Nasa leader Raila Odinga has denied claims he joined government following the March 9 handshake that saw him reach a truce with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Raila said that the handshake was purely for purposes of bringing the country together by addressing pertinent issues facing Kenyans.
“I’m not in government, if I was in government I would have a specific title. I’m outside government as a member of the ODM and Nasa,” Raila said.
In an interview with Citizen TV, the ODM leader said the handshake was to deal with issues touching on devolution, inclusivity, poverty, divisive elections, unemployment, and historical injustices.
He said the issues are being addressed by the Building Bridges team as guided by the nine-point agenda he drafted together with the president.
Raila declined to reveal who between him and Uhuru approached the other to forge the March 9 handshake.
He also said that he did not demand that Deputy President William Ruto be excluded from the talks.
“We were not going to talk about 2022 politics. The time for politics will come,” Raila said in what was his first interview since the truce.
The opposition chief, however, said reforms in the country will take time to be realised.
He said, unlike a revolution that happens overnight, the handshake is a process that has to happen like an evolution.
“This is an evolutionary process, so things will be done at certain times. We can actually compare with what happened in South Africa when President Nelson Mandela said time had come for them to engage with the Boers.”
Raila said Kenya has enough laws and independent institutions which will ensure the issues ratified by Kenyans through the Building Bridges Initiative are implemented.
He downplayed claims that he compromised when he agreed to reach the peace deal saying the purpose was to help the government fight issues like corruption.
This, he said, had already started to bear fruits seeing that various senior government officials have been charged in court over corruption.
“We can deal with this issue called corruption, we can deal with disparity, we can deal with divisive elections…we are re-engineering the future. We want to ensure that all the institutions of this country work,” Raila said.
He said he did not leave out his colleagues out of the handshake as this was just a starting point for a long process of healing the country.
“I have not left anybody out. We had agreed that what we were going to engage in were talks upon talks. These talks had to begin somewhere,” Raila said.
The former premier said he briefed his colleagues in NASA about the deal saying nothing was secret.
On claims that he betrayed Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula by engineering his removal, Raila said the former Senate minority leader is entitled to his views.
He said Wetangula’s removal from the Senate leadership was a resolve of the Senate and not him.
Raila said he pleaded with senators from across the board to spare the Bungoma legislator “but all of them said that the marriage had been irredeemably broken”.
“Wetangula himself is aware that I wrote a letter nominating him to the position,” Raila said.
“So, me and Hon [Kalonzo] Musyoka could not do anything so we left it at that.”
About claims that he gave his colleagues a Nigerian number on January 30 on his swearing in as the people’s president, Raila said those are excuses.
“The fact is that those who wanted to come, came, those who didn’t want to come didn’t come. Everyone knew that the meeting was going to happen. It was all over the media,” Raila said.
He said he did not hold it against anyone who didn’t turn up.
“It was attendance by choice, those who did not feel did not attend,” he said.
Raila refused to comment on lawyer Miguna Miguna’s deportation on the basis of administering the oath to him.
He said everyone knows the steps he took to try and ensure Miguna stayed in the country.
“I do not want to talk about Miguna Miguna,” Raila said.
The opposition chief said the issue about the self-styled NRMKe General is being handled by the Building Bridges committee.
He said the death of former IEBC ICT director Chris Msando was going to be investigated conclusively in the spirit of the handshake.