Raila Odinga

Category: News

H.E Raila Odinga on his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

H.E Raila Odinga on his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Today in New Delhi, Mama Ida and I were delighted to be hosted by the Honorable Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. Kenya and India have benefitted from each other for decades in many sectors and it is our hope that this visit will strengthen development for both our nations.

We spoke on increased Indian investment in Kenya both in Industry and particularly in the health sector but also touched on the Maritime agreement whose aim is to boost transportation, trade and activity in Lake Victoria to see Kenya trade better and more efficiently with its neighbours (via the lake) in East and Central Africa.

MEETING BETWEEN H.E RAILA ODINGA AND PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

MEETING BETWEEN H.E RAILA ODINGA AND PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

It’s always a great pleasure meeting with one of Kenya’s most famous sons, President Barack Obama. He spoke very passionately about his foundation and particularly the empowerment of the youth and I commend both him and his sister Auma Obama for the commendable job they have done in building the community in Kogelo.

Always a champion of democracy, President Obama threw his support behind the Building Bridges initiative and pledged his support in helping bring the country together and fighting corruption.

Finally we spoke about ending the stalemate in South Sudan and finding peace for our neighbours. I join the rest of the nation in saying welcome back home Barack!

H.E RAILA ODINGA WELCOMES JOMO SONO AND COSMO INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL ACADEMY TO KENYA

H.E RAILA ODINGA WELCOMES JOMO SONO AND COSMO INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL ACADEMY TO KENYA

JUNE 29, 2018:
At a time the entire Continent of Africa is struggling with the pain of being bundled out of the World Cup, I am glad to welcome Jomo Sono to Kenya. Jomo is a premier footballer, soccer administrator and football entrepreneur with some big plans for the game in Kenya.
I met Jomo in South Africa recently and I interested him in helping develop soccer in Kenya in addition to investing in other areas. He pledged to start soccer academies in the country in addition to starting a football club in Kenya.
It is in that capacity as potential investor in Kenya soccer and in our youth that I welcome him to the country.
Jomo has a talent in discovering and developing new football talent, especially from rural areas. Phil Masinga, Helman Mkhalele, Mark Fish of Bafana Bafana were some of his recruits who went ahead to do a great duty for their country in soccer.
The lack of money and professionalism, as well as poor youth development is hurting Africa’s soccer and we must address these urgently.
The world of football is a multi-billion business that requires a high level of professionalism. As a country and a Continent, we have a long way on the road to professionalism. We need improvement in nearly all departments.
We need to scale up student participation rate in football in school and make that participation as professional as possible.
In countries that have made impact even in the ongoing World Cup, most of boys in the ages of 7 and 12 play soccer in schools under what is very close to professional guidance.
We most likely don’t have data on soccer in our schools and where it takes place, it is largely a pedestrian affair. We need to change that.
We need our kids to play often and in a structured way. In Europe, the recommended period is 4.5 hours a week for 40 weeks. Today, there is no structure that even allows this in our schools.
Football now needs to be a co-curricular, not extra-curricular activity.
Centres of excellence must now go from being just empty talk. They must sprout everywhere.
Then the best of the young talents need a comprehensive development system which is currently lacking.
We need pitches, a pool of coaches, fitness and goalkeeper coaches.
We need to revisit the national service commitments of young players during the most crucial period of their development.
The weak coffers have prevented us from sending our teams overseas more often for top-level exposure. Our soccer managers must present us with solid plans for raising money for our game. We cannot afford to be bundled out at group stages next World Cup.

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT JOINT ODM NEC/ PG IN MOMBASA,

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT JOINT ODM NEC/ PG IN MOMBASA,

Ladies and gentlemen;
Once again, we meet at an interesting time both for our party and our country.
Some say these are confused and confusing times because of the “handshake” and the developments that have followed. I disagree.
There is no confusion in our politics and our country. What has happened is that our country and our politics have changed since the 9th of March.
Those who have refused to see and embrace the change and those resisting the change and trying to rewind the clock are the ones wallowing in or creating confusion.
They embrace the “handshake” in the morning and oppose it in the afternoon. They embrace the war on corruption today, and display its proceeds tomorrow.
They embrace national unity this week, and sow the seeds of discord the following week. ODM is not in that league.
From across the world, Africa and our country, the message I continue to get is that this is Kenya’s last second chance and that not many nations get second chances.
Kenyans know in their hearts that this time, the future must be different.
Kenyans know that they are preparing for a future in which they are not just going to be voting robots for parties and individuals but for their hopes and aspirations and their country.
The message ought to get to everyone that Kenyans are getting ready to take this country in a fundamentally new direction. I see this new group that is mobilizing for a new brand of politics and a different country becoming the new majority going forward.

