Raila Odinga

Author: Raila Odinga secretariat

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA, EGH, AT ALMA PHASE ONE LAUNCH. KIAMBU COUNTY,

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA, EGH, AT ALMA PHASE ONE LAUNCH. KIAMBU COUNTY,

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA, EGH, AT ALMA PHASE ONE LAUNCH.
KIAMBU COUNTY,
JULY 18, 2019
Ladies and gentlemen;

It has always been our dream to provide affordable and adequate housing to our citizens.
That dream has fared differently under different regimes. But it has never died.
Despite several efforts to address it, housing remains a huge challenge, particularly in our urban centres.
It is estimated that the country’s urban centres face a shortage of 200,000 housing unit annually.
On average, we are only able to construct 50,000 new housing units every year against the demand of 200,000 units.
The hardest hit are the youth, students who are coming out of colleges and middle-income earners.
This is the category of our citizens who are struggling to settle down as they start new jobs or look for jobs and as they struggle to start families and push our country forward.

While Nairobi’s housing demand falls short by close to 150,000 units annually, the city receives at least 500,000 people from rural homes to the city annually in search of employment opportunities.
We are certainly in a crisis when it comes to housing.
We therefore should not be surprised that slums are sprouting everywhere and rents are forever going up.
Because of supply are inadequate, urban residents spend approximately 34 per cent of their income on rental charges.
That eats into the capacity of the most significant age group to save and invest in our economy. When nearly half of your salary goes into paying rent, you will hardly invest in business, farming, education or anything else.
The houses are both unavailable and unaffordable.
As at last year, the average price of a 1 to 3-bedroom unit stood at Ksh14m.
At the same time, a 4 to 6 bedroom property stood at Ksh42m. Houses with prices of Ksh. 3 million and below remain in acute shortage or simply don’t exist while high end houses are in over supply.
House are unavailable and unaffordable partly due to the high cost of construction.
Developers incur additional infrastructure cost when constructing houses because much of the land is unserviced and land is extremely expensive.
The average land and infrastructure cost in Kenya makes up 10 to 35 per cent of the total cost of construction.
This is happening at a time mortgages are unaffordable and inaccessible. We need to address these urgently and comprehensively.
As things stand, the prevailing scenario is a recipe for the economy to stagnate.
Against this background, it is encouraging that the government has identified housing as one of its Big Four Agenda.

The national government’s plans to construct about 500,000 affordable houses to bridge the housing gap by 2022, if realised, would be a long overdue milestone for our country.
We may differ on how the dream of providing decent and adequate housing can be financed and realised. But we cannot debate the need for new public housing units in our urban centres.

To fully realise our dream of housing every Kenyan especially in urban areas, we need to internalise the fact that housing is a basic human need.
Having internalised that, we will then need to accept that when the provision of housing is left purely to market forces, segments of our population will not be adequately housed.
The government will therefore need to intervene in the market to ensure that our people can have decent housing.
Our approach and vision has been, and remains that we need to build subsidised public housing for citizens with household incomes below a designated threshold. That model has worked successfully in places like Singapore.

Today, 86 per cent of the Singapore population live in public housing. Nine out of ten public housing dwellers own their flats. That is something we can do in Kenya if we commit to it.
There is real gain in having citizens own homes, especially in multi-ethnic, multiracial and multi-cultural urban centres.
Home-ownership enhances a citizen’s commitment to his country, and contributes to political and social stability. Community living in a public housing area enhances unity and a sense common purpose among citizens.
As we seek to build new houses, we must also develop and implement an aggressive Estate Renewal Strategy to revamp the old estates.
But the government cannot achieve this ambitious dream alone.
To accelerate the development and access to affordable and adequate housing, we need to be open for public private partnership.
I wish to encourage the Government to embrace the private sector as partners in the provision of affordable housing.

The completion of Phase 1 of Alma is an example of what we can achieve if we are working together as government and private sector.

The government must actively support the sector by creating the right environment for mortgage lenders and housing developers.

Such support can come in the form of improving access to land, providing basic infrastructure, and improving the efficiency of mortgage registration and title transfers.
We must address the affordability gap in the housing market by ensuring that we create adequate institutions to fund mortgages.
We need to pursue policies that can encourage SACCOs to help bridge the gap in the housing finance market.
It is my hope that this example set here can be embraced and replicated elsewhere across our towns.
I wish you well as you pursue this dream that is in line with our overall goals as a nation with regard to housing our people.
Thank You.

