That everything is not well in the marriage between ODM leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta is not in question. The ODM leader’s absence in Lamu, during the opening of LAPSSET Port is a glimpse of what may be a huge conflict, away from the public eye.
The escalating tension between the two Handsake camps is attributed to Tuesday’s events in Bonchari and Juja by-elections.
According to a number of sources, both online and who spoke in confidence with this writer say Raila boycotted the commissioning of the Lamu port/ LAPSSET, an initiative he mooted its idea and currently sits directly under his docket of the African Union Infrastructure Development (AUID).
On Wednesday, a disappointed Raila condemned the police violence on supporters of UDA and ODM Parties, as witnessed in the Bonchari and Juja by-lections.
In a hard-hitting statement targeting senior officials in the Interior docket, Mr. Odinga called out rogue state functionaries using their positions to abuse police powers. The former premier drew a line on the sand, telling the regime not to try encroaching the country’s civil liberties while hiding behind the Handshake.
“An election process is an opportunity for the voters to express their will at the ballot and not an avenue to pursue imaginary and short-legged political interests. Security forces exist to serve the people and not the interests of those out to conduct political experiments.
”The peaceful coexistence must not be taken for granted by some rogue elements wanting to confuse the handshake for an excuse to erode our hard-earned liberties,” Raila’s statement read in part.
As Prime Minister, ODM leader Raila Odinga convened a special meeting with President Mwai Kibaki to have Kenya build the LAPSSET, an East-West Trans-Continental Beltway – connecting Lamu Port to Douala/Kribi (Cameroon) seaports, via Juba and Bangui. It was Raila’s insistence the project was critical to connecting Kenya to the rest of Africa and the world that saw it given a top priority by the Grand Coalition government.
Last year December, in his capacity as the continent’s High Representative for Infrastructure Mr. Odinga convened a regional ministerial meeting on the Lapsset corridor, a Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI) under the African Union. It was at the meeting that he assured delegates present he would attend the official opening of the legacy project, together with the Head of State this year.