Raila Odinga

Month: August 2018

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.

PASSING OF DR. KOFI ANNAN:

PASSING OF DR. KOFI ANNAN:

I am profoundly shocked to learn of the passing of Africa’s top diplomat, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
I extend sincere condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Annan and the U.N fraternity.
In Kenya, we retain fond memories of Dr. Annan as the man who stepped in and saved the country from collapse following the 2007-2008 post-election violence. Much remains to be done of the plan he proposed for the country as a road map to lasting peace and stability and it is my hope that we could do it in his honour.
I wish to express deep gratitude and appreciation of Dr. Annan for his dedicated and tireless work in stabilizing the world and encouraging Africa to aspire to higher ideals of democracy, respect for human rights and sound governance as the path to sustainable peace and economic development.
More than any other UN Secretary General, Annan best understood pushed the world to see the importance of human rights to peace, security, humanitarian affairs, economic and social development. His death is a major blow to the push for respect of human rights across the globe.
The world will always remember and honour Dr. Annan for what became known as “the Annan Doctrine” in which he made it clear that the need to respect sovereignty cannot be used as a shield by governments to brutalize their own citizens and that the international community has a right to intervene, when governments fail to protect the lives of their citizens. That will remain a pillar of hope for many people across the world for generations to come if it can be adhered to. May he rest in eternal peace.
H.E. RAILA ODINGA;

ALL GOVERNMENT BRANCHES, CITIZENS AND FRIENDS OF KENYA MUST STAND TO BE COUNTED IN WAR ON CORRUPTION:

ALL GOVERNMENT BRANCHES, CITIZENS AND FRIENDS OF KENYA MUST STAND TO BE COUNTED IN WAR ON CORRUPTION:

In recent couple of days, the Government of Kenya has mounted a commendable crackdown on corruption and the culture of impunity on which it rides.
This crackdown and the support by the public were unthinkable at the start of this year with Kenya torn down the middle by ethnic politics, elections and impunity until the MoU in the Building Bridges to a New Kenyan Nation happened with a very clear agenda on how to address our ages old problems.
Thanks to the bipartisan support, public lands whose recovery started then stalled under the NARC regime in 2003, has kicked off, with the grabbers denied the ethnic and political party sanctuaries they usually hide in. The political atmosphere has enabled us to look at our problems minus the usual ethnic lenses. Attempts by suspects to appeal to their ethnic bases have therefore generated near zero support.
As the crackdown continues, as it must, we need to see similar energy and speed directed at recovery of assets that were acquired from the proceeds of corruption and impunity.
It is fair to expect that the business premises that were set up on public land generated some private gain for the illegitimate owners in the same way stolen public funds generated income in the form of bank interests and property for the suspects. The Asset Recovery Agency must move with speed and ensure that the suspects, both those out on bail and the ones facing arrest, do not hide their ill-gotten wealth or access and use them to undermine justice and frustrate the war on corruption and impunity.
Kenyans need these monies seized and returned to the public to finance the many gaps being experienced in the development plans, including repayment of the ever-rising foreign debts. Partly because of wanton theft of public funds including those from donors, taxes are going up on virtually everything. Ordinary Kenyans must not continue to bear this burden while the corrupt keep their loot.
Asset recovery must be seen and felt in our anticorruption crusade. Depriving corrupt actors of these ill-gotten wealth and returning them to the public will support development and economic growth. It will restore confidence in the current crackdown. Corruption must be made a painful crime.
The Asset Recovery Agency must move out of boardrooms and be seen to be acting publicly in unison with the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
It is equally important in the process of asset recovery to work together with the Kenyan public. Many people in this country want to contribute to this war and are looking for a way in which they can assist the anti-corruption agencies to remove this scourge from our society. It is the people who know better who is living beyond their means. The public is the best source of information. The Asset Recovery Agency needs to urgently set up a platform through which the public can share this information with the government.
All branches of the government; the Legislature, Judiciary and Executive must pull in the same direction if the corruption networks are to be overcome. The public currently feels cheated by Parliament, which has become the weakest link in this war, with reports of money changing hands for adoption or rejection of reports. This is a major shame to the nation and deserves urgent and thorough investigation by multi-agency team from the EACC, DPP and DCI.
In the March 9 MoU, we agreed to fight corruption from a wide and common front by strongly supporting whistleblowing from all Kenyans. The MoU mandates the public to report corruption whenever they witness it. Kenyans must take up this role and also pressure their elected representatives to fight corruption or resign.
This is also the time for our international partners, who have long lamented about the culture of corruption and impunity in Kenya, to play ball, open up their institutions and help trace Kenya’s assets and monies hidden in their countries.
About three months ago, the DPP appealed for the collaboration of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in the fight against corruption. We are anxiously waiting for that support, preferably in more practical ways than routine capacity building and training. Already, Switzerland has promised to probe their banks and trace Kenya’s assets and fund hidden there. All our other partners should do the same.
END.
AUGUST 12, 2018

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT THE SECOND GRADUATION CEREMONY, MURANGA UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT THE SECOND GRADUATION CEREMONY, MURANGA UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