As a party together with the NASA coalition, we must align accordingly. We remain committed to the vision and spirit of NASA coalition which we believe is as strong as it constituent parties. This meeting today is part of ODM’s determination to strengthen itself as our partners do the same.
For ODM, these are interesting and fulfilling times because all the issues we stand for are at play and the country is watching how we play our cards.
The most critical issues that have finally come to play are corruption and national unity. We have been at the forefront sounding the trumpet that corruption is eating our nation from inside out and corrupting our politics and our moral values.
Unfortunately, the corruption cartels used our very alarm bells to shield themselves from prosecution.

They used our alarm to politicize the war on corruption and to scare the government that we are agents of foreign masters out to bring down the President. They used our protests to build war chests out of public coffers ostensibly to fight a plot by ODM to bring down the government.
This year, we changed tact and assured the government that we are together in the war on corruption. We are no longer whistle blowers. We are one with the government in executing the war on corruption.
We remain in Opposition. But we have taken a principled position that what is good for Kenya is good for ODM.
The war on corruption is good for Kenya. We are in it fully. Lifestyle audit on leaders is good for Kenya. We are in it fully. Personally, I am ready for it. The vetting of procurement officers is good for Kenya. In fact, we pioneered it when we came to power in 2003 as NARC. We support it fully. And now, the corrupt are lost.
Today, we are asking the State to go a step further and enjoin external agencies and experts to boost local capacity in the war on corruption. The number of corruption cases are rising almost daily. The figures involved are mind-boggling. The suspects include the high and mighty. Soon, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations will come under severe challenges with regard to capacity and the rings ran by corruption cartels.

Since our inception as a party, we have advocated unity of the nation through equitable sharing of power and resources and a re-examination of our systems of governance, ethnic relations and the conduct of elections. These issues have been brought to the table and will soon be taken to Kenyans to debate and agree on.

As the handshake provides a lifeline to the long stifled war on corruption, ODM must do everything to enable its impact spread to the other areas stifling our nation and public life. If the handshake has enabled the war on corruption to take off, it must enable unity of our nation, end divisive elections and help us discover our national ethos. We need to agree on how.

There is a Kenya that has been and continues to be. That is the Kenya of corruption, tribalism, marginalization, nepotism, election violence and all the other evils that have defined our country over the past fifty five years.
And then there is a Kenya that is possible and which Kenyans sense is in the horizon since the 9th of March.

It is a Kenya that is united against corruption and that embraces and appreciates every citizen regardless of tribe, race, faith or gender and a Kenya where people live by certain moral values that they are not willing to sacrifice on the altar of politics, power and money.

Kenyans want our politics to take a new dimension and be more purposeful and people-centred. Kenyans are tired of the politics of more of the same that yields hate, tension, division, pain and even death every five years. Kenyans are yearning for politics that heals not one that hurts.
Kenyans are tired of politics that thrives on corruption and that gives way to more corruption and impoverishes the nation every five years.
That is the message that has come through in response to our 9-point agenda signed on March 9th.
In the past couple of weeks, you have seen me meeting Kenyans from diverse backgrounds including former enemies who fought it out in the streets and slums of Nairobi.
They all have the same plea: Help us build a country because we have none.
Help us reimagine our politics because what we have right now is toxic and dangerous.
Stand together as Opposition and government and slay the dragon of corruption because soon we will have very little for ourselves and nothing for our children.
Give us a country with morals and values otherwise we are failing as a nation.

Only last week, Father Joachim Gitonga, a member of the Kikuyu Council of Elders who attended a rally in Muranga as a young man in 1959 and listened to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga rally central Kenya behind the struggle for Uhuru and the release of Jomo Kenyatta asked me, how do we get back to that kind of politics and that kind of country?
How do we get back to electing leaders who are honest, sincere, committed and who put the country first? I am today putting Father Gitonga’s question to you.
As a party, we have never been shy to imagine and explore new horizons.
We must not be shy to leave the old Kenya and its old ways to those stuck in it and walk side by side with other Kenyans to the new Kenya that they yearn for and which they have seen is possible.
We must lead Kenyans in retracing our steps and returning the country to the brand of politics that puts country first.
We must refuse to be distracted by succession politics and concentrate on building a brand new nation within this window of opportunity before it closes.
Are you worried that some people have started campaigning in earnest? Worry not. A transition is underway in Kenya as the handshake bears tangible results in war on corruption and unity of communities.
Everything is going to change. In the process, we will change the factors that voters take into consideration when picking leaders and those who think they are ahead will find themselves behind.
Let those with ears hear and those with eyes see. But let’s also make it our role to make the politically blind and politically deaf see and hear that Kenya is changing and they must not stand in the way.
Thank you.