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA; EGH, HIGH REPRESENTATITIVE FOR INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMEMT OF THE AFRICAN UNION, AT POWERING JOBS CONFERENCE

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA; EGH, HIGH REPRESENTATITIVE FOR INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMEMT OF THE AFRICAN UNION, AT POWERING JOBS CONFERENCE

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA; EGH, HIGH REPRESENTATITIVE FOR INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMEMT OF THE AFRICAN UNION, AT POWERING JOBS CONFERENCE;
JULY 18, 2019;
There is no denying that Energy is the sector on which Kenya and Africa can depend in the years ahead to spur economic development, attract investment and create jobs for young people.
That is why I am happy to join you this morning to hear your thoughts, which I believe are based on solid research on the trends and dynamics in this critical sector.
Our overall aim, I believe, is how to ensure affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for our economies in order to spur jobs. I am therefore deeply impressed by the subject of this meeting which is “Powering Jobs.”
Ladies and Gentlemen;
The question of youth and jobs is critical. And so is the question of education, research and training.
Demographers are constantly reminding us that the population of our continent is set to double to about two billion people in the coming decades and that majority of this population will be youth aged 18 and below.
To turn this age group into an opportunity and not a curse for our continent, we will need to create millions of jobs for them every year.
But we also know that good jobs go where there is the right infrastructure mix of energy, transportation and internet connectivity. Business owners don’t go where power is unreliable and unaffordable. Businesses set up shop where there’s high-speed railway and high-speed internet and all these require tremendous amounts of energy.
Africa has made some progress towards ensuring affordable, sustainable and reliable energy. But I also know that our best efforts have not been good enough both here in Kenya and elsewhere across Africa.
Our market for decentralized renewables in Kenya is reputed to be the fastest moving in Africa. Some 30 per cent of Kenyan households use solar lighting and the country is home to a pioneering green mini-grids program, thousands of bio digesters and 3,000MW of micro-hydro systems.

However, there is still ample room to grow—the country requires an increase in power output of 5 per cent per annum just to keep pace with current demand, let alone to meet the Government’s ambitious goal of 100 percent electrification by 2020.
As we lag in these areas, the energy landscape is undergoing significant shifts with regard to production, management and consumption. Globally, the share of renewables in the overall energy mix is increasing.
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), global renewable capacity reached 2,179 Gigawatt (GW) in 2017. This represents a 167 GW or 8.3% year on year growth over 2016.
Kenya, and Africa for that matter, must not be left behind in this energy shift.
Yet all indications are that we are falling behind.
As we speak, in Sub -Saharan Africa, 600 million people are still without electricity and only 16,000 people work in the renewable energy sector. Innovation in decentralized energy is going to be essential for the sector to meet expectations. We still lack a clear capacity building roadmap on Energy Investment and financing that will facilitate more investments in in the sector.
We have a challenge to enhance our energy resilience and ensure that we are never dependent on any single source of supply. We are all aware that harnessing renewables is not easy.
But with greater international cooperation, we can achieve it.
Africa should have no problem exploiting and deploying renewable energy.
We have enormous hydro and geothermal energy potential.
As the Continent’s infrastructure ambassador, I have taken up the challenge of convincing the Continent and the international community to have a dedicated focus on the Inga Dam in the DRC, which has long been identified to have the capacity to power the entire Continent if its 110 MW capacity is fully developed.
Inga is not a new story. What is new is why it has failed to take off over the last 50 years.
We have a realization that over 70 percent of Grand Inga’s projected power consumption market is outside of the DRC. Inga therefore cannot be a DRC project as we have approached it for more than five decades. As many potential off-take countries as possible must take interest in Inga. Inga must be a pan-African project.
But we do not need to develop the Inga Hydro potential at the expenses of other sources. We need diverse energy mix. We have massive land to deploy solar panels and exploit wind potential. We have not fully exploited our capacity for solar and wind.
To unlock the potential of renewables to meet our energy objectives, we must continue to invest steadily in Research and Development. We need to better integrate renewables into the grid and manage energy demand and supply intelligently, to ensure a reliable energy supply to consumers.
We must work to attract many more industry partners and researchers to come to Kenya and Africa to partner with our companies and governments and work with our people to develop new ideas on energy.
All of these ideas and innovations can only succeed if we have a pool of manpower equipped with the necessary skillsets and know-how to implement them on the ground.

Therefore, it is important that we clearly articulate the skill sets, and progression opportunities to our existing and potential energy professionals. In particular, we need partnerships that develop the skills framework for Energy and Power and which ensure that our workforce can continuously stay relevant and competitive.
Am aware that few of you know my work in renewables which began in the formation of my foundation, The Green Outreach Foundation Africa, which is a renewable energy and environmental conservation initiative focusing on the development and reform of renewable energy sources in Kenya.
In my capacity as Chairman of this organization I have faced the issue of the skills gap on the continent. In many rural areas in this country and across Africa, the high unemployment is linked to the mismatch between available work and available skills. There is work but no skills.
Closing this gap with skills and jobs training is critical especially with regard to renewable energy sector. We cannot achieve energy for all without a labor force to support it.
We need to build an army of creative, empowered and educated entrepreneurs to power our energy sector. The global community and national governments must develop awareness, interest and support for the distributed renewable energy sector, along with technical and vocational education and training (TVET), to create the workforce to close this critical gap.
We must invest in a new army of energy workforce including engineers and technicians, utility staff, finance and banking professionals, manufacturers and entrepreneurs who will remove barriers hindering “last mile” delivery of electricity and faster adoption of distributed power. This mobilization will also kick start job creation in energy-poor countries.
I therefore welcome you with an appeal that we work together to rebuild an economy powered by education, research, hard work and which creates good jobs for all through reliable and affordable energy for all.
Thank you very much.

