No, thanks: Raila, Gachagua tell clergy over calls for handshake
By Wanja Waweru
Raila Odinga, the leader of Azimio la Umoja One Kenya, and vice president Rigathi Gachagua have maintained their staunch opposition to any negotiations between the government and the opposition.
Claims made by a number of Kenya Kwanza leaders that the opposition was staging protests in an effort to join the government through a “handshake” have been referred to by Mr. Odinga as a “insult to the intelligence of Kenyans.”
Speaking to journalists on Thursday at his Capitol Hill office in Nairobi, Mr. Odinga resisted pleas from the church for him to engage in talks with President William Ruto, insisting that all he wants is the truth regarding the election of last year and a resolution to his demands.
“Kenya Kwanza has continued to claim that all we are looking for is a handshake. We emphatically refute these unfounded rumours that we are protesting to improve the lives of Kenyans because we want a handshake. This is an insult to the intelligence of Kenyans.”
“We cannot and we will not participate in handshake with an illegitimate regime,” said Mr Odinga, adding: “our answer to the Clergy is in the Gospel of John 8:32.”
Mr Gachagua, also responding to calls by the clergy for dialogue between Mr Odinga and Dr Ruto, said the government is not willing to hold negotiation talks with Mr Odinga over calls for power sharing.
He said the religious leaders should instead convene a meeting with Mr Odinga and urge him to stop the mass protests.
“We want to tell members of the clergy that we have heard you and we respect you. But why are you telling us to hold dialogue with someone who has been blackmailing us? We are telling the clergy not to request us to sanction blackmail and impunity,” said Mr Gachagua.