RAILA ODINGA MEETS KIKUYU COUNCIL OF ELDERS:

RAILA ODINGA MEETS KIKUYU COUNCIL OF ELDERS:

H.E. Raila Odinga met leaders of the Kikuyu Council of Elders at his Capitol Hill offices earlier today. The elders visited to express their appreciation of Mr. Odinga’s decision to join hands with President Uhuru Kenyatta for the unity of the nation.
The Kikuyu elders also expressed “appreciation, recognition, and gratitude” to the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga “for giving firm direction and leadership in the struggle for independence, bravery in colonial Parliament and his push for the release of Jomo Kenyatta from colonial detention.”
They appealed to Mr. Odinga to use the new relationship with President Kenyatta to root out corruption in the country, foster peace and eliminate hate and suspicion among communities.
They pledged unwavering support for the Building Bridges Initiative, the war on corruption and called for a firm application of the National Values and Principles as contained in the Constitution to put Kenya back on track.
Mr. Odinga assured the delegation that the war on corruption has his full backing, in line with his agreement with the President to deny refuge to those accused of corruption and who try to hide behind parties and communities.
DENNIS ONYANGO
JUNE 11, 2018.

H.E. RAILA ODINGA MEETS EU DIPLOMATS IN NAIROBI:

H.E. RAILA ODINGA MEETS EU DIPLOMATS IN NAIROBI:

H.E Raila Odinga this afternoon met with the ambassadors of the European Union in Nairobi.
The meeting took place at the residence of the EU Ambassador to Kenya Mr. Stefano A. Dejak. It reviewed the events and political developments in the country since the March 9 “handshake” between Mr. Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Building Bridges Initiative.
Mr. Odinga briefed the diplomats on the genesis of the Building Bridges Initiative and the next steps. He also briefed the diplomats on his recent trip to Juba and meeting with President Salva Kiir and the expected meeting with Dr. Riak Machar.
The meeting lauded the developments in the country and Kenya’s engagements in regional conflicts with a view to finding lasting solutions.

TREE PLANTING EXERCISE

TREE PLANTING EXERCISE

I joined residents in a tree planting exercise at Bar Opuk Primary School that is part of a campaign named “1 million trees for Siaya ” being carried out in the County.

Reforestation plays an important role in order to overcome deforestation and to restore the natural balance of plant life on the planet.

SPEECH BY H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY Tuesday, 15th May 2018.

SPEECH BY H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY Tuesday, 15th May 2018.

“AFRICA IN A CHANGING WORLD:”
SPEECH BY H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY
Tuesday, 15th May 2018.