REMARKS OF RT. HON RAILA ODINGA, EGH FORMER PRIME MINISTER AND AU HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA DURING THE KENYA NATIONAL TRADE WEEK

REMARKS OF RT. HON RAILA ODINGA, EGH FORMER PRIME MINISTER AND AU HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA DURING THE KENYA NATIONAL TRADE WEEK

REMARKS OF RT. HON RAILA ODINGA, EGH FORMER PRIME MINISTER AND AU HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA DURING THE KENYA NATIONAL TRADE WEEK AND 21ST COMESA SUMMIT ON 25TH JULY, 2019:
Your Excellency, Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya.
Honorable Ministers,
Distinguish Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
As a country, we subscribe, fully, to the idea that what we need, and what Africa needs, is more trade instead of aid.
We further subscribe fully to the idea that the biggest markets for our goods and services are often right next door; in Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC before we turn our eyes across the oceans.
That is why I have been happy to see Kenya become among the first countries to deposit instruments of ratification for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).
It is the reason we were happy to see the government come up strongly against statements that implied we could be having problems with our neighbours doing business here in Nairobi.
With that, we signaled to the rest of the AU member states that Kenya stands for the integration of this Continent and that there is no better way to do it than through trade.
This country was founded on thinking big and looking beyond our borders to achieve greater prosperity.
Kenya was founded on the premise that our progress is tied to the progress of the rest of our brothers and sisters across the Continent.
We must not renege on that hallowed foundation.
What we need as a country to prosper in the emerging regional and continental trade and business regime are reliable and predictable policies and laws, greater connectivity, creativity and productivity.
We will prosper by building bridges and ties with neighbours, not walls and creating blockades.
As a country, we have made important reforms to attract investment. We need to constantly probe our systems, make improvements and make it easier to start and do business here.
We need to constantly probe our regional economic communities and ensure we modernize our customs and border crossings to global standards with a view to promoting intra-Africa trade.
I am happy the ministry of trade and relevant government and regional agencies are working to this end.
As a country, we must position ourselves as the hub and the champion of the continental trade initiative in the region.
To achieve this, we must enhance our capacity for value addition and export.
That means upping our game with regard to manufacturing.
We must also address the cross-cutting issues identified.
In particular, we must invest in infrastructure of Energy, Roads, Railways, Airways and Internet Connectivity.
Meaningful trade, especially inter-country, cannot happen without the appropriate infrastructure.
And we must invest in political stability without which all these other investments count for nothing.
Finally, we must conquer that all time enemy of progress: the cancer of corruption that is stealing the billions. These are billions we borrow or raise from taxes to create jobs and build hospitals and schools and which some people divert into own pockets.
Foreigners will not help us end corruption. We will have to stand up ourselves against people who trade in corruption and ask them to please give our country a chance to grow.
We will do by standing with the government when it acts on corruption instead of feeling sorry for the corrupt thief.
Am glad this country is taking the lead in all these areas; building political stability locally, championing trade, investing in manufacturing and declaring war on corruption. We must stay the course.
Thank you.

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA; EGH AT THE 50 ANNIVERSARY OF TOM MBOYA: JULY 5, 2019:

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA; EGH AT THE 50 ANNIVERSARY OF TOM MBOYA: JULY 5, 2019:

I am pleased to join you in celebrating the short but highly eventful life of Thomas Joseph Mboya.
Some have called him the man Kenya wanted to forget. I am not convinced that is the case.
A few individuals may have wanted Mboya out; but Kenya certainly had and still has time for him.
Mboya’s life, like his death, changed Kenya remarkably.
On his death, the multi-ethnic alliance he meticulously cobbled and championed evaporated, tribal tensions rose, peace collapsed; patronage and favouritism took over and the once upbeat and forward looking Kenya took a gloomy turn that we are yet to fully overcome.
We are still caught up in the things Mboya caused to happen and that changed the day he died.
His sessional Paper Number 10 of 1969 continues to generate as much debate as it did the day it was published.
How great or otherwise the Sessional Paper was remains the subject of intense debate, which is healthy.
Healthy nations vigorously review and debate their past as well as their future. Kenya must be no exception.
Two things stick out in Mboya’s life and career that should be of interest to the current generation.
One; it is not how long we live that counts for our nations and our people. It is what we do with the years, short or long, that we live.
Mboya lived for only 39 years. But he was able to pack an amazing array of heavy responsibilities and achievements into that short life.
Into those 39 years, he packed being a freedom fighter, Pan-Africanist, a Trade Unionist, a party leader, Kanu Secretary General, a Cabinet Minister and, more importantly, one of the founding fathers of the Kenyan nation.
Secondly, it is not where we begin in life but the path we choose to travel and the things and values we choose to stand for that matter.
With focus, discipline, honesty and patriotism, we can pick ourselves up and build our nations.
Mboya was the son of a sisal cutter. For long he lived in a two-roomed house in Ziwani Estate in the Eastlands.
He was never an overnight millionaire. We know he borrowed money from a bank to build his first house in Convent Drive.
But at no time did he consider himself a hustler. And he never wore his humble beginnings as some badge of honour, a bargaining chip, a promissory note that Kenyans had to honour or a road map to power and excuse to amass riches.
Through honesty and hard work, Mboya built himself and his country up, to the level that his name remains synonymous with Kenya.

