Raila Odinga

Author: Raila Odinga secretariat


This morning, the Government of Kenya confirmed our country’s first case of the coronavirus.
The confirmation and the systematic disclosure of information indicate the existence of a clear plan by the Government to provide our citizens and visitors to our country with timely and accurate information on the evolving situation.
We are pleased with the whole- of- government approach to handling the threat and protecting the health of Kenyans. We further appreciate that the government is leveraging all of our resources to respond to the threat.
As a country, we are in this together and we appeal to our citizens not to panic but instead cooperate with the Government which has factual and science based advice on how we must proceed.
A raft of measures has been announced by the Government, including the suspension of inter- school events, prison visits, church crusades and all other public gatherings.
These measures will definitely cause disruptions across our country. But we must adhere to them as the best scientific advices that we can rely on to overcome the danger. I urge all relevant ministries to continue to provide, as soon as they have it, as much clear scientific and medical information as is possible so that our people can be guided by science and not rumors that will cause unnecessary panic.
As we embark on these steps; let us keep reminding ourselves to do the basic things that will make all the difference. In particular, let’s observe basic hygiene. Let’s remember to wash our hands and avoid shaking hands.



It’s a great pleasure to be among so many real colleagues. Many times, many people forget that I am no longer in Parliament.
Many times you hear Raila is doing or not doing this or that and you may be tempted to believe I am something other than a former MP and leader of my party ODM. The fact is, I am a former Member of Parliament and you are the real and true colleagues.
Being a parliamentarian has its advantages. It puts you at the Centre of action. You are able to shape the country through laws. You are able to say “I am an elected representative of my people.” Of course there is a salary and other allowances attached to all these.
But being former parliamentarian as we are here is not that bad either. It enables us to observe developments, the comings and goings in our country dispassionately and a little more objectively. Sometimes it enables us look back at positions we took before in the context of what we have now and come to a different conclusion about what we did or what should be done now.
I want to believe that this forum is inspired by that spirit of wanting to share what we know from the experiences of being at the Centre of the action and outside. I am glad that as leaders, you have declared governance as your area of interest. And I am not shy to refer to you as leaders. At its best; leadership is not about positions we hold.
The sixth President of the U.S. John Quincy Adams said: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” I believe you are leaders despite being out of Parliament and I will share my thoughts with you with that recognition in mind.
Our country remains a nation on the move, one that refuses to settle. Change or the struggle for change is and has always been the only constants in our country. And that struggle for change is as old as this nation. That spirit of always fighting for more and better for our people has separated our country from many in Africa.
I believe it has made us a better nation. Since 1991, we have been able to restore multiparty democracy, form a grand a coalition government, promulgate a new constitution, introduce Devolution, create affirmative action positions for women and other disadvantaged groups, among other changes, all in a bid to improve our governance.
Today, our country is in the middle of another bid for change. That bid is a product of the Handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and myself that gave birth to the Building Bridges Initiative. As you are aware, the BBI has identified nine thematic areas where action is required if we are to be a better-governed and stronger nation in the years and decades ahead.
None of the nine issues is more critical than the other. But the threat posed to our nation by some is urgent, disturbing and forever present. All of you here have been through electoral contests and you will agree with me that divisive elections present clear and present danger to the survival of our country.
You saw it in the run up to 1992 elections and after. You saw it in 1997. You saw it in 2007 and it was rearing its ugly head again in 2017.
The anger and danger caused by the reality and feeling of marginalization of regions, communities and age groups is real in our country. So is the danger of the ever-growing ethnic antagonism, lack of ethos, insecurity and, above all, corruption. We have identified corruption as an existential threat to our nation.
It is killing our economy, making our politics increasingly dirty and violent, compromising our security and confining citizens to unnecessary suffering because public resources are diverted to private accounts and enterprises.
Some of you were in Parliament in the era of Cabinet Ministers instead of Cabinet Secretaries and in the era when the office of the Leader of Official Opposition was fully functional with State funding. The BBI is recommending we revert to these as part of our traditions and as a way of strengthening governance.
As a country, we must reinvent the spirit of selfless service and not riches that was the original drive in the quest for public offices. As recently as 1992, getting rich was not the drive for getting into public office especially Parliament.
I recall that in 1992, when we collected Jaramogi’s allowance of about Ksh 4,000 and took it to him, he was surprised that people were being paid at all. He said he had thought being in Parliament was just a service they were rendering to the nation.
With a net pay of Ksh20, 737, Jaramogi and his colleagues were able to serve their constituents to their satisfaction. I remember that as recently as 2002 when I was minister for Energy, my net pay of Ksh70, 650 served me just fine.
I am not in any way trying to call for low pay for legislators. I am aware the cost of living has risen over the years and the value of our currency has gone down. But there is an important fact behind these past modest salaries. It is that public service was not meant to enrich people. Our pride as parliamentarians was the honour to serve our country.
That is currently deeply corrupted. It is the spirit we need to reinvent. It will help us reject the moneybags wrecking our country, our economy and our politics through the false generosity of purporting to be contributing to the public what has been stolen from them.
And we want to strengthen devolved systems and the accountability around them by ensuring more resources go to the counties and that those resources serve the intended purposes. Our country needs your guidance based on your experience in these matters.
Some of these problems we are confronting today have been with us for generations. In fact, some of us have accepted them as way of life. Theft of public resources is now called hustling.
Dividing people along ethnic lines is now called fighting for my people. The sacking of corrupt and incompetent individuals is now called targeting our people. Changing this pattern of events is not going to be easy. But it must and has to be done or we will have no nation to save.
I have said it before and I will say it again. Kenya must change course. It’s not a matter of if, but when. And it has to be this year. Change is coming through the BBI. We must join hands in this attempt to get our nation back on track. To achieve this, we will have to rise beyond merely being leaders and be great leaders.
Former US First Lady Rosalyn Carter told us: “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”
It is my wish that we rise and not just be leaders but great leaders.
Thank you.

