ODM now says it’s Ruto who approached Raila 4 times before handshake

ODM now says it's Ruto who approached Raila 4 times before handshake
File image of Deputy President William Ruto in his office on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. PHOTO| CITIZEN DIGITAL

Deputy President William Ruto’s remarks that ODM Party leader Raila Odinga approached him four times before the March 9th handshake have triggered angry reactions from the opposition side, which now claims its the DP who frantically sought the former premier’s attention and not the vice versa.

In a strongly-worded statement issued on Wednesday, the ODM Party, through Secretary General Edwin Sifuna, termed Ruto’s sentiments that he was approached by Mr. Odinga as “lies” that would be “laughable if the accusation didn’t raise grave concerns.”

“On a TV show last night, Ruto made a myriad of accusations against The ODM Party, and our Party Leader which cannot be left unchallenged. Among these lies was that the Rt. Hon Raila Odinga approached him four times prior to the famous handshake for purposes he did not disclose. This would be laughable if the accusation didn’t raise such grave concerns,” said Sifuna.

In an exclusive interview on Citizen TV’s News Night show, Ruto on Tuesday alleged that Mr. Odinga approached him four times after the 2017 elections, before the opposition chief went ahead to engage President Kenyatta in what would culminate in a much-publicised handshake at the steps of Harambee House.

The DP, however, said he totally declined to hold talks with the former premier on all the alleged occasions, adding that he duly informed President Kenyatta on the said happenings. On why he supposedly declined to engage Mr. Odinga, Ruto says “I did not believe that he was doing this in good faith.”

According to the ODM Secretary General, there would be no logic at all in Mr. Odinga making approaches to the Deputy President yet he (Raila) had ran in the 2017 elections against President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Sifuna claimed that after the 2017 elections, Ruto allegedly reached out to Mr. Odinga on at least four occasions — through one of his political henchmen and several occasions through “a female former powerful Cabinet Minister from the Rift Valley.”

On these occasions, Sifuna claims that Ruto was allegedly claiming to be the one in charge of the country and wanted Mr. Odinga to work with him.

“Ruto’s message via Oscar Sudi was that he was the one in charge of the country and he wanted Mr. Odinga to work with him. Rt Hon Odinga asked his staff member to stop further contact with Oscar Sudi on learning what Ruto was up to.

“But Ruto would not relent. He soon sent a female former powerful Cabinet Minister from the Rift Valley to Rt Hon Odinga’s home, with the same proposal to help tame “Uhuru and his people”. The said former Cabinet minister was to attempt this mission on at least four occasions. All these attempts were rejected,” added the ODM Sec-Gen.

Sifuna claimed the sentiments made by the DP on Tuesday were an attempt to sabotage the handshake.

“He attempted to sell the narrative of “finishing our common enemy” to Hon Raila Odinga, who declined the offer. Now he wants to blackmail both Rt Hon Odinga and the President at the same time!” read the statement.

“This is why he is the greatest enemy of the Handshake and desperately wants to see it fail. We once again advise him to raise his objections with his boss and stop his obsession with our Party Leader.”

At the same time, Raila Odinga Jnr, the ODM leader’s son, has also claimed that in January 2018, before the handshake, Ruto tried to entice him and his sister Winnie Odinga — through an Ambassador — with high level government positions.

According to Raila Jnr, the rejected the offer, which they deemed as “a kind of divide and rule tactic.”

Meanwhile, the deputy president’s spokesperson David Mugonyi has rubbished the statement issued by Sifuna terming it as an “incoherent rant that out of compassion, must be forgiven and ignored.”

“We do not consider the post by Edwin Sifuna to be ODM official communication… The incoherent, rabid juvenile rant by Sifuna is so ridiculously uneducated, spectacularly unhinged, desperately delusional that out of compassion, it must be forgiven and ignored. We don’t believe that ODM — even in its current dire straits — has fallen this low,” said Mugonyi.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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