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Leave me out of Garissa attacks, says Raila

08 April 2015, 14:16 William Korir

Nairobi - CORD leader Raila Odinga says that he was not involved in the Garissa terrorist attacks that saw over 148 people killed.

Raila was named together with president Uhuru Kenyatta as the persons to blame for the attack as they are together the patrons of the country, being very popular national leaders in an article on a local daily.

He however says that he is not the head of state and that he does not have the power to directly deal with terror and security in the country.

Here is the CORD leader's statement.

In its now familiar tradition of finding it extremely difficult to single out President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Jubilee regime for blame over the troubles the country is going through.

A local daily today, in an extremely lopsided analysis of the Garissa attack and the response to it, decided to blame Opposition leader Raila Odinga alongside the President. In doing that, the paper has assigned Raila and Uhuru equal responsibility for the security and general welfare of the country. This declaration that the leader of the Opposition somehow shares equal responsibility for the safety of citizens with a president who took the oath to defend and protect Kenya’s territorial integrity and ensure safety of its citizens is unprecedented.

It is pure malice and a life in denial by an editorial team too embarrassed to admit that a leadership it is deep in bed with has lost it. We refuse to allow the local daily to use Opposition leader Raila Odinga to whitewash a President and a regime it sympathises with but which has failed. The task of protecting Kenyans and ensuring their welfare must remain with the person who swore to do it.

That notwithstanding, the facts speak for themselves regarding Raila in the aftermath of Garissa attacks. Raila Odinga condemned Garissa attacks on the day they happened, long before State House uttered a word: In his condemnation, he called on Kenyans to work together, on the international community to support Kenya and for the government to accept the intelligence contribution by our international partners.

In the morning after the attack, the former Prime Minister was the first high ranking leader to visit the victims at the Kenyatta National Hospital to console them. There, again, he called on Kenyans to unite against terrorists. He threw his weight behind the government’s efforts to deal with terrorists. He spoke of the pain of educating children all the way to university only to lose them to terrorists.

A day later, Raila spoke in Kwale, where he renewed calls on the need for the President to bring the country together to discuss the challenges, arguing that Kenya is going through extra ordinary times that would require extra ordinary measures.

In a country so deeply divided, where the ringing response of the President and his deputy has been that they won the election and defeated Raila, the steps taken by the former Prime Minister are symbols of maturity, sound judgment, patriotism and an outstanding capacity to pursue compromise.

The Daily Nation owes Raila Odinga an immediate apology.

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