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Raila and Ruto close ranks

Wednesday October 29 2008

Agriculture Minister William Ruto. Photo/FILE

Agriculture Minister William Ruto. Photo/FILE 

Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Wednesday met Agriculture minister William Ruto to avert a fallout in ODM over the Waki report ahead of Thursday’s Parliamentary Group meeting.

The Nation learnt that the bickering party leaders had made a breakthrough and were likely to adopt a middle-of-the-road stance at today’s meeting to preserve party unity.

The two met amidst a flurry of similar meetings by MPs from different regions to find a common ground.
Twenty MPs from central Kenya called for the formation of a new tribunal to investigate the post-election violence, giving those mentioned a chance to defend themselves.

The MPs, among them ministers Kiraitu Murungi and Uhuru Kenyatta, said the report was flawed as it had not censured individuals who called for mass action, leading to the violence.

The MPs also dismissed the Waki report’s decision to recommend that the suspects face the International Criminal Court if a local tribunal was not set up, saying Kenya had capable institutions.

In other meetings, nine MPs from Western discussed what they described as unity while Nyanza MPs were scheduled to meet last evening. It was not clear whether they had invited Mr Odinga.


When the Nation contacted the Western MPs for comment, they insisted they had only discussed unity.

However, sources said the MPs wanted to develop a common stand ahead of today’s meeting as well as speak with one voice on other issues.

Mr Odinga and Mr Ruto have taken opposite sides on the implementation of the Waki report.

Defied decision

Mr Odinga has said that it should be implemented in full while Mr Ruto has dismissed it as a “shoddy job full of rumours and hearsay”.

Mr Odinga confirmed to party members through Parliamentary Group secretary Ababu Namwamba that he would attend Thursday’s meeting.

He is said to have summoned Mr Namwamba to a meeting on Tuesday immediately after 26 MPs defied a decision to postpone their meeting to an unknown date and dismissed positions taken by their leaders over the Waki report issue.

The Prime Minister is understood to have told Mr Namwamba to approach the matter with an open mind when the PG meets on Thursday.

The meeting between Mr Odinga and Mr Ruto is likely to help soften the tough talk, especially by Rift Valley MPs who are unhappy with Mr Odinga’s support of the implementation of the report, saying it was tantamount to sacrificing them.

Examine report

Thursday’s meeting is also expected to discuss a report from lawyers appointed to examine the Waki report and point the way forward.

Elsewhere, Regional Development minister Fred Gumo warned his ODM colleagues against politicising the Waki report.

“Names of people from PNU and ODM are there. Even mine could be there. So I don’t see the need for Rift Valley MPs to feel that they are targeted,” Mr Gumo said.

Additional reporting by Muchemi Wachira