- The leaders accused Mr Odinga of hiding behind the March 9 handshake to lay ground for his fifth stab at the Presidency in the next General Election.
- Mr Odinga said in Nyamira that he would not be a candidate for the presidency and called for an end to the 2022 debate.
- The DP's allies led by Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen accused Mr Odinga of trying to play with the minds of Kenyans
- Mr Kositany told Mr Odinga to declare categorically to his supporters that he will be on the ballot.
Deputy President William Ruto’s allies in Jubilee have accused ODM leader Raila Odinga of trying to use his peace deal with President Uhuru Kenyatta as a launching pad for his 2022 presidential ambitions.
The leaders accused Mr Odinga of hiding behind the March 9 handshake to lay ground for his fifth stab at the Presidency in the next General Election.
Speaking separately on the telephone, a day after Mr Odinga said he will not be a candidate in the coming polls, the leaders accused him of attempting to stop debate on Uhuru's succession claiming it is diverting Kenyans from more urgent development matters, while he was busy preparing for a run behind the scenes.
While attending a Church service at St Peter's Nyamira ACK with his family on Christmas day, Mr Odinga said he would not be a candidate for the presidency and called for an end to the 2022 debate.
"I have never said I will run for presidency in 2022, I will not say it and I am not a candidate in 2022 so give me a break," Mr Odinga told the congregation. But in the same breath, he seemed to suggest his statement was not definitive, saying: "We will deal with the matter when the right time comes. Allow me and President Uhuru to unite the country."
Accompanied by his elder brother and East Africa Assembly legislator Dr Oburu Oginga, sister Ruth and wife Ida, Siaya senator James Orengo and family members, Mr Odinga said his statement should now put to rest the 2022 debate, adding that it was irresponsible for some politicians to put the country in a permanent campaign mood.
The statement appeared to be directed at Mr Ruto, whose countrywide tours have been interpreted as early campaign tactics, though he has been categorical that he is only after supervising and launching Jubilee's development projects.
On Wednesday, the DP's allies led by Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen responded furiously to Mr Odinga’s remarks and accused him of trying to play with the minds of Kenyans while he has set his eyes on the 2022 Presidential race.
“The old saying goes that if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. So for Raila Odinga, his words are meant to hoodwink political novices,” Mr Murkomen said. He added: “For those who are in the know, he (Raila) is acting, walking and behaving like a candidate albeit with a cunning tag called handshake.”
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei and MPs Oscar Sudi (Kapseret) and Caleb Kositany (Soy) said Mr Odinga was only trying to fire up his “sinking” political career through the handshake.
“The jury is out. The Nasa leader is using the handshake to resurrect his weakening political career by creating a moribund and ineffective agenda such as the Building Bridges Initiatives and an unnecessary referendum aimed at making him stay afloat politically and relevant to his supporters that's why he can't hold on to a specific position,” Mr Cherargei said.
He pointed out that Mr Odinga was simply preparing himself to run for Presidency again in 2022 “that's why his foot soldiers are sending the same signals. He is not genuine about the handshake,” he added.
Mr Sudi accused Mr Odinga of trying to stop politicians allied to the Deputy President from speaking their minds yet ODM leaders were busy discussing 2022 elections.
“If Orengo speaks about 2022 and says Raila will be on the ballot, he is treated as an angel but when we go around the country with the DP to launch projects, we are demonised over claims we are campaigning for 2022 elections. This is dishonesty of the highest order,” he said, adding that it is an open secret that Mr Odinga will be on the ballot.
Mr Kositany told Mr Odinga to declare categorically to his supporters that he would be on the ballot.