;Let me begin by saying congratulations to the young men and women who have graduated today.
This is both an end and a beginning for you as you mark the end of your studies in this institution and begin your journey to the dream of your life.
This day has been intertwined with the celebration of one of our modern day heros, Hon. Charles Rubia.
I am honoured to witness the conferment of this honour on this man of many firsts, courage and solid achievements.
On this occasion, I am reminded of the timeless words of President Theodore Roosevelt way back in April 1899:
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
Hon Rubia fits the bill of our citizens who dared mighty things, won glorious triumphs, lost some battles and won some, all for the good of our nation.
All his life, he refused to join the club of people who never sacrificed, never suffered and never learnt.
As the first African mayor of Nairobi from 1962 to 1967, Rubia had the daunting task of turning Nairobi into a modern African city and rid it of its segregated life that put Africans at the bottom, followed by Asians and topped by whites. He made it happen.
As Kenya’s representative on the Africanization Commission of the East African Common Services Organization and as a Director representing Kenya in The East African Development Bank Board, Rubia stood up for our country and put it on the trajectory that saw us emerge as one of the strongest economies in Africa.
In the intervening years, Hon. Rubia served Nairobi and Kenya as Member of Parliament for Starehe and a minister with dedication and distinction.
But in the last 20 years or so, we have come to define Hon. Rubia with his May 1990 press conference at the New Stanley Hotel together with Hon. Kenneth Matiba at which they challenged the forces of status quo to open up the country’s political space.
In a subsequent interview, Hon. Rubia said: “We really risked our necks because it wasn’t a joke at that time.” I can’t agree more.
As you may recall, at that time, as pressure mounted on Nyayo regime, Kanu and the entire government machinery hit the road touring the whole country – in fact every Province was visited – and with big rallies organized to castigate us proponents of multipartysm.
So it took real courage to stick out your neck, knowing well the consequences. But Muranga has produced many heroes. We had Kenneth Matiba and there was Bildad Kaggia. These are lives we should emulate, embrace and celebrate.
Creating a stable, modern and respected nation that also respects its citizens requires sacrifice and dedication by citizens and leaders.
A generation of Kenyans that has done more than its share in making Kenya great like Hon Rubia here is giving way with their heads high.
We must be prepared to embrace their spirit and carry the country forward.
We must be prepared afresh to take up J.F. Kennedy’s doctrine that asks not what our country can do for us and instead as what we can do for our country.
As a country, we are once again at that critical juncture where we have to embrace the doctrine of hard work, tough decisions and sacrifices for the sake of the nation.
The magnitude of the sacrifices required might not be at par with those we had to make a decade ago or our fathers had to make over five decades ago.
But the goal remains the same; it is the search for a perfect nation. We cannot and we must never stop struggling to make Kenya a perfect nation.
The sacrifices by our fathers in the 1950s and 1960s rid us of colonialists. The sacrifices and hard work by the likes of Hon. Rubia in the 1990s gave us a more open and tolerant government and even a new constitution.
We are now called upon to rededicate our energies to dealing with the threats to the independence our fathers fought for and the freedoms, liberties and rights that came with the struggles of the 1980s to this day.
These threats are ethnic antagonism, lack of national ethos, exclusion, divisive elections and corruption.
There has been deterioration in the relationship between our communities since independence. We have to stop this trend.
We must stop this country from being defined by violence, corruption and impunity and create a more positive culture and image. We must stand together, bring everyone on board and agree that we are weaker alone, stronger together.
We must fix our elections so that elections cease being a threat to stability, economy and lives. Every five years, this country comes to a standstill as electioneering sets in. people lose businesses, property and lives. We must stop this.
And we must tackle corruption and stop it from destroying Kenya. Corruption is being accepted as a way of life in Kenya. We must stop it being easy and profitable.
We want to encourage Kenyans to believe that success comes from hard and honest work. We must close all sanctuaries for the corrupt.
Then and only then shall we say that the sacrifices our fathers and later our compatriots made, were worth the effort and the pain.
Thank you and God Bless Kenya.

RAILA ODINGA MEETS SOUTH SUDAN CIVIL SOCIETY REPRESENTATIVES:

RAILA ODINGA MEETS SOUTH SUDAN CIVIL SOCIETY REPRESENTATIVES:

Today at his Capitol Hill offices, H.E. Raila Odinga met with representatives of civil society groups from South Sudan who briefed him on developments in the country. The civil society leaders also expressed a strong desire for Kenya to take over the peace process.
The civil society representatives further expressed strong fears that despite the semblance of progress in the peace process, the situation in South Sudan is degenerating each passing day and Kenya remains the last best hope for South Sudanese. They urged Kenya to take seriously developments in South Sudan.
The group appealed to Kenya to steer the South Sudan process back to issues and not positions and individuals. They appealed to Kenya to export the creativity that has seen it pull from the brink in the past stating that on-going talks, if not handled with care, could easily lead to another war.
Mr. Odinga reaffirmed Kenya’s enduring commitment to finding peace in South Sudan, describing the situation in the country as regrettable and stressful.
“Kenya remains ready to help. We had hoped that independence in South Sudan would give way to reconstruction as happened in Vietnam and Algeria after protracted wars. But we have been disappointed. We however remain committed to the strategic partnership between our country and South Sudan and we will not give up,” Mr. Odinga said.