National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has come into the defence of ODM leader Raila Odinga following controversial orders at Likoni on Friday.

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In the company of Transport CS James Macharia, Raila ordered stopping of dredging activities to allow recovery of bodies of a mother and child whose vehicle plunged into the ocean.

The orders sparked controversy within the ruling Jubilee administration, with some MPs allied to DP William Ruto accusing him of issuing illegal orders.

Kipkelion West MP Hillary Kosgey said: “I am surprised. He can only ask Government to stop the dredging. I don’t know where he (Raila) got the authority. We are yet to know what the Handshake means. Initially we thought it was about uniting people, but it appears it’s all about power.”

Belgut MP Nelson Koech added: “Instructions are given when you hold a specific position. The directives should be dismissed since he has no authority. He thinks he has been bestowed powers by the handshake, which is extremely dangerous. This issue must be stopped lest it reaches a stage where he will issue orders the President will be uncomfortable with.”

But speaker Muturi said Mr Odinga had a right to issue orders given that he's an engineer by profession, adding that he many have issued them in form of opinion.

Further, he said, Odinga is a special African Union High Representative for Infrastructural Development, thus his opinion on recovery of bodies was valid.

“He can express his opinion as an African Union Envoy for Infrastructure. Since he holds no position in Government, I will take it that he was expressing his opinion, perhaps as an engineer also. 

"What I don’t know is whether the instruction was based on some advice from experts or it was a spur of the moment,” Muturi said.

Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir also weighed in on the matter.

“Individuals who are criticising him should instead pursue those who they deem to have powers and ask them why they didn’t give directions. Raila is not in their level, he is senior to them and can issue the instructions,” he said.