Raila criticises Uhuru’s use of force in county revenue bill standoff

ODM leader Raila Odinga/ COURTESY

ODM leader Raila Odinga has criticized the use of force by the Jubilee government to pass the revenue bill in the Senate.

Raila said it was unnecessary to make revenue sharing a contest of might between the security organs and legislators.

“The events surrounding the arrest of senators yesterday, just like the acrimonious stalemate that has seen the Senate disagree a record nine times on sharing of revenue among counties stand as stark reminders that our struggle for a democratic state is far from finished,” Raila said in a statement on Tuesday.

DCI detectives arrested Cleophas Malala (Kakamega), Christopher Lang’at (Bomet) and Steve Lelegwe (Samburu) over trumped up charges so as not to vote against the bill under the One Kenya banner.

Malala was released without charges, while Langat only recorded a statement, as did  Lelegwe.

“The twin sins of failing integrity among a section of elected representatives during this whole affair and the instinct by agents of the State to resort to strong arm measures to get things accomplished continue to hold our country back, reducing our citizens to mere watchers in dramas whose scripts are written far from public eyes,” Raila added.

He called for “huge amounts of tolerance and restraint” from the Executive in the push for a just, equal, democratic and prosperous Kenya.

The proposed bill is seen to benefit the populous counties of Central Kenya, Western and teh Rift Valley. It is being pushed by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ally Senator Irungu Kang’ata (Murang’a county).

Raila also faulted the senators, saying it was unnecessary to turn the debate on sharing of revenue among counties into a contest between losers and gainers, pastoralists and agriculturalists, regions and tribes.

“Having pushed ourselves into deep divisions only to emerge with no formula, it’s time to tone down the ethnic and regional rhetoric and diffuse the tensions that bubbled to the surface over this matter,” the former Prime Minister said.

He added that the state should pull back and abandon actions that take away the gains made on Kenya’s path to democratization.

“The war lords need to stop beating the drums of war or financing the divisive rhetoric and our legislators involved in this matter need to search their souls in all honesty and put public good above private gain,” he said.

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