Raila Odinga

Month: March 2019

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA; EGH AT THE SIXTH DEVOLUTION CONFERENCE; KIRINYANGA; MARCH 6, 2019.

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA; EGH AT THE SIXTH DEVOLUTION CONFERENCE; KIRINYANGA; MARCH 6, 2019.

Chairperson of the Council of Governors;
Governors;
I am honoured to be with you again.
Thank you for the invitation.
I always look forward to this event.
I do because I continue to believe that Devolution is the best thing that Kenyans ever gave themselves after independence.
And I come here faithfully because I recognize and respect the governors and the work they do as the people on the ground.
As people on the ground, governors have a good idea what works and what does not; what should remain, what should be improved and what should be scrapped outright.
And that is also why I continue to call for a closer and more cordial working relationship between the County governments and the National government. When counties function, the entire country functions.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
In the success story we are witnessing with Devolution lies another story that we rarely tell.
It is the story of change.
Change is always scary.
It implies a shift in thinking and re-organization of institutions, communities and even government.
That is why change is resisted through numerous excuses.
But the story of Devolution tells us never to fear change.
Change is the only constant thing in life. Successful nations are those that refuse to settle for less and constantly review and probe their systems and structures with a view to making them more perfect and responsive to emerging challenges and changing circumstances.
The story of certain parts of the country getting tarmac roads, piped water and street lights for the first time since independence proves that devolution has brought life where both the colonial government and independent Kenya failed.
Devolution has done what conventional thinking and the fear of change failed to do for over 50 years. Nobody should take that for granted.
Today, I wish to share some quick thoughts on our journey of change going forward particularly with regard to devolution.
I will be appealing to you to be brave and bold and never fear to push for change just because you will make enemies.
The successes of the two levels of government means Devolution is here to stay with us.

It means that even as we talk of the need for constitutional reforms to perfect and strengthen our governance, devolved units will remain part of the reformed structure we intend to create. Our task should be to ask ourselves how.
Because this Devolution conference is taking place against the background of intense debate about constitutional reforms, one of the issues we must address ourselves to here is what should be the most appropriate structure and content of sustainable devolved government in Kenya now and into the future.
One of the facts we are dealing with but hardly acknowledging is that a number of our counties as they are today are too tiny to compete and to marshal internal and external resources for their development. They are small in population, base for agricultural production, manufacturing, innovation and infrastructural development.
I believe our counties would do better were they to be grouped into bigger entities. The creation of regional blocks is a logical response to dealing with this problem of “economies of scale” in enhancing the potential for development of counties.
This forum and the Council of Governors should robustly consider and debate the need for using the envisaged constitutional reforms to formalize regionalism in law.
The need is clearly there. That is why we are witnessing the emergences of regional economic blocs such as Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani, Lake Region Economic Bloc, Mount Kenya and Aberdares Counties Economic Bloc, North Rift Economic Bloc, South Eastern Kenya Economic Bloc and Frontier Counties Development Council among others.
Formalization of regionalism would not necessarily mean dismantling the counties as they are today.
For comparative purposes, we have a perfect example in the USA where they have county, federal and national governments. Nobody should stifle this debate for fear of change or merely political expediency.

We also acknowledge that this gathering has happened without fail for the last six years. I congratulate you for keeping it going.
However, to make it more effective and avoid being seen as a mere talking shop, I want to recommend that devolved units adopt some kind of peer review mechanism and a system of performance evaluation and reporting. The National Government has enthusiastically embraced peer review mechanism and has been recognized in Africa for that.
It is the turn of our counties to come up with a similar framework for independent assessment. I am talking of a structured journey for peer learning, capacity building, ensuring that we emulate success stories and correcting one another to improve the lives of our people.
I am not talking of a program for punishing people one for identifying strong and positive programmes and processes, sharing them and rectifying our individual weaknesses.
It should be open and participatory and should include all stakeholders, including civil society organisations, women, youth, trade unions and the private sector.
In this regard, I am particularly encouraged by the multi-agency efforts to implement the County Peer Review Mechanism (CPRM) with the aim of entrenching African Peer Review Mechanism governance principles in our Counties.
I encourage county governments to cooperate with the NEPAD Secretariat in Nairobi which is enthusiastic about walking with them on this journey.
At a time our country is reeling from numerous reports of monumental corruption scandals and outright criminality on the part of some, every effort to stamp out the vice of corruption, including opportunities for peer review should be embraced by all.
And I am happy that majority of Kenyans have embraced the war against corruption. That war is currently blind to tribe, race, religion, gender or status in society. We must all support it.

As Counties rightly clamour for a bigger share of the shareable revenue, let this be accompanied by a demonstrable enthusiasm for voluntary submission to peer reviews for the overall benefit of the citizenry.
There is also the question of intra-governmental and inter-governmental relationships as envisaged in the Constitution.