It is an honour to visit the city of Cambridge as a guest of the debating society of Cambridge University.
The history of Cambridge University is deeply intertwined with that of Africa. Until the 1970s, the terminating examination for secondary education in Kenya was the Cambridge Overseas O-Level examination. There is a large section of Kenyan workforce to date that traces their education to the Cambridge exams.
It is not an accident that Cambridge University Press, one of the oldest in the world, has published some of the most outstanding books on Africa, including The Cambridge History of Africa and Africa Since 1940, among others.
It is also not an accident that in 2008, Cambridge-Africa initiative was set up as an umbrella programme to strengthen research capacity and scholarship in African universities and research institutes. I thank this university for keeping the ties going. The name Cambridge also came back to us strongly last year in the form of the now infamous Cambridge Analytica.
Over the years however, as institutions like Cambridge University have strived to deepen the ties with Africa, overall, the links have weakened between the two continents.
It is with this in mind that my focus before this audience will be the changing state of the world, particularly with regard to foreign policy and what the changes mean to Africa.
Fundamental political, economic and social shifts are taking place across the world. More inward looking regimes are emerging among the many nations that once looked beyond their borders with dedicated focus on Africa.
The western world, to which Africa once turned for partnership on democratization, trade, education and immigration is shutting its doors on the Continent.
The post-world war interconnected and caring western world that was imagined by the likes of Charles de Gaulle, Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan, Konrad Adenauer, Mikail Gorbachev, Harry Truman, J.F. Kennedy and Woodrow Wilson, among others, is falling apart. These leaders and their immediate successors agreed that engagement not retreat was the way to a safer and better world. They laid the foundation that anchored a global system on democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
In the last ten years, this global system has been under severe pressure. It is now destructing. In its place, populists peddling half-truths, outright lies and fear are rising. By and large, facts and policies no longer win elections. Fear, lies and manipulation of data do. Nobody knows this better the United Kingdom from the Brexit experience that was driven by fear…fear of immigrants, blacks, Muslims, terrorists, Chinese…supposedly flooding the UK if the country remained in the EU. The US is struggling with the results of politics of fear couched as “America First” policy.
The western world that was once the destination of choice for ambitious Third World youths is showing us its back. We have lately witnessed horrific scenes of immigrants from Africa and places like Albania, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Ukraine stuck at borders of Europe. Europe has failed to enact EU-wide common asylum and immigration law that offers safe transit routes and is fair and efficient for asylum seekers.
France recently introduced a Bill that allows the authorities to hold migrants illegally in detention centers for up to 90 days instead of the current 45, in order to organize their deportation. Under the bill, people illegally crossing borders of the EU travel-free zone will be fined 3,750 euros ($4,600).
Across the Atlantic, the US is pushing to reduce the number of legal immigrants in the country.
These developments are taking place against the background of declining interest in democracy by the West. Between 2009 and 2016, U.S. government spending on democracy, human rights, and governance programs fell by nearly $400 million. The Community of Democracies, a coalition established in 2000 lacks the resources and visibility to have much impact.
We recognize and applaud efforts of Sweden and the United Kingdom to individually continue supporting significant bilateral programs to promote democracy and improve governance. But the budgets are minimal. Not much has been felt from the European Endowment for Democracy or the United Kingdom’s Westminster Foundation for Democracy.
The dwindling funding for democracy has been worsened by the extremely casual and cavalier attitude of western election observers and diplomats in Africa with regard to elections and democratization.
Much of the assessment of the observers and western diplomats appear to be clouded with a desire to calm the waters for international investors with huge stakes in African countries and stability.
In dealing with Africa, much of the western world is focusing exclusively on security, stability and the need to contain China.
The changes in global politics mean that the challenges and opportunities facing Africa today are different from those of the colonial, the post-colonial, the cold war and post-cold war periods.

One of Africa’s greatest writers Chinua Achebe told us: “Every generation must recognize and embrace the task it is peculiarly designed by history and by providence to perform.”
With the world disengaging, the current generation of Africans is rising to the challenge of making Africa take charge of its affairs. Africa is looking into itself and thinking of homemade solutions to the challenges it faces in a world that is interconnected and disengaged at the same time.
That is the context in which the world must view our recent decision to close ranks with President Uhuru Kenyatta after a bitter election contest that left the nation torn down the middle.
As leaders, we came to the acceptance that solutions to our problems will never come from outside and that the solutions must result from an honest assessment of objective realities prevailing in the nation.
In Kenya, we agreed to recognize and confront the historical realities that we have long swept under the carpet. We took a journey down memory lane; from our struggle from independence to date and the realities that have impeded our progress.
We agreed that the time had come for Kenya to reflect on its performance in the search for the hallowed goals of justice, unity, peace, liberty and prosperity for all that our struggle for independence was about. We came to the conclusion that our diversity appeared destined to be a curse to ourselves today and to our children tomorrow unless we confront them.
We recognized that the differences were becoming too entrenched yet no two Kenyans can agree on the origins of the differences and what they portend.
We got concerned that millions of our children continued to be born and married into these differences; that people were dying out of these differences and the already well entrenched differences are currently leaking into the fourth generation in primary and secondary schools. Yet in many instances, Kenyans cannot remember why and where they disagreed in the first place.
We narrowed the challenges down to strengthening devolution and tackling corruption, marginalization, divisive elections, security and lack of national ethos.
We are not in anyway deluded that these changes will come easy. There will be opposition and resistance because the issues we want to tackle go to the core of how Kenya has been ran over the past five decades. Many political careers have been made out of the foundation we are now seeking to shake and rebuild and many were hoping to make more careers out of that same foundation. But we are agreed that we have to make these changes if we are to have a nation.

