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.