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ODM defends Raila, says he has no authority over counties

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga has no executive authority and should not be asked to answer questions of corruption in the counties controlled by the party.

ODM director of elections Junet Mohamed said that it was trivial for the Jubilee administration to paint Mr Odinga as a beneficiary of graft in counties whose governors were elected on an ODM ticket.

The Jubilee Party leaders have been criticizing Mr Odinga since he defended Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi over a reported Sh1.1 billion theft of funds from the county’s bank account but which the devolved unit puts at Sh51 million.

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale on Thursday called Mr Odinga the ‘Lord of graft” accusing him of receiving a monthly stipend from ‘ODM counties’.

The Jubilee team also said that Mr Odinga’s fight against graft was hypocritical, saying he only raised his voice against the vice in the national government and not in ‘his’ counties.

But Mr Mohamed described Mr Odinga as ‘Kenya’s only remaining courageous saviour” who he said had blown the whistle on multi-billion corruption scandals.

“Raila Odinga is not a governor of any county and the questions directed to him on county funds are irrelevant and meant to divert attention from what is happening in the national government,” Mr Mohamed told journalists at Parliament buildings on Friday.

The Suna East MP was accompanied by Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati and Mombasa Woman Representative Mishi Mboko.

“Mr Odinga has no executive role over any county government and it is therefore malicious to associate him with unethical financial occurrences undertaken by county executives,” said Mr Mohamed.

On Thursday, Mr Duale said that he had in his possession 20 air tickets and hotel receipts paid for Mr Odinga by the ‘ODM-controlled counties’.

“Odinga sits atop the biggest public looting syndicate ever seen in Kenya, overseeing the siphoning of billions annually from the budgets of more than a dozen counties,” said Mr Duale.

But in their statement, the ODM MPs said that it was “extremely disparaging and shameful” to talk about air tickets and hotel accommodation of Mr Odinga.

“Raila travels on his own, he pays his bills and flies privately,” said Mr Mohamed.

Mr Mohamed also faulted the Jubilee Party narrative that Mr Odinga should take responsibility for theft in the Opposition run counties.

“If Raila Odinga is to take responsibility for Cord controlled counties, then who should Kenyans expect of Jubilee controlled counties?” asked Mr Mohamed.

“President Uhuru Kenyatta should then take responsibility for TNA governors and Deputy President William Ruto, those of URP,” they said.

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