Creating a stable nation is the primary, if not the sole purpose of the Building Bridges Initiative. It is an opportunity for a frank discussion about the questions that have bedeviled Kenya for decades.
We see our agreement, which is now commonly referred to as the “handshake” as a possible guide that other African countries could borrow with modifications to address their circumstances. It is our hope that the Handshake could inspire other African nations struggling problems similar to Kenya’s.
The developments on the global stage are also the context in which the world must view the creation of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and which Kenya strongly supports.
We view the creation of a single market with duty-free access among traders in the continent is a long overdue means to spur industrialization, infrastructure development and economic diversification across Africa.
We are determined to ensure that rather than spend more energy and time negotiating complex trade agreements with the external world, we would be better off encouraging intra-Africa trade which stood at a mere 16 per cent of Africa’s total trade in 2016. We are determined to move Africa away from the narrative of simply being a place where the powerhouse economies of the West and East come to get their raw materials. We see investment in intra-Africa trade as our way of getting out of aid trap. When Africa’s population doubles to two billion people, many of them will be young, under 18. This comes with tremendous opportunities and challenges. We recognize that one of the most urgent tasks facing Africa is to create opportunities for these youths and ensure a decent life for them. In all these homegrown initiatives, we want partners, not patrons. Africa is moving forward, sadder but wiser.

REMARKS OF H.E RAILA ODINGA; EGH; AT THE FIFTH DEVOLUTION CONFERENCE; KAKAMEGA, APRIL 24, 2018.

REMARKS OF H.E RAILA ODINGA; EGH; AT THE FIFTH DEVOLUTION CONFERENCE; KAKAMEGA, APRIL 24, 2018.

I am honoured to join you in celebrating our sixth year of Devolution.

In the last five years, this gathering was a men only affair. Today we have three female governors. I recognize and welcome the madam governors to this club.

It is my hope that after the next elections, we will have at least ten female governors. Devolution must bridge the gender gap in the country’s leadership.

Our people are definitely not enjoying the best they could, but they definitely have improved access to facilities and services like healthcare, roads, markets centres, early child development and agricultural services than before, thanks to devolution.

This should be a constant reminder to us never to fear or oppose change for the sake of it. “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything,” as George Bernard Shaw told us.

Devolution has proved that neither geography nor history is destiny. Nations and regions are poor or rich not because of their geography or their past but because of their ability or inability to make the best of their environment.

We now have tarmac roads and airports in long neglected parts of Kenya like Lodwar, Maralal and Wajir. Hospitals have sprouted in Wajir and Garissa. North Eastern can now access clean water through borehole drilling programmes. Processing plants are sprouting in Makueni, Uasin Gishu, Nyandarua and Kirinyaga among others, underscoring the potential of counties as the next centres of industrialization and job creation.

A 35-year old mountain of garbage has been taken out in Kisumu, underscoring devolution’s capacity to stop the march of environmental degradation in the countryside.

Unfortunately, these positive developments mean that there will be greater expectations of the county governments. Voters expect progress to be a straight forward march into the future, not a zigzag back and forth journey.

Devolution’s achievements should therefore not be celebrated without taking into full account the challenges ahead.

The challenges and areas of possible conflict are glaring. For instance, the National Government is pursuing its Big Four agenda…Food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare. Most of these are devolved functions.

Making sure their implementation by the National Government does not undermine devolution or result in duplication and conflict is a challenge we must address.

There are two issues which I consider cardinal to the success or failure of devolution; GOOD GOVERNANCE AND POLITICAL LEADERSHIP.

Good leaders need vision for the work they set out to do and a clear mission on how to pursue the vision.  Often, such vision and mission are stated in a Manifesto.

In a county, the governor’s manifesto must find its way into the COUNTY INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT PLAN (CIDP) to inform social and economic transformation.

Implementing manifestos cannot be done unless the governor knits together a team that can deliver. You are therefore as good as your team. But even here, there are challenges.

How do governors implement their manifestos in an environment where the Big Four agenda includes devolved functions? A solution has to be found.

At this point, I wish to single out some very immediate threats to devolution and your tenures that we need to address this early.

Governors and the county public services continue to be accused of engaging in self-enrichment.

