Tough talking Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has dismissed calls for dialogue and handshake with opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Mr Gachagua was responding to religious and other leaders who are demanding dialogue between President William Ruto Mr Odinga – who last week led violent protests mainly in Nairobi and Kisumu.
Instead, the deputy President asked those calling for dialogue to prevail upon the Azimio leader to call off the planned bi-weekly demonstrations that have so far resulted in loss of lives and destruction of property.
Speaking in Muranga County, during the burial of Mama Diana Wanjiku Njuya, the mother on Maragua Constituency MP Mary wa Maua, Mr Gachagua also called on retired President Uhuru Kenyatta to advise Mr Odinga to stop disrupting businesses.
“To the church, in dialogue, you are telling us to meet him (Odinga) instead of praying for him so that he stops the destruction of property. Mr Odinga is blackmailing us into talks, but we cannot fall into that trap. Tell Mr Odinga to stop destruction of property and looting of goods and destroying the economy,” he said.
The Deputy President said Mr Odinga’s call for protests are based on dishonesty, selfishness and that it is a scheme by the 2022 presidential loser to destroy businesses in Nairobi, ruin the economy, paralyse the normal operations and cajole President Ruto into sharing Government with him and the opposition.
The DP also called on retired President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is the chairman of Mr Odinga’s Azimio One Kenya Coalition, to advise Mr Odinga to stop disrupting the socio-economic activities in the country.
“We will not be blackmailed or intimidated. He is used to blackmails but this time no discussion. If it happens it will be the amount of money they looted and shipped to Cayman Islands and the Sh26 billion stolen in 26 minutes at the end of the term (Mr Kenyatta’s term). Sharing of government positions will not happen and if refusing blackmailing is being a hardliner, let it be,” stated Mr Gachagua.
He also said that the government will not allow the country to degenerate into lawlessness.
He insisted that dialogue to share government positions with the opposition, will be unconstitutional since Mr Odinga lost the election fairly at the ballot.
And since Mr Odinga had claimed that the protests are aimed at pushing the government to address the high living costs, the Deputy President said it was hypocritical for Mr Odinga to claim cost of living is soaring when it has substantially been lowered.
“There is no honest demonstration but looting and economic terrorism targeting businessmen and traders. The demonstrations are nothing but destruction of property and theft. Nothing else and he will not be allowed to destroy. Government will not give him space to ruin property. He started in 1982 during a coup and violence in subsequent electoral cycles. There will be no ‘handshake’ this time,” said Mr Gachagua.
He was accompanied by over 30 elected leaders led by Murang’a governor Irungu Kangata, Deputy Governor Mburu Munania and National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wa.
Other leaders present were senators Joe Nyutu (Murang’a) and Veronica Maina (nominated) together with Mps Chege Njuguna (Kandara), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu), Eric Mwangi (Mathira), Kamau Munyoro (Kigumo), Peter Irungu Kihungi (Kangema), Edward Muriu (Gatanga) and Sabina Chege (nominated Jubilee Party).
Also present were Betty Maina (Murang’a Women Rep), Ann Muratha (Kiambu Women Rep), Joe Nyutu (Murang’a Senator), Maina Karobia (EALA), Wachira Karani (Laikipia West) Njoki Njeru, Githua Wamacukuru (Kabete), Lydia Haika (Taita taveta woman Rep) and Benjamin Mwangi (Embakasi Central).
MPs Njuguna Kawanjiku (Kiambaa), John Kaguchia (Mukurweini), George Koimburi (Juja), Faith Gitau (Nyandarua Woman Rep), Jane Kihara (Naivasha), Simon King’ara (Ruiru), Wambugu Wainaina (Othaya) and Njoki Njeru (Embu) were also present.
Mps Njuguna Kawanjiku (Kiambaa), John Kaguchia (Mukurweini), George Koimburi (Juja), Faith Gitau (Nyandarua Woman Rep), Jane Kihara (Naivasha), Simon King’ara (Ruiru), Wambugu Wainaina (Othaya) and Njoki Njeru (Embu) were also present.
The MPs told off Mr Odinga over his calls for protests against the government over cost of living, reconstitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, among other demands. They also stated that the cost of living cannot be lowered through blackmail and violent protests.
“Because we respect our church leaders’ call for all leaders to dialogue, I confirm those of us elected as leaders are ready for dialogue on matters pertaining to the people and their affairs such as restoring the economy. But not blackmailing the country through violence to shield your selfish ends. No dialogue with cartels that looted our economy. Over Sh30 billion was stolen in the last three weeks of the former administration,” said Mr Ichung’wa.
He said a dialogue on sharing government positions will entrench impunity, un-constitutionalism and divert public attention from the funds looted from the country’s economy.
“The government is working hard to lower the cost of living and initiated plans to increase food security such as supply of inexpensive fertiliser. The protests called by the opposition leaders are to terrorize the country’s economy. Demonstrations will not help anything. The opposition leader is used to violent protests as an avenue of joining government,” said Mr Nyoro, for his part.
The MPs said the intention of the protests is to have Mr Odinga join the government through the backdoor.
“You (Mr Odinga) were used as a currency to intimidate Kenyans and purport that the Constitution is below you. There will be no half government or dialogue on how to share anything. The only thing we can share is delivery of services to Kenyans,” stated Mr Nyoro.
“We will oppose any attempt of a ‘handshake’ between the President and opposition chief. The last ‘handshake’ benefited an individual and the majority continued to suffer,” said Murang’a Woman Rep Ms Maina.
They also called for enhanced fight against illicit brews and substance abuse amongst the youth.
For this, the Deputy President directed the national government administration officers to work with the elected leaders to eliminate the illicit liquor.