ODM party leader Raila Odinga has strongly defended the progress made by President Uhuru Kenyatta in the lakeside region amid concerns the region is benefiting because of the handshake between the duo.
In a press statement seen by Kivumbi.co.ke, Raila brushed off the assumpt the Madaraka Day event held in Kisumu as a favor for Nyanza region saying such talks are retrogressive, divisive and dishonest.
“Odinga finds such talk retrogressive, divisive, dishonest and against the spirit of building one prosperous nation out of its diverse nationalities and regions,” Raila’s spokesperson, Denis Onyango said.
During President Uhuru’s three-day state visit in Nyanza that ended on Madaraka Day on June 1, the Head of State launched 8 ‘handshake’ projects including the Ksh 3.8 billion Nakuru-Kisumu Metre Gauge Railway.
After Raila had been sworn himself in as People president in January 2018, Uhuru quickly crafted a handshake deal that saw him end his political differences with Raila through the famous March 2018 handshake.
Analysts say this could be the main source of Uhuru Kenyatta’s focus on Nyanza projects to compensate Raila Odinga whose dream of becoming president and achieving development in Nyanza was extinguished by Uhuru Kenyatta win in 2017.
“None of the projects launched during the Madaraka day celebration are owned by or meant to serve Kisumu county alone. They are meant to, and will serve the entire nation,” he said.
This comes after a section of leaders from the rift valley allied to Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto said that Uhuru has successfully implemented projects in Kisumu and the larger Nyanza region, which are strongholds of ODM and forgot to launch projects in other parts of the country.
They claimed the President’s move not to focus on other regions may be fueled by the deteriorating relationship between President Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto, a notion that Raila has strongly condemned.
“Odinga appeals to leaders to enable and allow Kenyans to imagine an ideal future and hold big dreams for their country instead of standing in their way,” Onyango said.