Mboya’s life therefore remains an exemplification of what his friend J.F. Kennedy later immortalized in the words; “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”
Mboya did not believe that Kenya owed him because of what he had been through both in his private and public lives. Instead, he believed he owed Kenya and sought to pay his debt to the nation.
He believed he had a responsibility to contribute in some way to the good of his country and that of humanity. He believed in making a difference.
He had the ability to gaze into the horizon and internalize what his people and his country would need in the years ahead.
As Mboya fought for Kenya’s liberation from stubborn colonialists, he knew that the wazungu would certainly leave at some stage and there would be a gap that would need young Kenyans to fill for the nation to continue running.
Mboya knew Kenya and all African nations fighting for liberation needed to prepare the future workforce while the colonialists were still around.
That was certainly the reason and vision behind the student airlifts of the 1960s. He wanted Africans to study abroad then come back to manage their newly independent states.
That was also an indication of his belief in sound education and proper training as keys to sound management of the affairs of the state, not patronage, tribalism and favouritism.
Throughout his public career, he chose to see Kenyans as Kenyans and not representatives of tribes. When he had opportunities, he dished them out to the best qualified and the most deserving regardless of ethnicity.
Mboya’s life therefore exemplifies the Kenya that was and the Kenya that might have been.
In his book Freedom and After, he writes of “how harmful to Kenya was the man who saw only good in his own people and only evil in those of the other tribes.” Unbelievably, that is where we began as a country. We began as a nation that was blind to tribe and ethnicity and keen on ability and policies.
And Kenyans loved that kind of ideal and rewarded it. That is why Mboya was able to win the Nairobi Constituency parliamentary elections in 1957 and 1961 despite the fact that Nairobi was cosmopolitan.
So our fall from being a united, tribeless nation driven by merit and ability has been dramatic indeed.
It may well be the second fall of man, after the first fall as narrated in the Bible.
What we are today is not what we were or what we intended to be in the beginning.
But it is not doom and gloom and all is not lost.
Kenya still has men, women and young people who remain keen on the vision and mission of the founding fathers who included Mboya and they are keen to help our country retrace its steps.

It is also encouraging that as a nation, we have collectively taken notice of our fallen state and we are taking steps, however minimal or contested, to get back to that original vision.
On this 50th anniversary of Tom Mboya, we all need to rededicate ourselves to the vision of one indivisible nation driven by selflessness, honesty and hard work; a nation that works to safeguard the future of all its citizens.
We have outlined what is missing, using Tom Mboya life as a yardstick.
If Kenya is to survive the next 50 years, it will have to be reborn and the rebirth will have to entail a radical recommitment to our original high principles and ideals.
As author and businessman Hilary Hinton “Zig” Ziglar said. “It’s not where you start or even what happens to you along the way that’s important. What is important is that you persevere and never give up on yourself.” Kenya can’t give up on itself.
Nations that lived to achieve greatness are those that noted they had deviated, retraced their steps and started over again.
The rebirth of Kenya is therefore not optional.
It is a requirement. It is a must do. And we are on it. On this anniversary, my prayer is that we all get on board.
God Bless Kenya.

PRESS STATEMENT BY H.E RAILA ODINGA: WE RISK LOSING TEA TO CORRUPTION AND MISMANAGEMENT:

PRESS STATEMENT BY H.E RAILA ODINGA: WE RISK LOSING TEA TO CORRUPTION AND MISMANAGEMENT:

JUNE 26, 2019:

