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FOPA ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE

FOPA ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE

Ladies and Gentlemen;
Thank you all for the invitation to this event and for this initiative that is a first in our country.
Since independence, the trend has been that those who lose their parliamentary seats sink into oblivion or wait for the next election.
Many times, they are content with conducting occasional harambees here and there to remain in circulation while seeing no role for themselves in the bigger issues facing the nation.
Today, you have decided that you will play a role in the life of our nation. I welcome this wholeheartedly.
It is particularly uplifting that you have chosen national unity and cohesion as the launch pad of your presence. As you are all aware, at independence in 1963, we adopted Harambee, meaning pulling together in one direction, as our motto, a call to action and a guiding spirit.
In the years that followed, we took unity for granted and as a given; until we got to the brink of collapse with the 2007-2008 post-election violence.
Since then, we became a country awakened to the dangers of disunity and the need to address our simmering problems. From the violence, we became a country awakened to the tensions and that had been building in our country and which we had swept under the carpet for generations. We decided to turn our grief and anger into a resolution of Never Again.
It became my wish, which I believe is the wish of every Kenyan including those of you gathered here, that no Kenyan should ever again lose his or her life because of politics. That wish may not have been realised as subsequent elections proved. But it remains my hope that we can progressively work together as a nation towards ensuring that elections do not become mini civil wars that stall the economy, lead to eviction of citizens from parts of the country and total closure of businesses.

As men and women who have won and lost elections before, you are well placed to preach to Kenyans the idea that elections must not be life and death affairs and zero sum games that must be won at all costs. You are in a good place to convince Kenyans that there is life after elections.
I believe that our diversity is a huge asset to our country – economically, culturally and socially. At election time however, this diversity has been exploited and turned into a weakness. The diversity gets turned into us verses them, our people versus other Kenyans. That is hardly a way to build a nation.
As people who have been there, seen that and done that, you are in a good position to help our country deal with the challenge of managing diversity. You have been to the ivory tower and tower of babel that our politics sometimes degenerates into and you are therefore in a good position to help our people celebrate and clearly articulate the benefits that diversity has brought to our country.
Some of you embody an era when Kenyans saw themselves as members of one Kenyan family. You are in a good position to invoke memories of that era and create the emotional unity of our citizens. Emotional unity is necessary for our national integration. You are in a good place to help our citizens consider themselves as one and are citizens of this country regardless of their personal, ethnic, regional, social and religious differences.
You are in a good position to make Kenyans understand that no class or community can make progress by ignoring the interest of the nation.
Finally, some of you no doubt served this nation with great distinction and honour. You are therefore in a good position to inculcate in Kenyans one idea that I wish to dwell a little on; the idea of public. I am not talking about Public Service Commission. I am talking about the spirit that drove our forefathers into fighting for and granting us this great nation.
Over the years, we have slowly but steadily lost the spirit of public service. The idea that public offices are held in trust and are meant for public good and not private gain has been lost over the years. As the spirit got lost, our citizens also gave upon the idea that they have a responsibility to make the country great by electing leaders who treasure honour, dignity and integrity.
I want to impress on this group to take it as one of its roles to impress on our citizens and government the idea that our progress as a nation depend on the efforts of selfless citizens and leaders who work to change our country for the better and not those who focus on private gain.
Slowly but steadily, citizens and leaders who dedicate themselves to ensuring that Kenya’s promise is for all its citizens are getting outnumbered by those who believe in each person for himself and God for us all. Former parliamentarians are in a good place to help our country rediscover this spirit that is getting lost.
I congratulate you for this initiative and wish you all the best.

PASSING OF DR. KOFI ANNAN:

PASSING OF DR. KOFI ANNAN:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RAILA ODINGA MEETS SOUTH SUDAN CIVIL SOCIETY REPRESENTATIVES:

RAILA ODINGA MEETS SOUTH SUDAN CIVIL SOCIETY REPRESENTATIVES:

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

H.E Raila Odinga on his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

H.E Raila Odinga on his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Today in New Delhi, Mama Ida and I were delighted to be hosted by the Honorable Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. Kenya and India have benefitted from each other for decades in many sectors and it is our hope that this visit will strengthen development for both our nations.

We spoke on increased Indian investment in Kenya both in Industry and particularly in the health sector but also touched on the Maritime agreement whose aim is to boost transportation, trade and activity in Lake Victoria to see Kenya trade better and more efficiently with its neighbours (via the lake) in East and Central Africa.