Statement by H.E. Raila Odinga on the Death of President Daniel arap Moi:

Statement by H.E. Raila Odinga on the Death of President Daniel arap Moi:

Statement by H.E. Raila Odinga on the Death of President Daniel arap Moi:
Mama Ida and I mourn the passing of President Daniel arap Moi. We give thanks for his long life of service to this nation.
President Moi has had a chequered career and leaves behind a rich history, from representing the Rift Valley in the Legislative Council to MP for Baringo Central, Vice President and President.
I first met President Moi in 1958 when my father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga invited the first African elected members of the Legislative Council to our home in Bondo. I was a teenager and Moi, who represented the Rift Valley, was in the company of Masinde Muliro, Lawrence Oguda, Tom Mboya, Bernard Mate, James Muimi and Ronald Ngala. They operated under the auspices of African Elected Members Organisation, with Jaramogi as their chairman.
From that initial encounter, our paths and careers were later to cross in various capacities and roles.
Moi inherited a fairly polarised political landscape when he became President in 1978. He strived to hold the country together as he struggled to unite the people, often with mixed results.
The decision by his administration to make the country a single party state became a major point of disagreement in our politics that caused the clamour for the repeal of Section 2 (a).
To his credit, President Moi gave in to the clamour for change and allowed the country to return to multiparty politics. He was constantly able to ease pressure in the country through incremental reforms.
Moi and I reconciled after the political differences of the 1980s and early 90s and we were able to work together to bring more reforms to the country.
Our cooperation gave way to merger with his party KANU, which put the country firmly on the path to a new constitution by enabling the formation of the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission (CKRC).
In his retirement, again to his credit, President Moi carried and conducted himself with complete dignity befitting an elder statesman.
I am grateful for the time I spent with him. At this moment of mourning, our hearts and prayers are with the family and the entire Moi clan.



