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Jubilee, NASA leaders at crossroads

Reuben Simiyu
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The historic handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Nasa chief Raila Odinga has left leaders from both camps in a limbo. [Photo/Nation]

In the wake of the historic handshake, leaders from both the opposition coalition NASA and Jubilee are in a limbo for fear being seen as the dark horse in the cooperation of the two.

For instance, the likes of Moses Kuria, the lawmaker from Gatundu South who rose to the national limelight mainly by constantly bashing Mr Odinga, admits that in the wake of the handshake, they have been forced to re-brand themselves.

“You realise that podium politics has for now ended. The beauty is some of us have other things to do, so we will not be rendered idle,” he said.

There has been lack of hard hitting statements from the opposition on the recent scandal at the National Youth Service (NYS) where it is alleged that some Sh9 billion has been siphoned through ghost payments.

But National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi accuses the media of painting a picture that the handshake has eroded the oversight role of the opposition.

“This idea that we are no longer playing our part as far as keeping the government in check is just a creation of the media. Can’t you see I have called you here today to talk about the NYS scandal? We will continue to play our role as the opposition despite the handshake,” Mr Mbadi said.

The lawmaker called on Auditor-General Edward Ouko to carry out a special audit of the NYS accounts and present his report to Parliament for implementation.

Chairman of the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Opiyo Wandayi said the country must work towards institutionalising alternative voices that can hold the government to account instead of leaving it to one person as has been the case.

“The role of holding the government to account has, over the years, been left to one person – Raila; so every time he makes a move like the handshake, everything comes to a standstill,” Mr Wandayi said

The Ugunja MP, however, maintained that despite the handshake, Mr Odinga’s principles on matters of corruption and good governance remain the same.

Mr Wandayi said that as far as PAC is concerned, nothing has changed and they will continue to play their oversight role through the committee.

“As a committee, we cannot prosecute matters of corruption in the public gallery but within the precincts of Parliament as guided by the Standing Orders. Those involved in scandals touching on public money should brace themselves for hard times ahead,” Mr Wandayi said.

The opposition is in some kind of a confusion and is yet to find its bearing and excecute its mandated oversight role.

It remains to be seen how well the opposition keeps the government on its toes and how Raila Odinga will maintain his voice and status and not seem to directly contradict the psresident.

The opposition needs someone who won't keep quite and let the government do everything at their own pace. That person was Raila and it will take lots of years to come across another one who will come close to managing as well as he did.

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-Reuben Simiyu

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