Kenya: Opposition Not Dead, Handshake Setting Stage for Reforms - Orengo

President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (centre) and Nasa leader Raila Odinga in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
17 November 2018

The opposition is not dead, legislators in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) have said, in an attempt to quell fears.

Some Kenyans are of the opinion that the opposition does not exist since ODM leader Raila Odinga decided to work with President Uhuru Kenyatta, a union officially announced on March 9 and termed 'the handshake'. Their primary goals are national unity and development.


Senate Minority Leader James Orengo said "some people are expressing fears that the opposition is dead" but that "nothing could be further from the truth".

The Siaya senator explained that the close working relationship between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga, who might vie for the presidency come 2022, has created an environment suitable for reforms through a referendum.

Mr Orengo expressed optimism about the referendum, which he termed the best way to end impunity.

"Kenya must make the desired changes to realise reforms and end impunity," he said in Gem Sub-county on Saturday, during the funeral of Mr Joshua Marenya, who worked with Dr Otiende Amollo at Rachier & Amollo Advocates.

Regarding the succession debate, he said Mr Odinga deserves to lead Kenya because of the sacrifices he has made for it and for championing democracy and devolution.


Mr Orengo also said the president should intensify the war on corruption and ensure there are no sacred cows.

While appreciating the government's effort in the fight, the senator said much more needs to be done to guarantee fairness and justice.

Positions and social classes should not hamper efforts against the vice as it has continued to impoverish Kenyans, he said.

"President Kenyatta should take the war on corruption a notch higher and ensure no one is spared as he attempts to sanitise the country and take it back to the path of economic recovery," he said

Citing cases in Korea, Singapore and Malaysia, the majority leader pointed out that there are no 'high or low' individuals when it comes to dealing with people who have plundered public resources.

"Kenya should emulate countries such as the Philippines where three former presidents have been locked up for misusing public resources," he said.


Dr Amollo, who is Rarieda member of parliament (MP), said the handshake will not silence legislators and prevent them from defending the rights of the people who supported and voted for them.

"I know some people are expressing fear that we have abandoned them. I assure you that I am preparing to go to court in defence of the victims of last year's post-election violence," noted the MP.

Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo said their quest to campaign for Mr Odinga to succeed President Kenyatta in 2022 will not be watered down by his appointment as the African Union envoy for infrastructure.

"All the presidents of this country, from President [Daniel arap] Moi, were opposition leaders before ascending to power," he said. "It is now time for Mr Odinga to take over the mantle of leadership and take this country to the next level."

Additional reporting by Judy Achola

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