Cord leader Raila Odinga on Sunday said he was not ready to take up a job with the government because he is already engaged in various international assignments, which are keeping him busy.
In an interview with the Daily Nation, Mr Odinga sought to put to rest the job debate, saying he had received no job offer in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government.
“I have received numerous invitations from across the world. I have accepted some and declined others. This does not indicate to you I am a person who needs a government job,” he said. “There is no offer I have seen and I do not need any job to stay relevant in this country,” he said. “For avoidance of any doubt, let me state here that I will not accept any job if offered by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government.”
Mr Odinga said his “inbox” was full with international and local assignments that will keep him on his toes in coming days.
“What I told the President is that he should resist the temptations to kill the opposition the same way successive governments have done,” he said on Saturday.
Mr Odinga met President Kenyatta during the funeral of Knut secretary-general David Okuta Osiany in Kisumu last month.
Our sister publication, Saturday Nation, reported at the weekend that Mr Odinga has not announced his next move because President Uhuru Kenyatta had kept him waiting over a State job.
“There was a job in the diplomatic circles, yes, but the President is yet to meet Mr Odinga to firm this up,” an official close to both leaders had told the Saturday Nation. Other politicians close to the former Prime Minister said he was writing his memoirs.
But at the weekend, Mr Odinga said that during his talks with the President, he had asked Mr Kenyatta to nurture the culture of opposition politics by resisting attempts to poach from those constitutionally charged with the task of checking the government.
“Accepting a job in government negates the very ideals enshrined in our Constitution,” he said and dismissed reports that he was being offered a government job as “propaganda”.
There has been talk that Mr Odinga — who lost the March 4 presidential election to Mr Kenyatta — would be appointed as a special envoy. (MAKAU MUTUA: Open letter to Raila: Don’t accept ‘errand boy’ job)
Such a role would make him a peace negotiator in Africa on behalf of the government.
Mr Odinga said the role he wanted to play was that of reorganising Cord to make it a strong opposition force.
He said he was soon to leave for a conference in South Africa, before going to Australia and later to the US.
“I still hold the view that I can lead a strong Opposition from where I stand and that position has not changed,” he said.
And while speaking at the Lutheran Cathedral Church in Nairobi on Sunday where he attended a church service, Mr Odinga dismissed as rumours reports that he had been kept waiting for a job by Mr Kenyatta.
“No one has kept me waiting; no one can do that any way. But let me stress here that I have not been offered a job, I have also not asked for any,” he told the congregation.
He said he was busy strengthening Cord so as to keep the Jubilee government in check.
“There is danger of sliding back to the dark days, if we relax,” he warned. “We want to offer constructive opposition to the government. Of course, we will not just oppose for the sake of it; we will adopt a bipartisan approach in Parliament whereby we will support government when they are on the right track and where we feel all is not right, we oppose, but all in the interest of Kenyans.”
Mr Odinga said the fact that he had lost in the presidential poll had not deterred him in the quest to offer Kenyans an alternative brand of leadership.
“The process must continue and I am determined to achieve this,” he said.