News 2008


Raila: I wonít be a betrayer

February 11, 2008


By James Ratemo and Brian Adero

ODM leader, Mr Raila Odinga, has reiterated that he will not betray his supporters in the talks seeking a solution to the political crisis.

"I will not betray you," Raila told his supporters on Sunday. Speaking after a church service at the All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi, Raila said he was committed to the mediation talks and denied claims that he had renewed calls for President Kibaki to resign.

He, however, spoke strongly on his quest to deliver the wishes of his supporters.

"We are not going to let our supporters down. Kenyans voted for change and we are going for nothing short of that," said Raila.

He added: "The mediation team agreed on a political settlement and we support it. Details of the settlement will be out soon."

But asked who the beneficiaries of a joint Government would be, Raila remained evasive: "We will give our proposals at the negotiation table. We are not going to negotiate through the media. At this point, I donít know who is going into the Government or who is going out."

He said the two sides were still discussing who would lead the Government and what roles each party would play.

His call for peace and reconciliation was also loud and clear: "We continue to pray for peace. It is, however, important that security forces continue to provide peace."

At the weekend, sources indicated that the two warring sides had agreed to a political solution to end weeks of bloodshed that have engulfed the country since the outcome of the disputed election.

Earlier, Pentagon member, Mr William Ruto, was quoted saying talks were in high gear on the composition of a joint government.

"We have finally agreed that there is a problem and neither side can proceed on its own," Ruto said. "We have agreed to form a joint government. Details of that government, its time and how to share it are under discussions."

But former UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, who is heading the talks, cautioned the media against speculation and promised to give a comprehensive and updated statement this week.

Claims that a deal had been reached came hours after President Kibaki said he was fully committed to the negotiations.

Speaking at a prayer meeting in Nairobi, Kibaki said he was "encouraged" by progress in talks and reiterated "my personal support and that of my entire Government to this process".

Meanwhile, Raila accused the security forces of using excess force in containing perpetrators of violence.

The ODM leader called for the arrest and prosecution of police officers who killed citizens in the post-election skirmishes.

"It is pointless to arrest one police officer supposedly for assassination just because he was caught on camera yet many officers have been killing wananchi," said Raila.