oil deal and the Ksh6 billion edible oil scandals under the Ministries of Energy and Trade, respectively.
“Kenya Kwanza was all along managing Azimio and that the committee sessions were a waste of time
“We got into the discussions, and they are dilly-dallying. They didn’t have an interest in dealing with the interim measures. It was a question of what meetings we would have, the programs, and the work plan. They were asking about issues that were meant to delay the process,” Kioni, a close ally of Raila and former President Uhuru Kenyatta, claimed.
From left to right: Jubilee SG Jeremiah (left), former Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi, NARC-Kenya party leader Martha Karua and Party of National Unity leader Peter Munya meet for a forum on August 3, 2023.
Gachagua Concurs That Talks Are Useless
In August 2023, Gachagua claimed that Raila was using the back door to negotiate a deal with Ruto while pushing Kalonzo to conduct bipartisan talks, which would not bear fruits. The yet-to-be-disclosed deal, according to Gachagua, was brokered in Mombasa.
“Raila looked for Ruto the other day, and he came without Kalonzo. He only spoke for himself, his kids and his people. He has now sent Kalonzo to the talks where the agenda does not address the issue of Ukambani. Nothing will come out of those talks.
“It is a waste of time. I’m telling you that as the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya,” Gachagua stated at the funeral of the mother of Mwala MP Vincent Musyoka (Kawaya).
Raila Back to the Drawing Board
Kioni insisted that the opposition wants the Kenya Kwanza administration to address the cost of living, which it has been assuming for months.
“If you were to sleep hungry today, prepare to sleep hungry tomorrow too. There is nothing that these guys are ready to address,” he warned.
Raila and his brigade, including Narc-Kenya party leader Martha Karua and Musyoka, heightened their media appearances from early this month, condemning the government for failing to heed the cries of the common mwananchi.
The opposition, in different media interviews and press releases, hinted at reorganising protests should the bipartisan talks fail.
“Even if we are transported to heaven through killings during demonstrations, NARC Kenya and the people of Kenya are saying that should the talks fail us because they look like they are failing, we shall not forgo our rights, and we shall go back to the streets if necessary.
“We are saying no to intimidation and calling upon Kenyans to join and hold hands so that we restore sanity in our nation,” Karua stated while speaking at the NARC Kenya party headquarters on Thursday, October 16.
Raila, however, stated that the opposition would wait for the aftermath of the talks to consider whether they would organise fresh protests.
Nonetheless, according to Kioni, plans to hold protests were shelved as the opposition considered them costly and dangerous. It also fears the death tolls witnessed in the nationwide demonstrations.
ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga with chairman John Mbadi and Secretary General Edwin Sifuna at the party’s parliamentary group meeting on Friday, November 17, 2023
Raila-Ruto Dossier. Does This Attest the Alleged Fallout
Raila, on Thursday, November 16, claimed that Ruto used the government-to-government oil deal to aid local companies in evading to pay the 30 per cent corporate tax. He also accused the Kenyan companies Gulf Energy, Galana Oil Kenya Ltd, and Oryx Energies Kenya Limited of purchasing the fuel at a cheaper price and selling it expensively.
The three companies were selected to supply oil in Kenya and bought in Shillings to protect it from depreciating against the dollar.
This is Raila’s first dossier against Ruto since he lost the August 2022 General Election to the incumbent President.
However, Ruto clapped back, accusing the opposition of seeking to unearth a fictitious scandal in his administration. Ruto maintained that the deal was legit and that his government was anti-graft crusaders.
“I want to assure them [the Opposition] that the fishing they are doing for a scandal in this administration, they are not about to succeed,” the President stated, as quoted by State House, in a statement sent to Kenyans.co.ke.