Hon. Raila Odinga this morning held a meeting with the Most Rev. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury who is visiting the country. The meeting was also attended by the Head of the Anglican Church in Kenya Bishop Jackson ole Sapit who was accompanied by other senior ACK clergy.
The leaders discussed the political environment in the country, with particular focus on the Building Bridges Initiative and the working relationship between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr. Odinga.
The Archbishop of Canterbury described the BBI report as “a remarkable document that can be used to “change the ethos and culture of the country.”
The top Anglican leaders described the “handshake” between President Kenyatta and Mr. Odinga, which gave birth to the BBI as “real statesmanship” with a “powerful transformational force.”
“A year before the 2017 elections, I had told the President that this country would be much better the day he and Mr. Odinga step back and agree to work together. It was the wish of the Anglican Church that the two work together. As a Church, we thank God that our prayers were answered and we remain convinced that posterity will remember the two positively,” bishop Sapit said.
Mr. Odinga briefed the church leaders on the journey to the working relationship with the president, the setting up of the BBI team and the on-going steps to involve more people in the preparation of the final document.
They discussed how to work with the church to help provide public education on the report in a non-partisan, non-political way.
Archbishop Welby noted that the bulk of the BBI report focuses on addressing socio-economic inequality as the source of the tensions and anger experienced in the country and appealed to Kenyans not to lose focus of those.
“There has been some focus on positions being created but we see that as part of the wider effort to create opportunity for more communities to come to the negotiating table and deal with imbalances,” the Archbishop said.
He asked the country’s leadership to establish ways that will enable the church to take up the role of highlighting the good things in the document.
He praised the country for embarking on the harder but more reliable way of uniting a country which is to create its identity.
“The BBI takes this positive route. The country should feel proud of what it has achieved,” Mr. Welby said.
He was due to meet other leaders on different matters.
JANUARY 21, 2020.



Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you for honouring our invitation on short notice.
Let me begin by wishing everyone a happy New Year 2020 and a prosperous new decade for Africa.
We are here to breath fresh life into a vision unveiled in March 2012 when the Prime Minister of The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Late Meles Zenawi, The President of The Republic of South Sudan, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit and The Former President of The Republic of Kenya, H.E. Mwai Kibaki, recognised the importance of interconnectivity between the three countries to the rest of the Continent. As Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya then, I was honoured to be part of that vision and at the event at which our three countries inaugurated the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia (LAPSSET) Transport Corridor to provide seamless connectivity, enhance trade facilitation and logistics within the region and beyond.

Today, I invited you to convene in my capacity as the AU-High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa to appreciate the distance we have travelled and to re-evaluate, refocus and re-energise that vision of 2012 and give new impetus to the implementation of the LAPSSET Corridor.

We agreed back in 2012, and we agree today that realising the East-West Trans-Continental Beltway – connecting Lamu Port to Douala/Kribi (Cameroon) seaports via Juba and Bangui is critical to connecting our region to the rest of Africa and the world for easier movement of goods and services.

On the surface, our task is simple. It is to consider the Report of the LAPSSET Technical Committee meeting and give some detailed thought to the fact that the LAPSSET Corridor implementation is a Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI) project under the African Union with transnational and transformational components.

In the end however, what we do here today will go along way in triggering off a chain of events that are expected to revitalize the LAPSSET Corridor program and solidify a shared approach to the implementation of the LAPSSET Corridor Program.

It our expectation that at the end of our deliberations here, we will establish a representative Steering Committee as an umbrella body to coordinate the implementation of the corridor. We are also expected to come up with a roadmap towards the establishment of the Umbrella body.

This meeting is also expected to come up with a program for the review of the progress with regard to the establishment of an institutional framework/mechanism and establishment of the umbrella body.
On paper, and in this room, these may look like simple tasks of little significance in the grand scheme of things.

In the grand reality though, the meeting here is the stuff of history; it is the stuff of those events that triggers chain reactions that change the destiny of nations and regions.
Our nations will not be the same again when LAPSSET takes off fully as a regional and multinational enterprise.
I returned from China just the other day. They have a saying there that “if you want to get rich, you must first build roads.” This approach was a central pillar of Chinese economic advancement during the past four decades.
It is taking roots in Africa in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area formulated in 2018.

