Uhuru, Raila meet stirs talk on fresh constitution push

Written by on 11 January 2023

A meeting between retired President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila  Odinga in Mombasa over the weekend has ignited debate of a fresh push for the revival of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) in the wake of President William Ruto’s proposals on constitutional changes.

The meeting on Friday, according to sources, came in the wake of media reports that the former Head of State was due to relinquish his chairman position at the Azimio la Umoja Coalition.

According to sources, Kenyatta is said to have met with Raila at an undisclosed place for more than an hour though the details of their discussion are yet to be revealed.

The two leaders are said to have discussed the country’s political situation, the future of Azimio and President Ruto’s proposals on amending sections of the constitution to create the office of the Official Opposition and pave the way for  Cabinet secretaries to answer questions in Parliament.

Raila who celebrated his birthday at the Coast on Saturday has been in Mombasa since Thursday last week where he met Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) delegates.

On Sunday when he attended a church service at the ACK Memorial Cathedral, Raila said he had met Uhuru on Friday and also spoke to him by telephone the following day.

When asked about Kenyatta’s place in the Azimio coalition, Raila confirmed that the retired President was not leaving Azimio and that he was actively involved in the efforts to strengthen the coalition for future endeavours.

There has been speculation that the former President was headed by Azimio, who is the council chair, to concentrate on international assignments.

But speaking in Mombasa on Sunday, Raila dispelled claims that the coalition was in turmoil as rumours saying that, as it stands, there is no power struggle between him and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka who has willingly supported him three times for the presidency.

Alleged resignation

Raila also said Kenyatta has not made any confirmation of his alleged resignation and asked Azimio supporters not to be distracted by the unfounded claims from the media.

 “I have talked to the president this morning, and he has not given me any impression that he is going to resign from Azimio. That is sheer media propaganda, Uhuru is very much a member and part and part of the Aimio leadership,” said Raila.

Speaking after the Sunday service at the ACK church in Mombasa, Raila confirmed that he has been in constant conversation with the former president and he has not confirmed any resignation.

The retired president resurfaced on Saturday at the Coast when he was seen enjoying life at Moorings Floating Restaurant in Mtwapa, Kilifi County.

Situated on the North Coast of Mombasa, the Moorings is a floating restaurant on the Mtwapa creek with a waterfront setting and a spectacular view. It is here where the former president, accompanied by the former First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and his children, went for lunch.

Excited by the former president’s visit, the luxurious hotel posted on its social media photos of the former president signing the visitors’ book with the caption: “It was a great honour hosting the fourth President of the Republic of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta’’.

Confirming the former president’s visit, Moorings Manager Francis Wekesa said Uhuru looked  “calm, at ease and in a jovial mood” as he laughed throughout their encounter. He disclosed that the former head of state could be seen not bothered with the surroundings as he even exchanged pleasantries with other visitors.

“We feel very honoured that the former president came to our hotel for lunch. We welcomed him warmly and allowed him to enjoy the variety of foods we provide. It was an honour and we asked him to come again,” said Wekesa.

Wekesa said Moorings has been a frequent spot by Uhuru even before he became president. Although he could not confirm the favourite food the former president ate, he said the former Head of State was happy with what the hotel prepared for him.

Accompanied by family

“He was accompanied by his family, and had a nice time, he congratulated us for the nice food we cooked and signed our visitors’ book. He also wished us a very prosperous new year,” Wekesa added.

According to Wekesa, the restaurant offers all sorts of delicacies and drinks.

Dressed in a T-shirt and beach shorts, he said the former president was not in a hurry to leave.

“He used to frequent here before he became president, but when he was the president he stopped visiting, but now we are happy that he has not forgotten his old place of enjoyment,”Wekesa added.

According to the former president’s New Year message left in the visitor’s book, he was contented with the hospitality offered by the establishment.

“May you all have a great and happy new year, thank you for your hospitality,” wrote Kenyatta before taking photos with the restaurant staff.

Last October, Kenyatta was at the world’s famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve before he later made a surprise visit to Zebu Lounge on the outskirts of Narok Town.

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