Too many governors and their executive are viewed with suspicion by voters and many are under active investigation by the EACC. There is nepotism and cronyism in counties. And too many counties are failing to come up with clear pro-youth programmes to address unemployment.  People pursuing business with counties also talk of an elaborate network of County Assembly speakers, leaders of majority, CECs, county works supervisors and county clerks, among others, whose sole purpose is to make money from public works projects. These officials have the capacity and audacity to paralyze, delay and stall development projects.

MCAs and county Speakers are particularly being accused of conflict of interest. Often they are the contractors while at the same time purporting to be carrying out oversight roles.

The quest for cuts has also led to a craze for allowances by members of County Assemblies that is also paralyzing counties.

Governors have to pay for their Cabinets to be approved. To date, there are counties that are yet to form full cabinet because of the standoff between governors and MCAs.

Members of County Assemblies are constantly on so-called bench-marking and team building trips that are essentially acts of bribery by the Executive to have their agenda approved and a quest for allowances. This corruption network is eating devolution from inside out.

We have to stop it or it will altogether kill our most important gift to ourselves ever since our fathers brought us independence. Sometimes, the idea of corruption is based on rumors and perception. But there are also cases where eyebrows have been raised because the life styles of people have changed overnight. The best way to stop rumors from assuming the pedestal of truth is for the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to undertake objective life style audits of suspects.

Two institutions are key to proper financial management and accountability: The internal audit department, and the procurement department. Working hand in hand within the finance department, they can make or break good governance in the county. The governor has a duty to ensure that the people appointed to these departments are qualified, competent, accountable and smart.

 

The good news is that fighting corruption and shielding devolution are no longer matters of partisan debate. The MoU of the now famous handshake on March 9 prioritizes making counties deliver to the people. It also identifies corruption as an existential threat to the country. The President and I are agreed that we must fight corruption from a wide and common front. We shall not provide sanctuaries for perpetrators of corruption. We will strongly support whistleblowing from all Kenyans.

We have mandated the public to report corruption whenever they witness it but without witch hunt. Very soon, the corrupt will be on their own.

But governors also have their side of the story. For instance, counties are failing to attract high calibre, public-spirited personnel because of the existing pay structure.

Because of this, policy papers are wanting in some counties and many governors lack quality advisory services.

There seems to be a genuine need to review pay policy to enable counties attract quality staff without necessarily increasing costs.

We need to help our counties generate funds that would help them finance quality staffing in addition to providing services. One way to do this is to review and rationalize taxation policies.  Counties have very small tax collection bases. In tourism sector for instance, VAT, Catering Levy and Tourism Levy all go to the national government. Overall, counties have only about 15 per cent taxation revenue base. There is too much confusion in the management of Roads sector with the National Government laying claim to most roads while doing nothing to maintain them.

We also need to review the relationship between regional authorities like Lake Basin Development Authority, Coast Development Authority, Tana and Athi Development authorities and the County and National Governments. And we must help our counties resolve boundary disputes. Let me make a brief mention of wealth creation in counties based on investments, own- revenue generation and employment creation. I encourage counties to remain aggressive in creating the institutional basis for investments by utilizing all the legal instruments available for doing this.

 

Here I would like to refer to the PPP law, the Special Economic Zones, Export Processing Zones, business incubation institutions, agribusiness investments, skills and business development centers, and so on.

Further, counties should not simply rely on getting locally generated revenues through licenses, rates and fees. The real difference in own revenue generation will only come from improved productivity.

Counties must demonstrate to the National Government that they are coming of age. The National Government must also be ready to provide the necessary back up when counties take investment initiatives for employment and wealth creation. The first five years of devolution witnessed enormous constraints in taking initiatives for investments in the counties. The PPP legal framework was particularly unclear. A lot has since been done to improve this.

However, the National Government still needs to do more in helping counties with transaction advisers and undertaking capacity building functions in line with the Inter-Governmental Relations Act. Very soon, we may need to address the issue of access to external funding in counties with the National Government as an intermediary given the transfer of functions in line with Schedule Four of the Constitution.

I want to end by saying something about the structure and viability of counties as presently constituted and the Building Bridges to a New Kenya Initiative. We continue to encourage our counties to explore the formation of economic blocs to address some of the challenges identified. This is also part of the MoU of the Building Bridges to a New Kenyan Nation initiative. Counties must work together regardless of the political affiliation of their governors, senators and MCAs.

