Raila Odinga

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PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP CENTER SPEECH

PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP CENTER SPEECH

REMARKS OF RT. HON RAILA ODINGA AT THE AFRICAN PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP CENTER ROUNDTABLE 2018
TOWARD A CONTINENTAL STRATEGY FOR EDUCATION EXCELLENCE

Four Seasons Hotel, Westcliff, Johannesburg, South Africa
OCTOBER 30TH 2018

Education has always been viewed in Africa as a tool for liberation and a requirement for national development.
It has also been viewed as a possible tool for subjugation by the authorities if not carefully watched.
In Kenya during the colonial era, freedom fighters sought education as a tool for empowering the Africans to enable them confront the colonisers and eventually manage the affairs of the nation once the colonisers were forced out.
But the view of education as a possible tool for subjugation made some people create independent schools, just like they did, independent churches.
At the centre of this contest was the question of what type of education do we need and what was the education for?
In the years that followed, Nelson Mandela came to describe education as “the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.
So the centrality of education to human progress has long been acknowledged at the highest levels of Africa’s political leadership.
The challenge, however, has been actualization.
The question however remains: how inclusive and equitable is education in Africa?
What can we do to promote inclusion and equity ensuring no one is left behind, particularly with regard to post-primary education?
Today many institutions are yet to come up with workable modes of delivering higher education programmes that take cognizance of individual learning and physical disabilities, cultural diversities; and technologies which reduce the existing divide between rural and urban areas; high income earners and the poverty-ridden segment of society.
Two weeks ago, I presided over a graduation ceremony and I made the point that we need to start giving dedicated focus to three things that are critical to the development of Kenya and Africa at large.
These three things are; One, research, Two, research, Three, research.
Without research, we are sitting ducks in a rapidly and constantly changing world.
I believe we can and must use our experience and influence to push our Continent to invest in and support more basic research that can be used to innovatively enhance our lives.
As a continent, we need to agree that each year; we will devote more money to research and a clear list of the projects to be financed and why they matter.
But first some basic adjustments must take place. There must be a level playing field for girls and boys in access to education.
As much as girls’ chances of beginning the quest for education are almost as high as that of boys, they lag behind in progression and completion.
Studies have shown that a good number of challenges faced by girls in their school life creep up just before teenage hood and persist.
Some of the factors that account for girls’ poor performance in the long run include long distances to school, insecurity, religion, lack of sanitary facilities, parental illiteracy and neglect, strained communication between parents and their daughters, sexual predators and broken families. We must protect our girls right to education
While it is beneficial to have an educated populace there is need to ensure that massification is not achieved at the expense of quality.
Finally, and most importantly, the time has come for Africa to confront the dark reality that all the education that the Continent has given its daughters and sons has failed to address; this is the specific problem of corruption or Governance more generally.
It is a fact that the huge corruption scams that pull Africa down are conceived and executed by some of the best brains in the Continent.
Africa must confront the culture of short cuts, deals and quick wealth and deal with it today and not tomorrow.
We are not merely staring at great moral decay as a continent. We are deep in the middle of a great moral decay.
The belief that the end justifies the means is taking deep roots in our society with encouragement of leaders and well educated elite.
And so we go back to the initial question: Education for what?
My response would be that we need to go back to President Harry Truman over 70 years ago and what he thought about education.
In 1960, Truman said:
“Our children are our greatest resource, and our greatest asset–the hope of our future, and the future of the world. We must not permit the existence of conditions, which cause our children to believe that crime is inevitable and normal.
“We must teach idealism–honour, ethics, decency, the moral law. We must teach that we should do right because it is right, and not in the hope of any material reward.”
Africa must start teaching idealism if education is to be the force for good that it is meant to be.

FOPA ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE

FOPA ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE

Ladies and Gentlemen;
Thank you all for the invitation to this event and for this initiative that is a first in our country.
Since independence, the trend has been that those who lose their parliamentary seats sink into oblivion or wait for the next election.
Many times, they are content with conducting occasional harambees here and there to remain in circulation while seeing no role for themselves in the bigger issues facing the nation.
Today, you have decided that you will play a role in the life of our nation. I welcome this wholeheartedly.
It is particularly uplifting that you have chosen national unity and cohesion as the launch pad of your presence. As you are all aware, at independence in 1963, we adopted Harambee, meaning pulling together in one direction, as our motto, a call to action and a guiding spirit.
In the years that followed, we took unity for granted and as a given; until we got to the brink of collapse with the 2007-2008 post-election violence.
Since then, we became a country awakened to the dangers of disunity and the need to address our simmering problems. From the violence, we became a country awakened to the tensions and that had been building in our country and which we had swept under the carpet for generations. We decided to turn our grief and anger into a resolution of Never Again.
It became my wish, which I believe is the wish of every Kenyan including those of you gathered here, that no Kenyan should ever again lose his or her life because of politics. That wish may not have been realised as subsequent elections proved. But it remains my hope that we can progressively work together as a nation towards ensuring that elections do not become mini civil wars that stall the economy, lead to eviction of citizens from parts of the country and total closure of businesses.