What we append our signatures to here today will mark the start of this region’s contribution to Africa’s dream for better cross-border land transport that provides links between inland centres and the ocean ports, and services cross-border trade among countries and regions located far from the ocean ports.
It will provided the much needed route for specialized time-sensitive high-value products get a faster means of reaching distant markets.

Historically, Africa has had connectivity and traded with itself before even when the mode of movement was rudimentary and torturous. The lack of integration that followed is a product of post colonisation and post independence politics and not some inheritance from history.
That is why to reconnect, political goodwill and participation is critical and that is why the region’s political leadership is represented here.
It is my hope that from this meeting, we will come up with realistic recommendations, firm commitments to realising them and clear time frames for implementation.
I wish you fruitful deliberations


We enter 2020 with much work to be done.
It is my hope that we will jointly build on the foundation laid in 2019, which built on the choices we made in 2018, so that we continue building bridges among our people to secure lasting unity and a greater sense of nationhood.

I look forward to a renewed commitment to fighting corruption and it’s unrelenting networks in the country, ending marginalization of communities and regions and restructuring our foundations of governance, including strengthening of devolved units.

I equally look forward to sharing ideas on, and supporting all efforts to address poverty, marginalization and unemployment of the youth and rising cost of living.
Unity for common good will be critical if we are to create a nation in which right is right and wrong is wrong. So far, unity has worked with the war on corruption.

By and large, Kenyans have agreed that individuals should carry their own crosses of graft. I thank our people for this and encourage them to carry this spirit into 2020 and beyond if we are to make corruption a costly and useless venture.

Beyond our borders, I look forward to continued engagement in continental affairs with regard to ensuring greater intra- Africa connectivity and trade through infrastructure.
I look forward to working with everyone in pursuit of these goals.

Working together, we can make this New Year better than the old. A hopeful New Year to all Kenyans.
DECEMBER 31, 2019.




Members of Parliament; Governors, MCAs and members of the National Executive Committee.

We are coming to the end of an eventful and successful year for our party and the country.
I therefore want to begin by thanking all of you for the continued commitment to the party and to the country, which enabled us to register some of the gains we have made this year.
With your support and that of members of other parties who believe in the unity and stability of our nation, we successfully defended a seat we had to win, in Kibra.
Along with our partners in the pursuit of a better country, we successfully shepherded and saw the delivery of the report of the Building Bridges Initiative whose core task is to build on the gains of the dying decade and take us to new heights as we enter the second decade of the 21st Century.

Our main task here today is to put our leadership on the same page on the BBI and have you relay the same to our supporters across the country as we return to the people for Christmas and New Year celebrations.

From the outset, I wish to reiterate my firm belief that the BBI is good for our country. It is our second chance to do a makeover. I thank the international community; including the African Union, the US Government, the EU and the UK for the support they have given to the Initiative and for sharing our belief that it is a chance for a New Beginning for Kenya.

I wish to assure everyone that we mean well for our country and for the community of nations that value peace and stability across the globe. I hope we will continue walking and working together on these goals.

Kenya is on the threshold of a new beginning to realize the goals that have eluded us over the years. Some of these goals were captured in the Constitution we unveiled in 2010. We have had time now to see what is working, what needs to be tweaked and what needs to be overhauled. That is the journey we embarked on with the BBI and it is set to continue into next year.

We have not pursued the BBI dream at the expense of the dreams of our party. Our goals as a party and as a country are consistent with those of the BBI.

We recognise that parties and leaders exist to pursue the good of the nation.

Nations begin to die when parties and leaders begin to imagine that they are greater than the nation and that their personal and partisan ambitions should override the national goals.
No party or leader can be greater than the nation. Our nations do not owe us anything. Instead, we owe a debt to our nations.

As a party, it is in our DNA to take a stand on critical issues of the day. ODM never stands or sits on the fence. We never sway with the wind from this side to that when the interests of the nation are at stake.

That is what we have done with the Handshake and the BBI. We have taken a stand based on very clear understanding of what is to be achieved.