We need clearer modalities for embracing, promoting and institutionalizing the principles of cooperation, collaboration, consultation, coordination, consensus and concurrence between these two governments.
In particular, we need clearer framework for money following functions in a more structured and predictable manner.
We need a clearer framework for involvement county governments in the realization of the Big Four agenda of housing, agriculture, manufacturing and healthcare. There is a cordial atmosphere for a sober discussion on these matters now.
Further, we need clearer framework for partnerships in addressing our troubled fiscal situation with particular focus on revenue collection in the counties. Improved revenue collection in our counties is important not only for counties, but the national economy as well.
In the spirit of intergovernmental relations, the National Government needs to provide counties with practical and effective experiences for boosting revenue generation and collection in addition to other measures that would strengthen fiscal policy of counties and their ability to finance development plans. In a nutshell, a little bit of thinking outside the box is necessary and inevitable if we are to improve on the structure, quality and content of devolved governance. I thank you.

REMARKS OF RT. HON. RAILA ODINGA, PARTY LEADER, AT ODM NATIONAL GOVERNING COUNCIL; NAIROBI; MARCH 1, 2019:

REMARKS OF RT. HON. RAILA ODINGA, PARTY LEADER, AT ODM NATIONAL GOVERNING COUNCIL; NAIROBI; MARCH 1, 2019:

Ladies and Gentlemen;
We last met as an organ at about the same time a year ago.
The circumstances then were fundamentally different from today. The country was torn down the middle.
There was anger and fury across the land.
We were furious and spoiling for a fight as a party.
From the flames of this time a year ago, a much more peaceful nation has emerged, thanks to our ability to look at the bigger picture and the willingness of our opponents to engage.
Our issues as a party and problems as a nation are not gone despite the calm that has returned to the land.
But we have an environment to soberly identify and seek solutions to those problems.
I wish to thank you and all our supporters for supporting for Building Bridges to a New Kenyan Nation initiative.
I am aware that many of you had concerns about the circumstances under which the initiative came to be.
But as we have gone out to explain, you have come out to embrace the move as a necessary product of the circumstances and one that is good for our country and our party.
For purposes of helping you take the message to the grassroots, I will highlight key contents of the BBI and why they matter.
I believe we are in agreement that the biggest challenge facing our country today is how to create one united nation out of our diversities.
Creating one nation out of Kenya has been the dream of this party since its inception more than a decade ago. It has always been the dream of our founding fathers.
We are also agreed on the need to create a more positive culture in our country, built around national ethos that are currently lacking.
We are currently defined by mega corruption and violence, a tag that works against us in favour of our neighbours.
We also all agree that there are Kenyans who feel completely left out in the affairs of their nation; Kenyans who don’t feel they are Kenyans because they are ignored and marginalized in their own land.
We are also in agreement that Devolution has done wonders for our country but it needs to be strengthened so that it can offer more benefits to more people than it has so far.
And we are agreed that we need to fix our elections so that elections cease being a threat to our stability, economy and lives every five years.
Corruption in particular is eating our country from inside out and we are agreed that we must devise new, radical and more ruthless measures to deal with the corrupt or we sink as a nation.
These, in brief, are the issues of the Building Bridges to the New Kenyan Nation initiative that we entered into at around this time last year and that has changed the tone of our politics across the nation. I thank you once again for supporting this initiative despite earlier misgivings and doubts. And I want to appeal to you to do more. As you are aware, the BBI team is currently going around the country collecting views on all the nine issues identified in the MOU.
I encourage you to familiarize yourselves with the issues and go out and give your views on how to deal with the issues.
The BBI team has covered 19 counties. I urge you to sensitize our people to engage.
I am aware that there are other issues that this meeting is expected to address with regard to party affiliation and loyalty.
I wish to remind our members and supporters that despite the handshake and the building bridges initiative, party loyalty remains both critical and valuable.
Even as we reach out and encourage our members to do so and build bridges with one time adversaries, we must draw the line between building bridges and undermining our party in the name of the handshake.
We are not using the handshake for conspiracies against our party and to shield criminal enterprises.
Our goal must always be to fashion a party that is clear in its goals and united in purpose, strategy and resolve.
We are focused on a fundamental recovery of the soul and architecture of the Kenyan nation. We remain unchanged in our resolve as a party to create a free, fair, equitable, just and democratic nation in Kenya.
To this end, let us put aside our selfish inclinations and begin to work for the party and Kenyans, not for ourselves.
To be in a good position to realize our dreams for our country, we must ORGANIZE and STRENGTHEN the party at the grassroots. In many places today, there is confusion about who our officials are and about the issues and our stand on them in the ear of building bridges. The party must move with speed and address these.
Finally, I want this party to stand firmly against corruption and the corrupt.
Our party must sensitize our people across the country to reject, name and shame those involved in this crime against the people.
We are witnessing a level of corruption never seen before in our country.
It is a web that has all the makings of a criminal enterprise working from within the State itself.
We must reject attempts by this enterprise to turn the war against them into an affair of their communities and we must reject attempts by these criminals to target, criminalize and stigmatize investigative agencies. We must take lead in making life difficult for purveyors of corruption.
Thank you.