Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga yesterday recounted how former Cabinet minister Simeon Nyachae accused him of betrayal for endorsing Mr Mwai Kibaki’s presidential candidacy.
Mr Odinga recalled the events leading to the 2002 General Election, when he reportedly breached a secret pact with Mr Nyachae, who was also eyeing the country’s top seat.
He was addressing mourners at Nairobi Central Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church during a requiem for Nyachae who died on February 1.
“We started the Rainbow coalition after leaving Kanu. Nyachae came with Ford People party. We later joined National Alliance of Kenya (NAK) to form the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc),” Mr Odinga said on Thursday.
“However, when we teamed up with NAK, a problem arose and I declared ‘Kibaki Tosha’,” he added, recalling his declaration at Uhuru Park that settled the question of the joint opposition presidential candidate to face Kanu’s Uhuru Kenyatta.
He said Mr Nyachae accused him of betrayal “even though we got on well later”.
“He kept reminding me how I betrayed him but we remained friends all through,” he said.
Just before the elections, Mr Nyachae had quit the ruling party Kanu, followed by Mr Odinga who led a massive walkout of influential politicians after President Daniel arap Moi settled on Mr Kenyatta as his successor.
After ditching Kanu, Mr Odinga, former Vice-President George Saitoti, Cabinet ministers Kalonzo Musyoka, William ole Ntimama, Deputy Speaker Joab Omino, Assistant ministers Moody Awori and David Musila and other leaders trooped to little known Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
Mr Nyachae signed an agreement with LDP and a rally was planned at Uhuru Park to make the announcement, only for Mr Odinga to endorse Mr Kibaki.
Mr Nyachae wanted the opposition candidate to be chosen by delegates through secret ballot.
He walked out of the coalition and contested against Mr Kibaki.
Mr Musyoka, Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiang’i (Interior), Mutahi Kagwe (Health), Council of Governors chairman Martin Wambora and other dignitaries and family members eulogised Mr Nyachae as a leader who encouraged all to succeed.
In a speech read by Mr Kagwe, President Kenyatta described Mr Nyachae as a son of Kenya who has left immeasurable contributions.
“We’re deprived of his leadership, determination and passion,” Mr Kenyatta said.
Mr Odinga said Nyachae was compassionate as he helped many get education in Kenya and abroad.
Mr Mudavadi said Nyachae was a man who loved his culture.
“He stood with his family and friends. Nyachae was compassionate. He saw the dark side of politics too,” Mr Mudavadi said.
“Interestingly, he has left us in February just like his friends Daniel arap Moi and my father Moses.”
Mr Musyoka said had a strong personality and was a go-getter.
Dr Matiang’i said Nyachae ensured many people received formal education.