We have been able to merge our interests as a party with the broader interests of the nation and supported the BBI.

We are in this to redesign the architecture of our nation.

We are in this to figure out what makes us a nation and distinguishes us from other nations.

The BBI gives us a chance to come up with a Kenyan economic model to secure full employment for citizens especially the youth, protect Human Rights to counter systemic violations; end marginalization of regions and communities by taking more resources to the grassroots while holding leaders accountable for those resources and increasing cohesion in Kenya.

Nobody should have a quarrel with these goals. And these goals surely cannot pose a threat to anybody’s political ambitions.

The initial BBI report that we unveiled over two weeks ago has Kenyans asking that we have to mend our ways or we sink as a country.

Kenyans expressed concern that even as we seek to live together as one people, we lack common ideals and aspirations and the national bonds we have are based on ethnicity and locality. We cannot create a nation until we identify goals that we pursue together and work towards a future that demands our collective sacrifice.

Kenyans spoke clearly that our political and economic systems have failed, that we are running out of time and we have to change direction if we are to avoid a catastrophic future.

The youth in particular spoke strongly that they feel excluded in the affairs of our nation and Kenya seems to have no place for them.
The report tells us that there is deep mistrust for leaders, institutions, and systems. The country is suffering from a trust deficit and there is disrespect for the law at all levels. This disrespect is particularly evident with public officers.

Now these are fundamental misgivings being expressed by our citizens and they are not the only ones. We cannot wish away these concerns.

The BBI enabled Kenyans to voice these concerns that clearly threaten our nation. The same BBI gives us a chance to address these concerns.

From here one, what we should be debating is what to adopt, what to amend and what to discard out of the BBI proposals.

From here therefore, we will task ourselves to sensitise our people about the journey so far, the report itself and the likely scenarios in the days and months ahead.

We will need to be honest with our people and ourselves and stop misleading Kenyans about the contents and intentions of the report.
It is my appeal to all Kenyans to prepare to engage the BBI team that will be going around the country explaining the document with a view to having all shades of opinion captured. It will provide a chance to perfect further what we have.

We should treat this as a chance for the nation to talk to itself about its future. It is not and must not be a shouting or a mudslinging match.

Let us do something with the second chance the BBI has accorded us and not waste it in the pursuit of politics as usual.

Let’s take this Second Chance as an opportunity to throw off a legacy of corruption; tribalism, divisions, dysfunctional institutions and mistrust that have held us back for over 50 years.

It is my hope that as we retreat to our villages for the festivities of Christmas and New Year, we will get more sober, more honest and more concerned about the country and seek to mend our ways and birth a new nation.

I wish you and all Kenyans fruitful and sober deliberations, a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2020.


