Kenya: Odinga and Waiguru Bury the Hatchet in Spirit of 'Handshake'

Photo: Capital FM
Opposition leader Raila Odinga with Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru.
15 November 2018

Opposition leader Raila Odinga and Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, who have not seen eye to eye for years over political differences, buried the hatchet Wednesday and announced the forging of a new friendship "in the interest of national development".

DEFAMATION

The two met for two hours at Mr Odinga's private offices at Capitol Hill in Nairobi, during which they discussed their war of words and legal battles over the loss of funds at the National Youth Service during Ms Waiguru's tenure at the Devolution ministry.

MUDSLINGING

Mr Odinga had accused Ms Waiguru of overseeing the plunder of the NYS in 2015, leading to a defamation suit against him by the governor. On Wednesday, the two acknowledged that the scandal had been a thorn in their collective flesh, and that they had agreed to stop the mudslinging and leave the matter to investigators.

BYGONES

"We've had a long dispute with the Governor over the NYS scandal," said Mr Odinga at a brief press conference shortly after the meeting. "A lot of facts have since emerged since I first made the revelations and we have agreed that we should let bygones be bygones. What exactly happened during the scandal will come out through the offices of our competent investigators, who must tell us where the public money went."

DEVOLUTION

Mr Odinga also noted that he had used the opportunity with Ms Waiguru to discuss the status of devolution, and noted that they had agreed that the matter should receive "proper attention" should the Constitution review process take off.

"I maintain that devolution is an idea whose time has come," said Mr Odinga. "It is work in progress and the conversation on how to make it better should go on. We should discuss how to restructure and strengthen it for the sake of our people."

RECONCILIATION

Ms Waiguru hinted that she will withdraw the defamation case against Mr Odinga in court. "The case is settled in the spirit of national cohesion, oneness and reconciliation," she said, while hailing the Orange Democratic Movement leader, now a supporter of the Jubilee administration, for his commitment to ensure that devolution works.

In her suit against Mr Odinga Raila, she argues that he portrayed her as a woman of low moral standing who is involved in unethical and professional misconduct, and that Mr Odinga has caused her to suffer immensely as his statements portrayed her as a common thief, an embezzler of public funds, corrupt in the extreme, and a flagrant lawbreaker who is not fit to hold public office.

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