There is no enmity between opposition leader Raila Odinga and Jubilee Party Secretary-General Raphael Tuju, despite sharp differences often witnessed in the media.
Mr Tuju, in an interview with the Nation over a wide range of issues, maintained that he is still a “good friend” of Mr Odinga in spite of belonging to disparate political outfits.
The former Rarieda MP clarified that his differences with the National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader are only political, not personal.
“I have nothing personal against Mr Odinga, it is all political. I respect him a lot and we have a cordial relationship. We talk quite often.
“It will be politically immature for people to say out there that I have personal differences with Mr Odinga, which is not true at all.
“Supporting a different candidate should not be blown out of context to mean I hate him,” Mr Tuju said.
The constitutional referendum campaign of 2005, which pitted then President Mwai Kibaki against Mr Odinga, who was the Roads minister, was when Mr Tuju and the Nasa leader parted ways.
READ: United stand in vote against 2005 constitution
President Kibaki was leading the “yes” camp and Mr Odinga the “no” team; it is through the occasion that the latter and other leaders formed the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM)
“He was in the “No” camp because he wanted an executive Prime Minister position while I was opposed to that.
“Since then I have been consistently supporting the government,” Mr Tuju said.
The former minister for Information and Communication under the Kibaki government urged Kenyans to focus more on improving the country.
He pointed out that ethnic strife has been a major stumbling block to economic development, making Kenya lag behind despite its huge potential.
“Kenyans are so much obsessed with marshalling their tribes to gang up against another tribe in quest for power until we lose focus on putting up sound economic policies to help the coming generation,” Mr Tuju said.
He said that the concern of who will be the next president is immaterial, arguing that the interest should be hinged on which candidate has the best policies.
“No matter who is the President, let us face real issues affecting the country and how they can be tackled and that has nothing to do with either President Uhuru Kenyatta or Mr Odinga.”
He said the country is staring at the ever increasing youth population that is adversely affected by unemployment.
“The question should be…how we deal with the youth who are disillusioned and also lack social integration skills and not necessarily who the President is.”
On the pledge of free primary education being advanced by Jubilee administration, he said it is a good starting point in dealing with the problems facing the youth, adding that the low transition rate to secondary schools has been a major undoing for the country.
He believes that President Kenyatta will comfortably get a second term in office because of “effective campaign strategies”.
“It is not rocket science that Jubilee has made inroads in Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale, which voted largely for the opposition.
“What else do you need to get a second term?”
He admitted that President Kenyatta has encountered significant challenges such as corruption, but has taken steps to manage the vice by suspending four Cabinet secretaries after the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) linked them to misconduct.
“Never in the history of Kenya has any President told some members of his Cabinet to step aside due to corruption.
“It was incumbent upon other agencies such as EACC, Judiciary and Director of Public Prosecutions to do their work.”
READ: President Kenyatta suspends cabinet secretaries
He said the opposition is whipping up emotions but have nothing to offer to Kenyans.