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H.E. RAILA ODINGA MEETS EU DIPLOMATS IN NAIROBI:

H.E. RAILA ODINGA MEETS EU DIPLOMATS IN NAIROBI:

H.E Raila Odinga this afternoon met with the ambassadors of the European Union in Nairobi.
The meeting took place at the residence of the EU Ambassador to Kenya Mr. Stefano A. Dejak. It reviewed the events and political developments in the country since the March 9 “handshake” between Mr. Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Building Bridges Initiative.
Mr. Odinga briefed the diplomats on the genesis of the Building Bridges Initiative and the next steps. He also briefed the diplomats on his recent trip to Juba and meeting with President Salva Kiir and the expected meeting with Dr. Riak Machar.
The meeting lauded the developments in the country and Kenya’s engagements in regional conflicts with a view to finding lasting solutions.

TREE PLANTING EXERCISE

TREE PLANTING EXERCISE

I joined residents in a tree planting exercise at Bar Opuk Primary School that is part of a campaign named “1 million trees for Siaya ” being carried out in the County.

Reforestation plays an important role in order to overcome deforestation and to restore the natural balance of plant life on the planet.

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA TO OXFORD UNION;

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA TO OXFORD UNION;

OXFORD UNIVERSITY;

MAY 17, 2018.

 WHY EUROPE AND AFRICA REMAIN PROBLEMS TO EACH OTHER:

I am greatly honored to be at Oxford University as a guest of the Oxford Union, one of the oldest debating societies in the world.

I come here a few days after speaking at Cambridge University as a guest of the Cambridge Union. Together, you make for two of the greatest institutions whose footprints are found everywhere on every subject, across the globe.

Oxford and Cambridge universities have been part and parcel of Africa’s vision of education as an indispensable ingredient to the achievement of a vibrant democracy; sustained and equitable economic growth, good governance and eradication of poverty.

I must therefore recognize and applaud this university for the continued commitment to providing sound education to Africa’s youth through scholarships like that administered jointly by Oxford and Cambridge Society of Kenya to undergraduate and graduate students.

I also recognize your joint research projects with Kenyan universities. Research is the weakest link in Africa’s universities largely due to funding challenges.

With ties that bind like the colonial heritage, education and cultural links that broke language barriers, Europe and Africa should be enjoying greater and more mutually beneficial relations.

The reality however is that Europe has a problem in Africa. It is what I wish to speak to you about.

As signature institutions like this great university have strived to maintain the ties with Africa, their efforts have been undermined by European politics and attitudes.

Africa is feeling the impact of the inward-looking, populist regimes emerging across Europe that are also steeped in old images of European grandeur towards a supposedly dark African continent of wars, poverty and pestilence.

The ties between Europe and Africa have failed to change with the times, making our two continents miss the opportunities that have emerged over time.

There is minimal language and transport barrier between Europe and Africa. All the major European languages -English, French and Spanish- are spoken in Africa. Geographically, Africa is closer to Europe than to Asia and North America.

Because of geography and history, Europe remains Africa’s leading trade partner.

But Africa and Europe have not leveraged these very clear advantages.

 

Europe has taken either these ties or Africa for granted. At some stage, Europe appeared to embrace the idea of Africa being a “Hopeless Continent” as Economist magazine once referred to it. Europe got content with occasional and predictable reports about corruption, civil wars, stolen elections, Al Shabab, Boko Haram, Female Genital Mutilation and starvation because these are in line with the thinking in European capitals about what Africa is.

In the process, Europe failed to see the emergence of this long suffering but immensely resilient and endowed Continent.

Yes, Africa continues to experience fundamental socio-economic and political challenges.

The Continent continues to be plagued by poverty and political crises that make it to media headlines and shape the general perception even among policy makers here.

Unfortunately, this has kept Europe stuck on sending troops and occasional aid to struggling countries. In the process, they made Europe fail to be a genuine partner with an emerging and booming Africa that has experienced sustained high economic growth of around five per cent, over the past decade.

Africa is today looking for partners in Europe who can combine better the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity that fueled the French Revolution and which must now be realized in the context of modern day regime of human rights, the rule of law, economic prosperity and democracy. Unfortunately, these now appear to be getting sacrificed at the altar of European political, economic and strategic considerations that work against Africa.

Africa is looking for partners who believe in win-win relationships. We are keen on greater practical, politically backed engagement with the private sector and civil-society actors, on both continents to fuel democratization and economic prosperity.