As men and women who have won and lost elections before, you are well placed to preach to Kenyans the idea that elections must not be life and death affairs and zero sum games that must be won at all costs. You are in a good place to convince Kenyans that there is life after elections.
I believe that our diversity is a huge asset to our country – economically, culturally and socially. At election time however, this diversity has been exploited and turned into a weakness. The diversity gets turned into us verses them, our people versus other Kenyans. That is hardly a way to build a nation.
As people who have been there, seen that and done that, you are in a good position to help our country deal with the challenge of managing diversity. You have been to the ivory tower and tower of babel that our politics sometimes degenerates into and you are therefore in a good position to help our people celebrate and clearly articulate the benefits that diversity has brought to our country.
Some of you embody an era when Kenyans saw themselves as members of one Kenyan family. You are in a good position to invoke memories of that era and create the emotional unity of our citizens. Emotional unity is necessary for our national integration. You are in a good place to help our citizens consider themselves as one and are citizens of this country regardless of their personal, ethnic, regional, social and religious differences.
You are in a good position to make Kenyans understand that no class or community can make progress by ignoring the interest of the nation.
Finally, some of you no doubt served this nation with great distinction and honour. You are therefore in a good position to inculcate in Kenyans one idea that I wish to dwell a little on; the idea of public. I am not talking about Public Service Commission. I am talking about the spirit that drove our forefathers into fighting for and granting us this great nation.
Over the years, we have slowly but steadily lost the spirit of public service. The idea that public offices are held in trust and are meant for public good and not private gain has been lost over the years. As the spirit got lost, our citizens also gave upon the idea that they have a responsibility to make the country great by electing leaders who treasure honour, dignity and integrity.
I want to impress on this group to take it as one of its roles to impress on our citizens and government the idea that our progress as a nation depend on the efforts of selfless citizens and leaders who work to change our country for the better and not those who focus on private gain.
Slowly but steadily, citizens and leaders who dedicate themselves to ensuring that Kenya’s promise is for all its citizens are getting outnumbered by those who believe in each person for himself and God for us all. Former parliamentarians are in a good place to help our country rediscover this spirit that is getting lost.
I congratulate you for this initiative and wish you all the best.

Visit to Kajiado County

Visit to Kajiado County

I was happy to be in Kajiado County engaging the residents regarding the National Reconciliation Initiative that we have embarked on.
They pledged their support in the coming days towards this crucial and much needed undertaking for us as a people.
I thank them all for wishing us well on this journey as well as, their very warm welcome. Asanteni sana

MEETING OF NASA SUMMIT

MEETING OF NASA SUMMIT

The Summit, the highest organ of the National Super Alliance, met this morning and decided as follows:

1. That the single biggest threat to the stability and economic well-being of Kenya, now and into the future, is the enduring culture of sham elections with pre-determined outcomes. In this regard, the coalition will be dedicating its efforts in the coming months to the single issue of the realisation of electoral justice which entails a thorough reform of the electoral body, the laws governing it and the nature of the relationship it maintains with State agencies that influence its operations.

2. That as currently constituted, and given the amendments that Jubilee introduced to the election laws agreed on in the run-up to the 2017 polls, and having presided over elections marred by illegalities and irregularities, the IEBC cannot preside over the review of boundaries expected in 2018.

3. The coalition asks all its members to equally put singular focus on electoral justice and vacate all discussions of 2022 elections. NASA remains firm that there can be no elections in 2022 unless the causes of the irregularities and illegalities witnessed in 2017 are fully identified and addressed.

4. That conscious of the urgency of the matter of electoral justice to the future stability of the country and conscious of the other challenges facing the country; including environmental degradation, food shortage and looming hunger, rising debt burden and enduring divisions along ethnic, regional and party lines, NASA remains committed to dialogue in the interest of the nation but remains cognisant of the fact that Kenyans are running out of patience and the window is slowly closing.

5. That NASA continues to view the Bill being pushed by Jubilee leaning MP William Kassait Kamket to create a one term, seven year president and an executive Prime Minister as head of government as a Jubilee plot to jump the gun. The coalition therefore wants Jubilee to come clean on the Bill.

6. The coalition will shortly convene a joint Parliamentary Group meeting to cement its position on these matters and particularly on the matter of electoral justice.

Today’s meeting was attended by all members of the Summit.

H.E. Raila Odinga, Coalition Leader
Hon. Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, Co-Principal
Sen. Moses Wetangula, Co-Principal
Hon. Wycliffe Musalia Mudavadi, Co-Principal