In the negotiations for the Constitution that we promulgated in 2010, Kenyans in the diaspora put a convincing case for our country to allow dual citizenship. Among other reasons, they demonstrated that they were unable to progress beyond certain grades in employment in foreign countries unless they become citizens of those countries. Until 2010, they could not take citizenship of those foreign countries unless they renounced Kenyan citizenship, which many were not prepared to do.
From the cries of our sons and daughters abroad, we, as a country, agreed to allow dual citizenship, seeing clear advantages that would come with it.
On the development front, the figures bear our diaspora out. Data from the World Bank data indicates that Kenyans living abroad sent home more money last year than the rest of the East Africa Diaspora combined, partly an indication of the changing earnings for our citizens abroad. Kenya’s Diaspora remittances in 2018 stood at Sh280 billion, way more than the Sh242 billion sent to the rest of Eastern Africa — Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Ethiopia.
Furthermore, remittances from Kenyans in the diaspora currently constitute the country’s single largest source of foreign currency, ahead of major crops and tourism. The Central Bank of Kenya reported that in the 12 months to June 2019, the remittance inflows rose to an all-time high, amounting to Sh285.4 billion from Sh251.4 billion last year, representing a 13.6-per cent growth.
It is against this background that I find the treatment of Ms. Mwende Mwinzi by our Parliament extremely disturbing and dubious. The whole debate around whether she qualifies to be Kenya’s ambassador has cast her as a criminal and reduced her to being less Kenyan than the Members of Parliament while the spirit of letter of the law should protect her. Opposition to Mwende’s appointment amounts to killing the spirit and necessity of dual citizenship trough which Kenyans sought equal rights abroad and at home to enable them contribute to the development of our nation.
But it is not just about the remittances. Mwende Mwinzi was born in the US. That made her an American citizen. But she was born of a Kenyan father and that made her eligible to claim Kenyan citizenship, which she did when her father migrated to Kenya with the family. She thus ended up with being a citizen of two countries. However, she cannot denounce any because both have been acquired not by application and naturalization but by operation of the law. She cannot undo her birth in the USA; neither can she undo her sire by her father or his Kenyan citizenship.
The Constitution protects her from jeopardy by making a proviso for people like her that the bar from holding a State Office by people of dual citizenship will not apply where they cannot renounce it because it is obtained by operation of the law.
Furthermore, under the constitution today, anyone borne of a Kenyan parent is automatically a Kenyan citizen regardless whether they are born in Kenya or not. Under the current constitution she is a citizen of Kenya by birth even if she was born in America.
Article 14 of our Constitution stipulates that:
1) A person is a citizen by birth if on the day of the person’s birth, whether or not the person is born in Kenya, either the mother or father of the person is a citizen.
(2) Clause (1) applies equally to a person born before the effective date, whether or not the person was born in Kenya, if either the mother or father of the person is or was a citizen.
Other than petty vendetta and a refusal by our Parliament to rise above partisan interests and act in the interest of the nation, there is no reason whatsoever for MPs to maintain Ms. Mwende Mwinzi cannot be our ambassador abroad. I appeal to our MPs to always stand up for the nation. Both the law and the interest of the nation allow Ms. Mwende Mwinzi to represent our country abroad.
October 5, 2019.

Remarks of Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga, EGH, High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa, African Union, during the Institute of Directors of Kenya; 3rd Annual Corporate Governance Conference.

Remarks of Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga, EGH, High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa, African Union, during the Institute of Directors of Kenya; 3rd Annual Corporate Governance Conference.

Let me begin by expressing my gratitude to the Institute of Directors of Kenya for the invitation to talk its members at this interesting time for our country and Africa.

Here in Kenya, we are enjoying a rare period of peace and stability and one that we should all make good use of as corporate sectors.

Across the world, there is agreement that Africa is the next investment and growth frontier. It is with the realization that Africa too is doing more to promote trade with itself and to attract more investment by focusing on infrastructure of transportation, energy and internet connectivity.

That is why in March last year, we created the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, which commits countries to remove tariffs on 90 per cent of goods, progressively liberalizes trade in services and addresses a host of other non-tariff barriers. That is a huge step given that intra-Africa trade level stands at just around 20 per cent, while Europe and Asia are at 69 per cent and 59 per cent, respectively.

This meeting therefore provides us with a timely opportunity to identify and discuss issues that affect our corporate sector as a country and develop appropriate ideas and solutions. Our ultimate goal is to enhance corporate governance that will enable businesses here improve their performance and in turn create jobs for our young people and contribute to our economy.

But it goes well beyond jobs and the economy. A strong and thriving corporate sector can be a valuable ambassador for our country in ways no diplomatic representation ever can. That is what global firms like Samsung, Toyota, Sony, Apple, Microsoft, among others, have done for their countries. Corporations have also become proven tools for mobilizing resources for national development especially in the era Private Public Partnerships.

Our ultimate goal must be to have homemade equivalents of these global corporations. It is therefore in our best interest as a nation to ensure a strong and thriving corporate sector.
Kenya remains a vibrant business hub and a regional financial centre. But we have tremendous space for growth by addressing certain basics, like creating a level playing field for all businesses, ensuring a clean and efficient government, creating a prolonged low and simple tax regime and ensuring the rule of law.