A storm has been brewing in the tea sector for some time now.
That storm may take a worse turn next week when the contract between tea farmers and the Kenya Tea Development Authority, KTDA, comes to an end this Sunday.
I am informed that the tribulations of small-scale tea farmers, which has severely strained their relations with KTDA, is a touchy, life and death matter that nobody wants to touch. I am told it is taboo subject in media houses too.
But, as a country, we are staring at a crisis that we have to confront.
In recent couple of months, we have been treated to dramatic scenes and media reports of tea farmers uprooting their crops or promising to do so because the crop no longer pays.
Kenyans were recently treated to a spectacle of a Nyeri man uprooting his tea bushes in Chinga Ward while complaining about hard economic times.
Similar incidents have taken place in other parts of central Kenya including Muranga, Kiambu, Kisii, parts of the Rift Valley and former Western province.
Small-scale tea farmers in Kakamega and Vihiga counties are reported to be shifting their focus to alternative sources of income despite the huge potential for the cash crop. Growers, who own tiny parcels of land usually ranging between an acre to five, are uprooting their tea to create room for other food crops. Some are turning to dairy farming, poultry and horticulture.
We have been here before. This is how the collapse of coffee started.
Small-scale tea farmers in the mentioned regions are frustrated with the management of the sector.
The greatest challenge being faced by the small tea growers is that the prices they get for green leaf is never sufficient even to meet the cost of production. The financial security of the farmers is threatened and farmers are plunging into chronic indebtedness. The story is the same across the country.
In order to understand the magnitude and dimensions of the problems, I have in recent days held consultations with representatives of small-scale farmers and directors from various parts of the country. The last of such consultations took place just this morning here in my office.
What is coming out clearly is that we risk losing this top foreign exchange earner that has long been associated with our country if we don’t take urgent and drastic action.
The people or the body to do it are the top leadership of the KTDA.
Yet the sweeping feeling among farmers is that KTDA has lost touch with the farmers and their interests and have now put the country on the path to losing the crop.
It is the usual tale of conflict of interest, lack of transparency, impunity that includes disobeying court orders, corruption and wrong attitude that has killed many sectors before now getting entrenched in KTDA.
We need to urgently address the price gap between auction and retail; which is currently so large. There is no fairness when tea is auctioned at Ksh60 per kg and the farmer is paid Ksh18 for the same.
The price gap has given rise to briefcase buyers, which is an indication that the system is broken. These buyers approach the farmers directly because they know the farmers are broke and have lost faith in the auction system.
It has also given rise to hawking of tea. Hawking of tea is illegal. It gives farmers low prices for the green leaf. It makes the farmer forgo the bonuses since they do not sell to KTDA. We lose at least 100 million kilogrammes of green leaf to hawking each year. But farmers resort to hawking because of frustrations and financial vulnerability.
It is a manifestation of something fundamentally wrong at KTDA and its payment to farmers.
Besides resorting to hawking, farmers are permanently resorting to some form of borrowing from unscrupulous moneylenders and shylocks to make ends meet. In the end, they are permanently in debt.
The payment system must be reviewed urgently and fundamentally to benefit the grower.
We must urgently address the marketing of Kenyan tea.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation in 2015 found that KTDA is weak in marketing and leadership; with cartels running the show and controlling the marketing activities.
FAO recommended the formation of an independent KTDA Marketing Agency to more effectively market Kenyan tea and position it world wide.
There is urgent need for the Ministry of Agriculture to institute immediate measures and transform KTDA to enable that body serve the farmers.
Unfortunately, there is a feeling among farmers that the current Board cannot transform the agency. Some members have served on that board since the year 2000 through manipulation of processes.
There is need for a Forensic audit on financial management of KTDA, its group of companies and all 67 KTDA managed tea factories. Currently, KTDA is not supervised or regulated like banks, insurances or cooperatives. This must be addressed.
Parliament needs to come up with legislation to end the KTDA monopoly. There is need to open up this sector to competition especially in small-scale subsector.
The Ministry of Agriculture must embark on deliberate steps to remove cartels from this crop through greater transparency in the selling of tea and payment of farmers.
Our Judiciary also needs to play its role and stand with the farmers to save the sector. It can and should expedite litigation involving farmers and it must ensure its rulings are respected and enforced.
Our increasingly effective Directorate of Criminal Investigations needs to take interest in the woes of the farmers. DCI and other relevant agencies need to investigate the goings on at the KTDA and safeguard the interests of the farmers and the nation. There is certainly something wrong.
In a nutshell, we will not sit back and watch as tea goes the way of coffee and sugarcane. Farmers are complaining of an array of malpractices, including misappropriation of funds. They want a thorough investigation and audit of the parent body KTDA and culprits be held accountable.
We must not lose tea to impunity and corruption.
H.E RAILA ODINGA, EGH
JUNE 26TH, 2019.

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT Our Shared Humanity’ – The Legacy of Kofi Annan CONFERENCE; 3–4th June 2019, Chatham House, London:

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT Our Shared Humanity’ – The Legacy of Kofi Annan CONFERENCE; 3–4th June 2019, Chatham House, London:

That Kofi Annan was different things to different people came out clearly in the tributes upon his passing: to President Nana Akufo-Addo he was a cosmopolitan, consensus builder, proud African and a peacemaker.
To UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres Annan was “a guiding force for good” who combined compassion, commitment and diplomatic skill to bring the UN closer to the people. To former President John Kufuor Annan was a man whose comportment and temperament set new standards for public officials and international office holders.
Kufuor spoke of Annan’s “tough love” for African leaders especially those he felt were failing the people.
Time magazine once described Annan as “a brass band of hope, ideas and energy.”
Annan is widely respected for the peace he helped broker in Kenya and there is reasonable expectation that I will dwell on that.
But Kenya was simply an extension of his wider belief that the world should NOT spectate when conflicts are consuming civilians in some part of the universe and when the State has taken sides in such conflicts.
Annan’s legacy stands out in three areas:
1: International Intervention in conflict as contained in his doctrine of Responsibility to Protect.
2: Social and Economic well being especially of citizens of poor nations. We see that in his approach to issues of poverty in general and HIV/Aids in particular.
3: Diplomacy in global affairs. Annan believed most of the world’s conflicts could be prevented or stopped without bombs and guns.
The end of Cold War came with deadly conflicts in places like Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, East Timor and Bosnia to mention but a few.
It came with warlords like Radovan Karadzic, Ratko Mladić and Slobodan Milosevic. This is the world Annan inherited.
One of Annan’s greatest contributions to global agenda was to refine a policy mandating states to step in wherever and whenever human lives are threatened by hate, disease or poverty.
He advocated an end to the old notion that states can do as they please behind their borders because of sovereignty.
The idea that Sovereignty is Not a Shield was a critical part of Annan’s legacy to the world.
We must always remember that Annan had come to office against the background of Rwanda genocide where the world had stood aside as armed militia butchered thousands of civilians in that country.
He seemed to be permanently balancing the madness and goodness of humanity. Annan approached global problems from the position that just as there is limitless capacity for evil in human beings, there is also some potential for goodness in everyone, if only we listened to each other enough.
As the world geared for invasion of Iraq in 1998, Annan made it clear that he was going to negotiate with Saddam Hussein.
He later had the courage to report that he had “a good human rapport” with Saddam to the bewilderment of those who saw the options as either arms inspectors or bombs. Perhaps the world should have approached Iraq differently.
In Kenya, we had the fortune to taste Anna’s diplomacy first hand for at least two months in 2008.
Annan’s intervention gave way to the most comprehensive review of our laws and governance structure ever undertaken in our country.
Annan strived to make leaders and nations, especially the rich and powerful, understand that they have a responsibility that goes past their own borders and citizens; that they cannot afford to be inward looking in an interconnected world.
Nowhere is this legacy of responsibility of the rich and the powerful to the poor and powerless more visible than in the battle against HIV/ AIDS.
Annan took over the UN at a time HIV/ AIDS was killing more in Africa than all the wars that had been fought on the Continent.
In 1997, some 23.3 million people were living with HIV/AIDS, there were 3.2 million new HIV infections and access to life-saving treatment was only available to a privileged few and nobody seemed to care.
Annan pushed world leaders and pharmaceutical companies to tackle HIV/AIDS. In 2000, the Security Council adopted a resolution identifying AIDS as a threat to global security.
In 2001, the General Assembly held a Special Session on HIV/AIDS. That was the first-ever meeting of world leaders on a health issue at the UN.
In 2000, the world was investing less than US$ 1 billion in AIDS. Annan pushed for a war chest of at least US$ 7–10 billion for AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria leading to the Global Fund.
Post-UN, Annan continued to work on things he believed were critical to ensuring human dignity and abolishing poverty’s. He pursued a vision of agricultural revolution in Africa through AGRA.
Regrettably, the post Annan world has seen the erosion of these gains. Inward looking regimes are emerging, divisions between the rich and poor nations are growing in areas like democratization, trade and immigration.
Conflicts rage in many places that cry for honest peacemakers, and budget cuts loom for some of the social and health programs including HIV and Aids and women’s health. Drums of war are sounding now more than at any other time in the post-Cold War era.
We need to study Annan ever more closely. To honour Annan, the world must care about the things he cared about.

FROM LESSONS TO ACTION: BUILDING 21ST CENTURY INFRASTRUCTURE FOR PROSPEROUS AFRICA:

FROM LESSONS TO ACTION: BUILDING 21ST CENTURY INFRASTRUCTURE FOR PROSPEROUS AFRICA:

REMARKS OF H.E RAILA ODINGA; EGH, HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT; NAIROBI; 16TH APRIL 2019:

Let me begin by extending a very warm welcome to all our guests.
Thank you for finding time for this important meeting.
We gather at a time of a renewed realization by Africa that we have to take charge of our destiny as a Continent. That, after all, is what other continents are doing.
Now, more than ever, there is a strong realisation that the fortunes of this Continent do not lie with sympathy and help from abroad, important as those are.

I want to thank the political leadership that is spearheading this push to have Africa look more into what it can do better for itself before turning abroad for help.
Distinguished guests;
We are here to discuss a solemn subject; infrastructure financing.
In the journey of a country’s or a continent’s progress towards prosperity, infrastructure plays a decisive role.
When the US unveiled the Inter-State Highways at the end of the First World War, navigation of the vast continent became easier.
The once daunting rugged terrain got ironed out, cities emerged, shopping malls spouted, restaurants evolved to serve a continent of drivers. Tourism thrived, with chain hotels popping up along interstates and to serve an influx of travellers. The highways turbo charged the economy.
Before the Interstate Highways, the western world had invested heavily in railways.
The US built the first Trans-continental railway across North America in the 1860s; linking the eastern part of the country to the Pacific Coast.
By 1850, western nations had 40,000 kilometres of railways while Africa, Asia and Latin America combined had only 4000 kilometres. One could say that investment in infrastructure is where regions and continents parted ways with regard to development.
This is where we in Africa began to fall behind while others surged ahead.
Distinguished guests,
It is Africa’s turn to take up infrastructure challenge.
We must address it with the fierce agency of now.
We know the challenge. We know what it will take to address the challenge. The infrastructure programme that will turn around the Continent’s fortunes by addressing road, rail, airways, waterways, high-speed broadband connectivity and energy needs are well mapped out.
In fact some, like the Great North Road, and hydropower potential in the DRC, were marked long before the continent became free from colonialism.
But they are yet to be realised.

