Raila leads opposition figures in hailing Uhuru’s address

Opposition politicians were unanimous in their support for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s State of the Nation address.

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga led his colleagues, Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula in hailing the President’s address.

They particularly singled out the assertions on national unity and corruption fight as worthy of support.

In a break from the past when the leaders castigated the President’s address, it was a different tune yesterday.

Corruption dragon

“The President did very well by highlighting key issues that affect the lives of Kenya. He said everything will be done within the rule of law,” said Mr Odinga.

The ODM leader, however, called for speedy conclusion of investigations and prosecutions of those under probe.

He said the Government must ride on the current goodwill being showed by both sides of the political divide to slay the corruption dragon.“The President needs to ensure that the Judiciary is clean. Judges linked to corruption must be investigated just like anyone else,” said Odinga.

Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka praised the President’s speech but said that more needs to be done in fighting graft.“It was a great speech. Determined and focused. We in the Opposition support the President,” Mr Kalonzo said.

Mr Wetang’ula backed the President’s word on the Judiciary and investigative agencies, insisting that they must do their work within the law. “The Judiciary has been confronted for mishandling cases it must raise to the occasion. The war on corruption must be fought hard,” Wetangula said.

Mr Mudavadi said those named in graft should be made to leave office even before they are taken to court.“I want to disagree with the President on the issue of those accused of corruption not being sacked until they are charged. If you have been summoned by DCI, you need to go home. If you have been investigated, don’t wait to be taken to court because you are bringing embarrassment to the President and the country,” Mudavadi said.

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua cautioned that unless someone is arrested and charged within the next two days, all that the President said will lose it’s value.

National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi supported the President’s decision to allow due process before sacking Cabinet secretaries.“The President is being careful because last time he asked people to resign but it turned out that there was nothing to incriminate them,” said Mr Mbadi.

Uriri MP Mark Nyamita however termed the President’s speech as too much talk with no action.

Need action

“The President keeps on saying what we need to do. We need to see action, “said Mr Nyamita.

Central Organisation of Trade Union Secretary General Francis Atwoli said the President “committed himself to the rule of law.”

MPs James Nyikal (Seme), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu), Kivinga Kaberia (Mwea), Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini), John Kiarie (Dagorreti South) and Senator Ochilo Ayacko (Migori) said the speech covered crucial areas like corruption, Big Four agenda, Building Bridges Initiative, inclusivity and political discord.

Dr Nyikal said the President started off well but he expected tougher actions on corruption.

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