From left: Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama, MPs Nicholas Gumbo (Rarieda), David Ochieng? (Ugenya) and Gideon Ochanda (Bondo) dance during the pre-wedding ceremony of Siaya Senator James Orengo?s daughter in Ugenya, Siaya County, on Saturday. PHOTO: COLLINS ODUOR/STANDARD

From left: Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama, MPs Nicholas Gumbo (Rarieda), David Ochieng? (Ugenya) and Gideon Ochanda (Bondo) dance during the pre-wedding ceremony of Siaya Senator James Orengo?s daughter in Ugenya, Siaya County, on Saturday. PHOTO: COLLINS ODUOR/STANDARD

Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama claims the two leaders airlifted Raila from the Maasai Mara on April 13 to State House for talks in an attempt to strike a deal that would have seen the ODM party leader accept political retirement and leave Kalonzo in the cold.

Although efforts to get a comment from the President?s spokesman Manoah Esipisu were unsuccessful, the claims were quickly rubbished by Kajiado West MP Moses Ole Sakuda.

Raila and Kalonzo are out of the country and could not be reached for comment, but Raila?s brother and nominated MP Oburu Odinga expressed ignorance of the alleged meeting.

A Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) senator has sensationally claimed that President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto tried to talk Opposition leader Raila Odinga into parting ways with his co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka in 2013.

Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama alleged the meeting between President Kenyatta, Ruto and Raila took place at State House, Nairobi, on April 13, two days after the President and his deputy were sworn into office.

Muthama claimed that on that Saturday, Raila was at the Maasai Mara National Park, where he was relaxing after the gruelling presidential campaigns and the subsequent tense weeks during which the Supreme Court rejected his petition challenging President Kenyatta?s election.

?On April 13, 2013, Uhuru and Ruto dispatched a chopper to airlift Raila from the park to State House in Nairobi, where they offered him goodies in order to have him relinquish his political ambitions,? Muthama said.

Pre-wedding ceremony

The senator first spoke about the purported meeting during the pre-wedding ceremony of Siaya Senator James Orengo?s daughter Lavender at the senator?s home in Ugenya, Siaya County on Saturday and later while addressing worshippers at Misyani Africa Inland Church in Kangundo, Machakos County on Sunday. He also gave out details of the alleged meeting in a follow-up interview with The Standard.

He alleged that Uhuru and Ruto wanted to work out a deal with Raila, but claimed the former Prime Minister declined because Kalonzo was not present.

At the meeting, Muthama claimed the two Jubilee leaders asked Raila to quit politics and stop talking about the presidential election results in exchange for the benefits he enjoyed when he was Prime Minister in the grand coalition government.

?When Raila reached State House, he met Uhuru and Ruto. Kalonzo was not present at the meeting. Raila then asked for Kalonzo.? To which, he claims, Uhuru replied: ?You mean Steve? Raila answered yes. Then Ruto said: Do not bother about Kalonzo. That is a man we don?t take seriously in this country?s politics.?

But the senator said Raila did not accept the offer after learning that Kalonzo was sidelined.

Hefty allowances

?Raila left the meeting immediately. Then he called Kalonzo, Moses Wetang?ula (Bungoma Senator), Orengo and myself and briefed us about the State House meeting. Since then, Jubilee has been trying all ways to reach out to the CORD leaders to divide them and weaken the Opposition,? claimed the senator.

The senator alleged that the President and his deputy offered the former PM bodyguards, hefty allowances, vehicles and other goodies to get him to retire from active politics.

According to Muthama, Uhuru and Ruto were keen to ?switch off? the tap that fuels Kenya?s political fire, which would only happen if Raila opted to exit the political stage.

Muthama claimed that Raila was angered by Ruto?s remarks on Kalonzo and immediately abandoned the negotiations. ?It?s the consequence of the said event that makes the two co-principals ?politically indivisible.? Raila cannot be compromised for cheap or even expensive gains. His resilience has kept alive the struggle for a better Kenya,? said Muthama.

Wetang?ula could not be reached for comment. ODM?s director of political affairs Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, who is Raila?s close ally, said he was not aware of the meeting.

State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu neither answered our calls nor replied to short text messages inquiring about the reports.

But Kajiado West MP Moses Ole Sakuda dismissed Muthama?s allegations, calling him a rabble rouser who should be shunned by Kenyans.

Raila and Kalonzo could also not be reached as they are said to be out of the country. Raila?s brother Oburu Oginga (nominated MP) said he was unaware about the said meeting. ?I have just returned from South Korea and I am informed that Raila is out of the country. I can?t confirm the State House meeting. I will call him to find out if such a meeting took place,? he said.

By Protus Onyango and Dennis Onyango, The Standard

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