22 May 2019

Kenya: Orengo, Joho Defend Odinga Over Gold Scandal

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and Siaya Senator James Orengo Tuesday defended Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga against politicians linking him to a fake gold scandal in which a Saudi national is reported to have lost Sh400 million to a syndicate in Kenya.

The leaders criticised Deputy President William Ruto for challenging Mr Odinga to come clean on the scandal, saying Dr Ruto has no moral authority to speak about corruption.

"What moral authority does he (Dr Ruto) have to speak about corruption? If there is someone who should not speak on this issue it's him," said Mr Joho, adding that those linking Mr Odinga to the gold scandal are only out to gain fame.

Mr Orengo called on the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to hasten investigations and reveal those involved in the scandal.

"The criminals are known, and I am sure by the end of the week they will be known. If there is a con man, then it is known who that is and (Dr) Ruto should not talk about corruption," said Mr Orengo.

ELECTIONS

Meanwhile, the opposition leaders said their party had been silent in the recent past for a purpose. They threw their weight behind Mr Joho in his presidential quest.

"There are those who are running here and there, but they do not even know who their party leaders are. As ODM, our house is in order. They think they are organised but we are way ahead of them," said Mr Orengo.

He said Mr Joho has the support of Kenyans ahead of his 2022 plans. Mr Joho has announced he will run for the presidency and hopes to benefit from ODM's near fanatical support in parts of the country.

The vocal county boss has indicated he is ready to team up with Kanu chairman Gideon Moi and others to block the DP from ascending to the top seat.

POLITICAL RIFTS

On Monday, Suna East MP Junet Mohamed called on the Muslim community to rally behind Mr Joho as he plans to fly the national flag.

"We are not roaming around here. We are organising ourselves silently as we push Mr Joho up there," said Mr Mohamed.

Speaking during his annual Iftar at Serani grounds in Mombasa, Mr Joho said his priority is to unite Kenyans, especially the coastal people.

Other leaders at the function included ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna, MPs Abdulswamad Nassir (Mvita), Omar Mwinyi (Changamwe), Ali Mbogo (Kisauni), Mishi Mboko (Likoni), Mombasa Woman Rep Aisha Hussein and her Lamu counterpart Ruweida Obo.

The gold scandal has reignited the fight between MPs allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Odinga and those coalescing around DP Ruto over the war on corruption and the building bridges initiative.

CORRUPTION

While President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga's allies have accused the DP's brigade of undermining the war against graft, the DP's supporters have hit back at them for "preaching water and drinking wine".

Last Saturday, Dr Ruto challenged opposition leaders to shed light on claims that they tried to intercede in the gold scam by reaching out to President Kenyatta.

He was referring to a leaked audio clip of a man who sounds like Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula telling the alleged con victim from Dubai that he would contact the President and Mr Odinga.

"I tell our brothers in the opposition not to import their bad habits to Jubilee; they should stop engaging in dirty deals, corruption and conning others," said Dr Ruto.

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