A group of Orange party legislators has come guns blazing to put off Jubilee leaders critical of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his development record, saying they must respect the presidency.
The members of Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) said they will put up a joint force against Mr Kenyatta’s critics. Their mission going forward is “to protect the presidency at whatever cost”.
The move by the legislatures comes in the wake of a fueled debate on claims by Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and his Subukia counterpart Kimani Ngunjiri that President Uhuru Kenyatta has neglected the region.
We believe in strong political parties as institutions for posterity. As ODM, we made one resolve, to have a UNITED country. The Building Bridges Initiative is the avenue to which Peace, Stability & Unity of our Nation can be achieved. Our Party Leader stands for a United Nation.
— The ODM Party (@TheODMparty) January 8, 2019
Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia, who is the chairman of the Central Kenya Economic Bloc, termed the remarks by the MPs irresponsible and meant to incite the public against the President.
In a statement, Mr Kimemia said the sentiments bordered on insults to the presidency.
“Allegations that Uhuru has neglected the Central region are false. Each governor in the Central Economic Bloc can testify to numerous projects that have been implemented or are about to be implemented ahead of 2022,” he said.
The ODM lawmakers stated their position and asked members of the ruling coalition to let the president finish his second term in peace.
Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja) said those attacking the President should know “we will protect the presidency at all costs”.
“Those attacking the president are against the handshake. They want to drive a wedge between the president and our party leader. We shall not sit back and watch the peace and tranquillity brought about by the handshake threatened.”
Mr Wandayi, ODM’s political affairs director, added, “Political leaders must watch their tongues. Let them check their utterances both in public and in private.”
Anthony Oluoch (Mathare) said, “You said you want to complete the journey and we are helping you do it. The person completing the journey is Uhuru Kenyatta, the president of the republic of Kenya. He needs to be respected. That is going to be our bone of contention with you. We cannot allow you to disrespect the presidency.”
He added, “The president belongs to all Kenyans. He does not belong to Kiambu or Nyeri only. He is the president of us all and that must be respected.”
Migori Senator Ochillo Ayacko echoed this, saying Kenyans owe President Kenyatta allegiance and respect for the sake of civility.
“We invite the president and his government to visit this place as many times as he wishes because we pay taxes, follow the laws of Kenya and respect him.”
The group further said President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga should be allowed to unite the country following their truce.
On the presidential race in the 2022 general election, the legislators exuded confidence that the handshake was preparing Mr Odinga to take over.
One of the bones of contention in Jubilee is the uncertainty that now surrounds Deputy President William Ruto’s bid to succeed President Kenyatta.
Is Ruto going to sit on the presidents palace in 2022?