One area in which Africa feels most cheated by Europe is trade. Africa is feeling the pressure by Europe on African governments to sign trade deals that would work against Africans. To date, Economic Partnership Agreements remain points of great disagreement and suspicion between Africa and Europe. These agreements need to be concluded once and for all in a way that is fair and beneficial to both parties.

Africans are equally getting increasingly apprehensive over Europe’s immigration policies. Africa is outraged over the number of its citizens who die while trying to reach Europe. Young Africans resort to boats and other unorthodox means to access Europe because legal avenues have become too complex or simply unavailable. Europe has failed to enact EU-wide common asylum and immigration law that offers safe transit routes and is fair and efficient for asylum seekers.

Instead, immigration and fear of immigrants is being used as means to rise to power in Europe. These developments are quietly entrenching the feeling in Africa that racism remains real in Europe. Suspicions over trade and immigration make our citizens and leaders view Europe as an unreliable partner for Africa.

Even more disturbing is Europe’s ambivalence on democracy today.

As we meet here, many pro-democracy activists in Africa are no longer sure they have the support of Europe. It is not clear if it is still Europe’s policy to stand only with regimes that promote open, free and fair elections and respect human rights. That ambivalence is itself a source of conflict in Africa.

We see democratization as key to the economic and political empowerment of Africa. On paper, the EU development aid includes an important component supporting democracy, good governance and rule of law. The EU has also become an important partner in election observation and democracy assistance, on paper. In practice, the EU has become part of the growing trend in the west where elections in Africa are judged only by how peaceful they are and whether they create room for trade and war on terror.

We see this this attitude in your diplomats and election observers across Africa and it is not helpful even to your desired goal of stability.

While Europe and its diplomats are interested merely in stability and trade, we in Africa know that only a full embrace of democracy will give us the momentum we need to take off and provide for our young generation who are currently forced to cross into Europe because of lack of opportunities in Africa.

The wind of change that blew across Africa in the 1990s proved that only democracy ensures that public goods and resources are put too much better use by the government.  It is the wind of change that resulted in six of the world’s ten fastest-growing countries being in Africa.

 

This was a monumental leap considering that from 1974 through the mid-1990s, Africa’s growth was negative, reaching negative 1.5 percent in the 1990-94 period.

With the wind of change, life expectancy in Africa increased by about 10 per cent and child mortality rates started falling in most African countries. Real income per person increased by more than 30 per cent. In the previous 20 years, it shrank by nearly 10 per cent.

Where Europe has dithered, emerging economies have moved in and seized the new opportunities.

The western world is lamenting about China’s deep roots in Africa today. But China is not alone. India, Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Japan and South Korea are equally developing deep roots in Africa, taking advantage of the doubts Europe seems to have about the Continent.

As new players move in, Africa is also moving away from just lamenting about diminishing donor funding and trade opportunities. We are coming up with ambitious strategies to mobilize own domestic resources. We are determined to harness high potentials from natural resources and to invest in industrialization, security, healthcare, agriculture, infrastructure and institutional reforms.

The ‘hopeful continent’ will continue to be frustrated and disillusioned by missed development goals.

But we are no longer waiting for the reluctant world to help us out of our political and economic challenges. Because we have a better understanding of our problems and their dynamics, we are turning to ourselves to resolve the problems.

That is why in Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta and I shocked the world by closing ranks after a bitter election contest that left the nation torn down the middle.

As leaders, we came to the acceptance that solutions to our problems must result from an honest assessment of objective realities prevailing in the nation and the best interests of our people.

We are determined to address ages-old problems of ethnic antagonism, lack of national ethos, marginalization, strengthening devolution, divisive elections, safety and security and corruption. We will need partners, not patrons on this journey.

We very much appreciate the speed with which the EU and the rest of the western world have embraced the handshake and offered support. But I must emphasize that Kenyans are prepared to walk it alone if it comes to that.

It is our hope that the Handshake between the President and I can inspire other African nations struggling problems similar to Kenya’s and make them seek home-grown solutions based on mutual understanding.

 

The indifference of the external world has also inspired the creation of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

We are determined to encourage intra-Africa trade that stood at a mere 16 per cent of Africa’s total trade in 2016.  We are determined to move Africa away from simply being a place where the powerhouse economies of the West and East come for raw materials.  Africa has triumphed against monumental odds before. Africa will triumph again.

 

SPEECH BY H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY Tuesday, 15th May 2018.