I wish to congratulate the African Union Commission and NEPAD for the meticulous work in recent years that has seen the Continent map out the Trans Africa highways, the missing links, the high speed rail and the air transport and energy needs and their implementation status.
From that work, we know what we need.
We need a “new frontier” transcontinental corridor – connecting the eastern and western-central Africa and deep-sea ports of Lamu and Douala in Cameroon.

We need a Continental High Speed Freight Railway. This is another important “change-agent” that will have tremendous impact for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

We need to complete the Trans-Sahara Highway, the Dakar- Ndjamena-Djibouti road and rail, the Kinshasha-Brazaville Bridge, the North-South corridor involving South Africa, Zimbabwe, DRC, Namibia, Botswana, Angola and Lesotho.
We need to complete the International Logistics Infrastructure Hub involving Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, DRC and Botswana and we need to complete the Lagos-Abidjan-Dakar highway, to mention but a few.
We have to introduce robust maritime services linking eastern Africa to the North via Lake Victoria through River Nile to the Mediterranean Sea.
Distinguished guests,
We need money and political will.
We need to devise effective and efficient plans to mobilize the requisite resources to fund the identified projects; otherwise the projects will remain mere wish lists.
And that is the reason we are here; to think deeply and creatively about fundraising and project implementation.
We want to act, not as individual nations but as Africa.
As we have seen, there is something for everyone in the continental infrastructure agenda. Lack of viable infrastructure has been one of the key barriers to the long-term development of our economies; making it impossible for Africa’s wealth of natural resources to translate into wealth for our citizens. A strong African infrastructure development agenda will boost member states’ productivity and economic competitiveness.

It will create jobs for millions of youths across Africa and it will ensure business thrives. It did for Europe, North America and Asia. It can’t fail Africa.
We simply can’t compete and thrive in the 21st century with 19th century infrastructure.
It is estimated that our annual infrastructure gap – that is the difference between what we have and what we need – stands at around $170 billion.
Very few African governments have sufficient finances to fund infrastructure investment themselves.
Majority of our nations are forced to rely on either loans from wealthy countries or on private companies willing to take the risk.
There are real concerns over whether African countries can repay the loans they are taking.
We are gathered here to figure out not just how to raise money but also how to ensure the monies come on friendly terms and the infrastructure we get are in line with local needs.

We appreciate the efforts by various global players to help address Africa’s infrastructure challenge. We take note that the G-8 Summit established the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA) to promote public and private investment in infrastructure.
We equally recognise the AfDB’s Africa50 Infrastructure Fund launched in 2013 to mobilize resources and support the development of key projects.

The Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) was started in 2002 to develop commercially viable projects and provide long-term finance to private sector infrastructure projects is equally a commendable effort as is the Power Africa initiative by the US to mobilize investment and reform and enhance access to electricity.

Equally important is the World Bank’s Global Infrastructure Fund (GIF), which was created as a platform for identifying, preparing, and financing large complex infrastructure projects.
All these programs highlight the shared concern for the infrastructure deficit in Africa and we appreciate them and we will continue working with these programmes.
But we need to do two things.
One, we need to identify more local sources for infrastructure financing.

Two, we need to get together as a Continent and approach all these global financing institutions and lending nations as a Continent and not as individual countries. That, in my view, will give us better bargaining power, better value for money and better ability to repay.
There is growing consensus that by thinking creatively and differently, we can tap into a number of local finances that are currently largely idle; to finance our infrastructure needs on more friendly terms.

Before we look abroad, we need to look at our Central Banks, African Pension Funds, Insurance companies and local Sovereign Funds.

We believe that countries like Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Kenya, Angola, Morocco, Egypt and Nigeria have pension funds that can be tapped into to fund infrastructure.
We need to address the governance and regulatory obstacles that limit the allocation of these funds for infrastructure development. We also need to explore ways to partner with our commercial banks so that we can tap into their reserves to finance infrastructure.
All these could come under an Africa Continental Infrastructure Fund under the auspices of AU to pool financial resources. I believe the creation of such a fund would be strategically and symbolically valuable.
I want to believe that we all agree that there is reason for us to get down to work, that some of the people to do this work are in this room and that we are all willing to apply our minds and resources and roll up our sleeves for Africa.
I wish you fruitful deliberations.

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.

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT THE PAN-AFRICAN TRADE UNION CONFERENCE; HILTON HOTEL, NAIROBI, 27TH FEBRUARY 2019:

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT THE PAN-AFRICAN TRADE UNION CONFERENCE; HILTON HOTEL, NAIROBI, 27TH FEBRUARY 2019:

