Raila: Arrest me if you so wish
By JEREMIAH KIPLANG’AT
Cord leader Raila Odinga has dared the government to arrest him over his Eurobond concerns, saying he would not honour a summons by the anti-graft agency to present evidence on Monday.
In response to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s accusations of the opposition during Jamhuri Day celebrations on Saturday, Mr Odinga said he was not scared of being handcuffed and imprisoned for questioning how public money is used.
This came as the Central Organisation of Trade Unions warned against arresting Mr Odinga, saying such a move would cause tension and further polarise the country.
Last Friday, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) asked the opposition leader to appear before it today to prove his Eurobond claims against the government, warning that he risked being prosecuted if he failed to do so.
Responding on Sunday at Serena Hotel in Nairobi, Mr Odinga, delivering a statement titled “Spare us the rhetoric and anger. Give us answers. Show us the projects”, said he had no plans of honouring the summons, adding that the government was trying to harass him for blowing the whistle over the misuse of proceeds of the sovereign bond.
“The questions I have asked are in public domain. I have written letters and forwarded them to EACC. I am not the criminal. The criminal is out there running. The answer is with your officers. Do not try to harass Raila Odinga using EACC officials. I have been arrested more than 100 times,” he said.
Regarding himself the whistle-blower in the saga, the Cord leader, who was arrested a number of times during former President Moi’s regime and once locked up without trial for six years, said he did not fear being jailed one more time.
“I do not have the answers they are looking for. The whistle-blower is protected by the law. A whistle-blower is not a criminal. He should be protected instead of harassed. They are talking of Kamiti (Maximum Prison). They do not know there. I know it more than them,” he said.
The Eurobond saga has raged on, despite the government trying hard to explain how the Sh140 billion, which the opposition says is missing, has been used. The National Treasury carried full-page statements in the dailies on Saturday and Sunday that tried to explain where the money could be found.
Deputy President William Ruto has also accused the opposition of economic sabotage for questioning the Eurobond usage.
“The more they try to explain the more ridiculous they look in the eyes of the experts. It is an attempt to confuse the public with figures not substantiated. It is an attempt to hoodwink the public. In due course, we will demonstrate that it is them who are lying,” revealed Mr Odinga.
His co-principal, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, said they would not be intimidated by the government, but would continue playing their role as enumerated in the law.
“Let them (the government) eat their pride and accept the reality that Kenyans would not accept that Raila Odinga goes to the EACC to record a statement. That amounts to inviting three-quarters of this country to walk to EACC. We are set to do battle with Jubilee,” said Mr Musyoka.
Later in the day the Cord leaders addressed a rally at Kibera’s Kamkunji area, where Raila repeated the same message to the government. He said the governments’ attempt to wish the Eurobond matter away was akin to ignoring the effects of a big bomb in Nairobi’s city centre and expecting to be believed.