For companies to be successful, competitive and sustainable, we need a high standard of governance both in public and private sectors.
We need enhanced corporate transparency from businesses that helps investors to easily analyze the risk profiles and investment potential of companies, monitor their progress and performance, and take action when they believe that directors are not acting in the interests of the companies.

Helping businesses set up here is however just one small portion of a much bigger and complex picture. As we make it easy for corporations to set up shop, we must also attend to related issues like modernizing the corporate winding-up regime; including clear protections for creditors.

If we are going to be a strong and credible corporate destination, we must also work on clear corporate rescue procedures.

We need to come up with ways of ensuring that companies with long-term business prospects facing short-term financial difficulties are rescued. That works in the interests of creditors, shareholders and employees.

As we pursue trade and investment across regions, we must come up with how best ways to resolve cross-border corporate issues.
It requires that we strengthen our front-line regulators, in this case the Nairobi Securities Exchange and empower it to promote the corporate governance of listed companies. The regulator must have capacity for risk management and ensuring disclosure and the accountability of directors. In keeping with global trends, the regulator must incorporate the environmental and social disclosure requirements regardless of their place of incorporation.

It is also important for companies to ensure open and transparent engagement with shareholders to promote consensus-building, pre-empt aggressive shareholder activism and enhance corporate governance.

To reap the benefits of envisaged intra-Africa trade, we need to work together as governments and private sector to ensure win-win outcomes out of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.

Seeking a win-win is important given that the agreement brings on board a diverse membership of least-developed, landlocked, small-island, and lower- and upper-middle level countries, as well as countries in conflict.

In the end, the answer to unlocking Kenya’s and Africa’s growth potential is not what they do in Beijing, Washington, DC, London or Paris. It is what we do here in Kenya and in Africa as business and political leaders.

Realizing these goals therefore requires that we build a new coalition in this country.
We require a new and strong coalition between the government, the corporate world, civil society and the faith-based communities to tackle the corruption and impunity that is holding our political and corporate sectors hostage.

We need a coalition that helps us realize a new nation guided by principles of dignity, prosperity and security of citizens as opposed to individual needs.

We need a strong collaboration for our country to achieve changes in our system of governance that will make us realize national rebirth and end the ethnic antagonism and divisive political competition that have become our way of life.

Not everyone agrees, but anyone with the interest of Kenya and that of future generation at heart cannot deny that Kenya has gone full circle with its divisions and that over the years, we have been witnesses to unity and hope being followed by discord and division between our independence and our last election. Nobody can deny that over the years, relationships between our ethnic groups and political formations have deteriorated and it seems to be getting worse with every general election.

No one can deny that from the high pedestal of unity that characterised our struggle for independence, we have increasingly and progressively sunk lower, and relationships between our communities and political formations have become that of aggression and antagonism. We cannot deny that for some time now, our country has been defined by corruption and violence and this is taking deeper roots locally and abroad and all these things affect businesses negatively.

We cannot grow and we cannot build a responsible corporate culture when people have to pay a bribe to start a business or get a tax compliance clearance.

It is my hope that we can work together and realize these high ideals that will ensure a sound environment for business to thrive. We need a strong and new coalition to stop our country from suffering same tribulations that we have lived with since 1963. It is good for the country. It is good for business.
Thank you.