MEETING BETWEEN H.E RAILA ODINGA AND PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

MEETING BETWEEN H.E RAILA ODINGA AND PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

It’s always a great pleasure meeting with one of Kenya’s most famous sons, President Barack Obama. He spoke very passionately about his foundation and particularly the empowerment of the youth and I commend both him and his sister Auma Obama for the commendable job they have done in building the community in Kogelo.

Always a champion of democracy, President Obama threw his support behind the Building Bridges initiative and pledged his support in helping bring the country together and fighting corruption.

Finally we spoke about ending the stalemate in South Sudan and finding peace for our neighbours. I join the rest of the nation in saying welcome back home Barack!

H.E RAILA ODINGA WELCOMES JOMO SONO AND COSMO INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL ACADEMY TO KENYA

H.E RAILA ODINGA WELCOMES JOMO SONO AND COSMO INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL ACADEMY TO KENYA

JUNE 29, 2018:
At a time the entire Continent of Africa is struggling with the pain of being bundled out of the World Cup, I am glad to welcome Jomo Sono to Kenya. Jomo is a premier footballer, soccer administrator and football entrepreneur with some big plans for the game in Kenya.
I met Jomo in South Africa recently and I interested him in helping develop soccer in Kenya in addition to investing in other areas. He pledged to start soccer academies in the country in addition to starting a football club in Kenya.
It is in that capacity as potential investor in Kenya soccer and in our youth that I welcome him to the country.
Jomo has a talent in discovering and developing new football talent, especially from rural areas. Phil Masinga, Helman Mkhalele, Mark Fish of Bafana Bafana were some of his recruits who went ahead to do a great duty for their country in soccer.
The lack of money and professionalism, as well as poor youth development is hurting Africa’s soccer and we must address these urgently.
The world of football is a multi-billion business that requires a high level of professionalism. As a country and a Continent, we have a long way on the road to professionalism. We need improvement in nearly all departments.
We need to scale up student participation rate in football in school and make that participation as professional as possible.
In countries that have made impact even in the ongoing World Cup, most of boys in the ages of 7 and 12 play soccer in schools under what is very close to professional guidance.
We most likely don’t have data on soccer in our schools and where it takes place, it is largely a pedestrian affair. We need to change that.
We need our kids to play often and in a structured way. In Europe, the recommended period is 4.5 hours a week for 40 weeks. Today, there is no structure that even allows this in our schools.
Football now needs to be a co-curricular, not extra-curricular activity.
Centres of excellence must now go from being just empty talk. They must sprout everywhere.
Then the best of the young talents need a comprehensive development system which is currently lacking.
We need pitches, a pool of coaches, fitness and goalkeeper coaches.
We need to revisit the national service commitments of young players during the most crucial period of their development.
The weak coffers have prevented us from sending our teams overseas more often for top-level exposure. Our soccer managers must present us with solid plans for raising money for our game. We cannot afford to be bundled out at group stages next World Cup.

Tribute to Professor Douglas Odhiambo

Tribute to Professor Douglas Odhiambo

 

Prof Douglas Odhiambo who died last week belonged in the increasingly outnumbered lot of scholars who believe their role in society is to search for, generate and disseminate knowledge until they believe their last.

It is not a surprise that Prof was still studying as he was taken ill never to recover.

In his death, Kenya lost an exceptionally brilliant and serious academic who had much to brag about but chose a humble, behind the scenes life from where he argued for more support for and less interference with our public universities.

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT JOINT ODM NEC/ PG IN MOMBASA,

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT JOINT ODM NEC/ PG IN MOMBASA,

Ladies and gentlemen;
Once again, we meet at an interesting time both for our party and our country.
Some say these are confused and confusing times because of the “handshake” and the developments that have followed. I disagree.
There is no confusion in our politics and our country. What has happened is that our country and our politics have changed since the 9th of March.
Those who have refused to see and embrace the change and those resisting the change and trying to rewind the clock are the ones wallowing in or creating confusion.
They embrace the “handshake” in the morning and oppose it in the afternoon. They embrace the war on corruption today, and display its proceeds tomorrow.
They embrace national unity this week, and sow the seeds of discord the following week. ODM is not in that league.
From across the world, Africa and our country, the message I continue to get is that this is Kenya’s last second chance and that not many nations get second chances.
Kenyans know in their hearts that this time, the future must be different.
Kenyans know that they are preparing for a future in which they are not just going to be voting robots for parties and individuals but for their hopes and aspirations and their country.
The message ought to get to everyone that Kenyans are getting ready to take this country in a fundamentally new direction. I see this new group that is mobilizing for a new brand of politics and a different country becoming the new majority going forward.