I therefore laud the formation of the 14-county Lake Region Economic Bloc and appeal to the County Assemblies cooperate and pass legislation to aid the realization of the bloc. I encourage all counties that are exploring such formations to soldier on and their assemblies to cooperate. Going forward however, and as a matter of lasting solution to the problem posed by the sizes of the economies of devolved units, I want to propose to this forum that we need to bite the bullet and revisit the structure of devolution.

The Bomas Draft Constitution divided Kenya into 14 regions, each made up of several districts. The intention was to create units with the size and population that made them economically viable. It is time to look at how to recover this original spirit. My proposal is that we adopt a three-tier system that retains the current counties, creates regional governments and retains the National Government and with very clear formula for revenue sharing.

Finally ladies and gentlemen, you are one of the most critical stakeholders in the future of our country. I wish to invite all of you to support and take steps to the realization of the Building Bridges to the New Kenyan Nation initiative contained in the MoU we signed with President Uhuru Kenyatta. We aim is modest, humble and noble. We want to address ethnic antagonism, lack of national ethos, inclusivity, strengthen devolution, end divisive elections, ensure safety and security, end corruption and ensure shared prosperity. I appeal to you to embrace the document and its spirit.

Thank you. God bless you.

STATEMENT BY H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT THE LAUNCH OF BRIDGE TO NEW KENYA INITIATIVE

STATEMENT BY H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT THE LAUNCH OF BRIDGE TO NEW KENYA INITIATIVE

Fellow Kenyans.

In the life of any nation, a time comes when the people and their leaders must audit the progress made towards the attainment of the goals and prayers laid out at the founding of the nation.

Abraham Lincoln said… “If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.”

When such times come, the leaders entrusted to secure the goals, in our case: justice, unity, peace, liberty and prosperity for all; have a duty to reflect on their performance in the search for these hallowed goals.

Such a time has come for Kenya.

Fifty four years into independence, we are challenged to audit our progress towards the ideals for which our fathers fought to establish a free and independent country and for which many of our compatriots died.

We, the leaders are equally summoned to reflect on our performance towards the achievement of our nation’s aspirations.

This audit and introspection has been a long time coming.

Throughout our independence history, we have had doubts on how we have conducted our affairs in the face of growing divide along ethnic, religious and political lines. Regrettably, we have responded to our challenges by mostly running away from them.

We have moved from year to year, election to election, never pausing to deal with the challenges that our diversity was always going to pose to our efforts to create a prosperous and united nation. Consequently, the ties that bind us are today under the severest stress.

Our diversity appears destined to be a curse to ourselves today and to our children tomorrow.

In the past, we have given a lot of attention to institutional reforms in the hope that these could lift us to the next level of nationhood and make us a blessed land.

Seven and a half years ago, we gave to ourselves a new Constitution. We put our faith in it as the instrument to revolutionize our nation. In this and many other ways, we created some of the best hardware any country has ever possessed to engineer their affairs.

We must be courageous enough to admit that it has not worked. It has failed because we are yet to upgrade our software. We have been pouring new wine into old wineskins. The Gospel tells us that new wine needs new wineskins.

The time has come for us to confront and resolve our differences. These differences are becoming too entrenched.

No two Kenyans agree on the origins of the differences and what they portend.

Millions of our children continue to be born and married into these differences. People are dying out of these differences.

Many of these differences are already well entrenched in the third generation of Kenyans and are currently leaking into the fourth generation in primary and secondary schools.

Yet in many instances, Kenyans cannot remember why and where they disagreed in the first place.

As we fight ostensibly to save ourselves from each other, the reality is, we need to save our children from ourselves.

My brother and I have therefore come together today to say this descent stops here.

We refuse to allow our diversity to kill our nation. We refuse to be the leaders under whose watch Kenya slid into a failed nation.

This is a call to self-reflection. We have to look into ourselves and challenge our readiness to make the changes that will allow our institutional reforms to work.

So long as we remain divided, acrimonious, selfish and corrupt, no amount of institutional reform will better our lives.

The reform process will become an exercise in diverting attention from our own failings and taking refuge in blame game.

We therefore seek your partnership in this initiative fellow Kenyans. We are all sailing in this one ship. We must come together to scoop out the water that has been sipping in or we shall capsize.

We have travelled too far to turn back.

We would never make it back to the shore.

Yet, we can’t make it to our destination either. Our only option is to come together and scoop out these waters of animosity that we have been pouring into the boat before we all sink.

Once again, as Lincoln said… “The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail — if we stand firm, we shall not fail.

God Bless Kenya.

Thank you.