Raila's Tough Stand That Forced Kibaki to His Knees

  • Kibaki and Raila shaking hands after agreeing to share power on February 28, 2019. File
  • After the late Koffi Annan had pushed PNU leader Mwai Kibaki and ODM's Raila Odinga to sign a document to cement their new working relationship in February 2008, he left the country, leaving the two partners with a new headache, sharing cabinet positions.

    In Odinga's 2013 biography, The Flame of Freedom, Odinga narrates that National Accord was signed, there was a lot of push and shove over cabinet appointments with Kibaki allegedly angling to keep all the lucrative posts.

    These disagreements led to a bitter dispute that spilled out into the media and the public, forcing the two leaders who could not see each other eye-to-eye to hold a closed-door meeting to end the stalemate once and for all.

    Koffi Annan looks over as Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki shake hands after agreeing to share power on 28, February 2008.
    Koffi Annan looks over as Raila Odinga and Mwai Kibaki shake hands after reaching a power-sharing agreement on February 28, 2008, following the disputed 2017 general elections that led to bloodshed.

    "A private meeting was arranged, to be held at Sagana State Lodge. I flew there with Permanent Secretary Mohammed Isahakia, to find Kibaki in residence with Francis Muthaura and Romano Kiome. We settled down and tried to break the impasse," Raila wrote.

    Raila narrated that as the conversation went on, he learned that all the while, President Kibaki's problem had not been with a dire need for portfolios, but that he had 'already appointed his cronies' to fill in those spaces.

    This realisation angered Raila, who insisted that if Kibaki had decided to take for himself the Ministry of Internal Security, then he, by all means, had to hand Raila the Finance docket, a matter that he writes forced Kibaki to send out all their aides leaving only the two of them in the room.

    "When he and I were alone, he told me that for most of his life in government, he had been a Minister of Finance. It was a docket he understood very well. Matter of fact, he was the real minister of finance when he acted as the assistant minister," Raila wrote.

    He further stated that Kibaki begged him to let him keep the position for both of them, stating that it would be a personal favor that would be repaid in kind.

    "Kibaki put this in a way that it was so difficult to say no. Here was an old man, practically on his knees," Raila confessed.

    The stalemate ended with Raila ceding the finance docket with strict conditions that ODM had to be granted the local government docket.

    Final list of ministers agreed upon by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
    The Final list of ministers agreed upon by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.