As a party together with the NASA coalition, we must align accordingly. We remain committed to the vision and spirit of NASA coalition which we believe is as strong as it constituent parties. This meeting today is part of ODM’s determination to strengthen itself as our partners do the same.
For ODM, these are interesting and fulfilling times because all the issues we stand for are at play and the country is watching how we play our cards.
The most critical issues that have finally come to play are corruption and national unity. We have been at the forefront sounding the trumpet that corruption is eating our nation from inside out and corrupting our politics and our moral values.
Unfortunately, the corruption cartels used our very alarm bells to shield themselves from prosecution.

They used our alarm to politicize the war on corruption and to scare the government that we are agents of foreign masters out to bring down the President. They used our protests to build war chests out of public coffers ostensibly to fight a plot by ODM to bring down the government.
This year, we changed tact and assured the government that we are together in the war on corruption. We are no longer whistle blowers. We are one with the government in executing the war on corruption.
We remain in Opposition. But we have taken a principled position that what is good for Kenya is good for ODM.
The war on corruption is good for Kenya. We are in it fully. Lifestyle audit on leaders is good for Kenya. We are in it fully. Personally, I am ready for it. The vetting of procurement officers is good for Kenya. In fact, we pioneered it when we came to power in 2003 as NARC. We support it fully. And now, the corrupt are lost.
Today, we are asking the State to go a step further and enjoin external agencies and experts to boost local capacity in the war on corruption. The number of corruption cases are rising almost daily. The figures involved are mind-boggling. The suspects include the high and mighty. Soon, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations will come under severe challenges with regard to capacity and the rings ran by corruption cartels.

Since our inception as a party, we have advocated unity of the nation through equitable sharing of power and resources and a re-examination of our systems of governance, ethnic relations and the conduct of elections. These issues have been brought to the table and will soon be taken to Kenyans to debate and agree on.

As the handshake provides a lifeline to the long stifled war on corruption, ODM must do everything to enable its impact spread to the other areas stifling our nation and public life. If the handshake has enabled the war on corruption to take off, it must enable unity of our nation, end divisive elections and help us discover our national ethos. We need to agree on how.

There is a Kenya that has been and continues to be. That is the Kenya of corruption, tribalism, marginalization, nepotism, election violence and all the other evils that have defined our country over the past fifty five years.
And then there is a Kenya that is possible and which Kenyans sense is in the horizon since the 9th of March.

It is a Kenya that is united against corruption and that embraces and appreciates every citizen regardless of tribe, race, faith or gender and a Kenya where people live by certain moral values that they are not willing to sacrifice on the altar of politics, power and money.

Kenyans want our politics to take a new dimension and be more purposeful and people-centred. Kenyans are tired of the politics of more of the same that yields hate, tension, division, pain and even death every five years. Kenyans are yearning for politics that heals not one that hurts.
Kenyans are tired of politics that thrives on corruption and that gives way to more corruption and impoverishes the nation every five years.
That is the message that has come through in response to our 9-point agenda signed on March 9th.
In the past couple of weeks, you have seen me meeting Kenyans from diverse backgrounds including former enemies who fought it out in the streets and slums of Nairobi.
They all have the same plea: Help us build a country because we have none.
Help us reimagine our politics because what we have right now is toxic and dangerous.
Stand together as Opposition and government and slay the dragon of corruption because soon we will have very little for ourselves and nothing for our children.
Give us a country with morals and values otherwise we are failing as a nation.

Only last week, Father Joachim Gitonga, a member of the Kikuyu Council of Elders who attended a rally in Muranga as a young man in 1959 and listened to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga rally central Kenya behind the struggle for Uhuru and the release of Jomo Kenyatta asked me, how do we get back to that kind of politics and that kind of country?
How do we get back to electing leaders who are honest, sincere, committed and who put the country first? I am today putting Father Gitonga’s question to you.
As a party, we have never been shy to imagine and explore new horizons.
We must not be shy to leave the old Kenya and its old ways to those stuck in it and walk side by side with other Kenyans to the new Kenya that they yearn for and which they have seen is possible.
We must lead Kenyans in retracing our steps and returning the country to the brand of politics that puts country first.
We must refuse to be distracted by succession politics and concentrate on building a brand new nation within this window of opportunity before it closes.
Are you worried that some people have started campaigning in earnest? Worry not. A transition is underway in Kenya as the handshake bears tangible results in war on corruption and unity of communities.
Everything is going to change. In the process, we will change the factors that voters take into consideration when picking leaders and those who think they are ahead will find themselves behind.
Let those with ears hear and those with eyes see. But let’s also make it our role to make the politically blind and politically deaf see and hear that Kenya is changing and they must not stand in the way.
Thank you.