It is a pleasure to be at this great conference.
It comes at a critical moment in our country with regard to our economy, politics and our grand vision of the future.
The situation is more or less the same for Africa and the entire globe. It is a time of significant changes in Africa and across the world and a period of uncertainty, especially for workers, job seekers, leaders and employers all at once.
Whether they are talking of the Wall and tariffs in the US, Migration laws in Europe or Brexit in the UK, the common denominator is the future of work and the future of workers.
It is the same story when we in Africa talk of Vision 2063, of greater connectivity via infrastructure, Single African Air Transport Market, the African Continental Free Trade Area, it is about the future of work and workers, of trade and traders and traders and their investments.
Across the world, and in Africa in particular, we are struggling with how to ensure full employment for our people, how to provide quality education for our children, security and equality of opportunity for all citizens, regardless of their race, their origin, or tribe.
Wherever we have come from for this meeting, I believe that one of the most pressing issues we face in our countries is work; how to provide well-paying and sustainable jobs for our people especially our youth.
And jobs are not about welfare of individuals. Jobs affirm the soundness of the economy. Availability of jobs ensures security, dignity and better pay for workers.
This means job creation should be a concern to the worker, the employer, the management and, most important, to the trade unionist fighting for the welfare of workers.
As a country, we have always believed in strong and responsible Trade Union movement. Even at our lowest moments, we have always embraced the idea that workers need protection and so they need strong unions to protect and represent their interests.
We believe in trade unions that use their power to think not just about today’s pay and working conditions but also how to ensure we create a vibrant economy that creates more jobs for more jobless. We must admit that even as we champion interests of those already in employment, there are millions of our citizens who are out of work and are praying that we can create a good environment for more firms to set up here and take in more people.
In this regard, I hold the view that workers are better served when they, through their unions, build genuine trust and understanding with employers and when there is genuine trust between management and trade union officials, including shop stewards.
What this means is that management and unions need to stop regarding each other with suspicion. It means management, unions and employers need to stop viewing each other as adversaries and instead regard each other as partners in a joint venture.
I know this is easier said than done. I know many workers are making do with deplorable working conditions without even basic protections just because employers feel there is a glut of job seekers willing to take up work at the most miserable of conditions.
I also know there are employers struggling with near impossible demands of workers who feel they deserve better because of their level of education and service to society.
The answer lies in a collaborative approach that makes workers, employers and managers view each other as partners in a joint venture. This approach serves the interests of all.
It means pupils remain in school with their teachers, patients are attended to by their doctors, factories keep running while the workers, including teachers, doctors and all others get what is seen and agreed to a fair deal that also allows the employers the space to provide desired services, expand to absorb more people while also making some profit for those that need to do so.
The fact is that our countries have suffered too much and too long from employers, management and unions regarding each other with suspicion and as enemies. Unions and employers have behaved as adversaries rather than as partners in a joint venture.
We need to encourage greater participation and involvement of employees before management takes decisions. Employees need to know about proposed changes and the introduction of new measures that may affect their future. They need to know this in good time so they have a chance to express their views and weigh their options.
The input by workers experience may actually enable organisations and firms to foresee things, which had escaped the notice of management.
Where recognised trade unions exist, they must be allowed to use their machinery for negotiations and consultations with employers and ensure that their views are considered alongside others.
The right to participate should be available to all employees whether trade unionists or not. But this does not mean management and employers should not make decisions.
In the balance of power between workers and employers, none should hold the other at ransom. None should take advantage of the other.
All should be guided by the idea that partnership and co-operation are essential for economic recovery and economic recovery is vital for better working conditions.
Workers, unions and employers must therefore change attitude. Dismissing labourers and withholding of labour or strikes must therefore be tools of last resort.
The need for co-operation and dialogue needs to be inculcated at all levels of both government and private sector.
Governments should not have any difficulty in working with trade unions. And unions should have no problem negotiating with government in an environment devoid of victor and loser mind-sets.
The economic problems of the nation need to be mastered by both workers or their unions and employers alike.
In Kenya last year, the political class or rather a section of it set an example of what we can achieve when we give dialogue a chance. In about a week, we shall be marking the first anniversary of the March 9th handshake between president Uhuru Kenyatta and I.
I have had occasion to discuss the import of that event with a number of labour movement leaders including secretary general brother Francis Atwoli and I know they agree it was a turning point.
The labour movement in Kenya knows that the Kenyan workers were the main beneficiaries of the handshake as it calmed the heated political temperatures in the country and restored investor confidence.
The few months of uncertainty before and after elections had seen Kenya lose over 100,000 jobs.
A stable nation where leaders talk to each other guarantees a better economy hence job opportunities for workers. That should always be our goal; the welfare of the workers which translates into the welfare of the nation.
I am glad that this conference is dedicated to the education of the workers. This is an important area for possible collaboration between unions and governments. It is important for African governments to consider funding education programmes for workers because a better skilled and knowledgeable work force is more productive and better placed to engage on issues of industrial relations including strike actions.
In Kenya, the Labour movement has called on the government to consider supporting workers’ education through funding of Tom Mboya Labour College. I support this call.
I am aware that the government has previously supported the college by financing a resource center. But the second phase of that project stalled due to lack of funds. I will stand with the Labour movement in lobbying for support.
In the end, it boils down to how workers, employers and governments relate. This has impact on economy, which in turn has impact in the welfare of the workers. We must always have this in mind.
I believe the great majority of trade union leaders are reasonable people who know the economic conditions in their countries.
I believe employers too, including governments, know the difficult conditions their workers are struggling with. As you fight boldly for strong and free trade unions as you should, also engage sincerely and strongly with employers, including governments. A win-win approach must always be our goal as none succeeds without the other.
Thank you and God bless you.