I want to begin with some broad observations on what I see as the overall philosophy behind this book.
One is that the story of today’s strong and prosperous nations is that of starting over again, changing course and seeking rebirth.
Secondly, debate is a good and necessary culture and tradition that every nation that hopes to move forward needs to cultivate.
Nations move forward by constantly debating, challenging old assumptions, refusing to settle and always testing new frontiers and new possibilities.
Thirdly, we must discard fear and fear mongering as a way of dealing with our problems; what President Franklin Roosevelt called “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
Nations need to constantly negotiate with citizens and even with themselves on how to move forward and be the best among others.
President J.F Kennedy summarized this mindset in his words; “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”
I believe this is the guiding philosophy behind this book.
In a country where politics is driven on the basis of attack, counter attack and more attack, it takes real commitment for a county governor to reflect on critical national issues and put them in a book.
We have to congratulate prof for this rare achievement that is not wholly unexpected.
We have had this tradition of leaders putting their thoughts into books to invite debate. Tom J. Mboya, Julius Nyerere, Kwame Nkurumah, Leopold Senghor, Jomo Kenyatta, Oginga Odinga all promoted the culture of debate on critical national issues through writing.
This pattern of debate, starting over and seeking rebirth is the story of the USA. It is the story of modern Europe.
As we all know, after the brutal civil war, the USA sought a rebirth that culminated in the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution.
The amendments outlawed slavery, made the newly freed slaves American citizens, granted them the right to vote, redefined the relationship between individuals and the State, and, for the first time, guaranteed the basic equality of all people, no matter their skin color, station in life or citizenship.
In Europe, after numerous ethnic and civil wars that ended up in two world wars, leaders went all out to make certain that there would not be a third war.
They agreed Europe must be reorganized in some sort of federation or union that could blunt the national jealousies and assuage the economic hungers that had been the precursors of both wars.
This book and this gathering falls in this great tradition of debate and rebirth.
At critical moments in our history, our citizens have got together and debated their future to find a way out.
Am glad that in this room there are men and women who have lived by these broad beliefs and can testify about their necessity.
Looking at the challenges the nation is going through, debating and reasoning are going to be critical.
Through this book, we are being invited to discuss soberly, honestly and candidly some of challenges we face as a country.
There is agreement that for far too long, our country has run on the Politics of Brinkmanship, which now needs to end.
And so some of our leaders and citizens are asking; is their need for amendments to the Constitution of Kenya? If yes, do we go Parliamentary or remain Presidential?
Should we introduce proportional representation as the electoral system or do we retain the current first-past-the-post simple majority procedure.
How do we strengthen and enhance the devolution system or are we satisfied with the system as it is today.
As Prof. Michael Chege writes in the Forward, our violent electoral conflicts every five years are ever about the presidential poll, and seldom or ever about elective positions further down the political hierarchy.
It is also established that electoral violence is more frequent under presidential regimes than parliamentary regimes.
People lose contests for parliamentary or county seats but it never degenerates into widespread violence or any at all. That is good enough reason for the country to relook the National Executive and fix the causes of passionate struggle to win it.
A Parliamentary system is viewed as a better way to raise the majority threshold in a country where tribes view each other with suspicion in the contest for power.
Parliamentary system is generally suitable for plural societies; that is societies in which the political landscape is composed of diverse cultural, religious, ethnic, racial and regional interests, and that is what Kenya is.
But it is not just about the Executive. We are also struggling with how to ensure national cohesion, provision of sound leadership and creating institutions that can stand up for the nation even under the greatest of pressures.
In a nutshell, we have the challenge of how to re-strategize as a country and start over for the future as many successful nations have done.
In our country today, we have strived to create this forum for reasoned debate through the Building Bridges to a New Kenyan Nation.
That team is tackling nine key areas including Ethnic antagonism and competition, lack of national ethos, inclusivity, devolution, divisive elections, safety and security and corruption.
All these critical question that require genuine debate.
They require structured debate without fear.
Unfortunately, such efforts like this by governor Nyongo and the BBI are being hindered by the culture of hatred for debate and preference for fear and fear-mongering.
Debate is the tested way to ensure politics of reason overcomes the politics of fear, whose result often is hatred and division, which, unfortunately, is getting mainstreamed in this country.
And debate is the way to create a well-informed citizenry.
As former US Vice President writes in The Assault on Reason, “If leaders exploit public fears to herd people in directions they might not otherwise choose, then fear itself can quickly become a self-perpetuating and freewheeling force that drains national will and weakens national character, diverting attention from real threats deserving of healthy and appropriate fear and sowing confusion about the essential choices that every nation must constantly make about the future.”
As a country, let us not threaten our citizens against debating their future.
We must guard against fear-mongering and embrace any effort that encourages debate about our current state and our future.
This book is one such effort, as is the BBI.