SPEECH BY H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY Tuesday, 15th May 2018.

“AFRICA IN A CHANGING WORLD:”
SPEECH BY H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY
Tuesday, 15th May 2018.

It is an honour to visit the city of Cambridge as a guest of the debating society of Cambridge University.
The history of Cambridge University is deeply intertwined with that of Africa. Until the 1970s, the terminating examination for secondary education in Kenya was the Cambridge Overseas O-Level examination. There is a large section of Kenyan workforce to date that traces their education to the Cambridge exams.
It is not an accident that Cambridge University Press, one of the oldest in the world, has published some of the most outstanding books on Africa, including The Cambridge History of Africa and Africa Since 1940, among others.
It is also not an accident that in 2008, Cambridge-Africa initiative was set up as an umbrella programme to strengthen research capacity and scholarship in African universities and research institutes. I thank this university for keeping the ties going. The name Cambridge also came back to us strongly last year in the form of the now infamous Cambridge Analytica.
Over the years however, as institutions like Cambridge University have strived to deepen the ties with Africa, overall, the links have weakened between the two continents.
It is with this in mind that my focus before this audience will be the changing state of the world, particularly with regard to foreign policy and what the changes mean to Africa.
Fundamental political, economic and social shifts are taking place across the world. More inward looking regimes are emerging among the many nations that once looked beyond their borders with dedicated focus on Africa.
The western world, to which Africa once turned for partnership on democratization, trade, education and immigration is shutting its doors on the Continent.
The post-world war interconnected and caring western world that was imagined by the likes of Charles de Gaulle, Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan, Konrad Adenauer, Mikail Gorbachev, Harry Truman, J.F. Kennedy and Woodrow Wilson, among others, is falling apart. These leaders and their immediate successors agreed that engagement not retreat was the way to a safer and better world. They laid the foundation that anchored a global system on democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
In the last ten years, this global system has been under severe pressure. It is now destructing. In its place, populists peddling half-truths, outright lies and fear are rising. By and large, facts and policies no longer win elections. Fear, lies and manipulation of data do. Nobody knows this better the United Kingdom from the Brexit experience that was driven by fear…fear of immigrants, blacks, Muslims, terrorists, Chinese…supposedly flooding the UK if the country remained in the EU. The US is struggling with the results of politics of fear couched as “America First” policy.
The western world that was once the destination of choice for ambitious Third World youths is showing us its back. We have lately witnessed horrific scenes of immigrants from Africa and places like Albania, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Ukraine stuck at borders of Europe. Europe has failed to enact EU-wide common asylum and immigration law that offers safe transit routes and is fair and efficient for asylum seekers.
France recently introduced a Bill that allows the authorities to hold migrants illegally in detention centers for up to 90 days instead of the current 45, in order to organize their deportation. Under the bill, people illegally crossing borders of the EU travel-free zone will be fined 3,750 euros ($4,600).
Across the Atlantic, the US is pushing to reduce the number of legal immigrants in the country.
These developments are taking place against the background of declining interest in democracy by the West. Between 2009 and 2016, U.S. government spending on democracy, human rights, and governance programs fell by nearly $400 million. The Community of Democracies, a coalition established in 2000 lacks the resources and visibility to have much impact.
We recognize and applaud efforts of Sweden and the United Kingdom to individually continue supporting significant bilateral programs to promote democracy and improve governance. But the budgets are minimal. Not much has been felt from the European Endowment for Democracy or the United Kingdom’s Westminster Foundation for Democracy.
The dwindling funding for democracy has been worsened by the extremely casual and cavalier attitude of western election observers and diplomats in Africa with regard to elections and democratization.
Much of the assessment of the observers and western diplomats appear to be clouded with a desire to calm the waters for international investors with huge stakes in African countries and stability.
In dealing with Africa, much of the western world is focusing exclusively on security, stability and the need to contain China.
The changes in global politics mean that the challenges and opportunities facing Africa today are different from those of the colonial, the post-colonial, the cold war and post-cold war periods.

One of Africa’s greatest writers Chinua Achebe told us: “Every generation must recognize and embrace the task it is peculiarly designed by history and by providence to perform.”
With the world disengaging, the current generation of Africans is rising to the challenge of making Africa take charge of its affairs. Africa is looking into itself and thinking of homemade solutions to the challenges it faces in a world that is interconnected and disengaged at the same time.
That is the context in which the world must view our recent decision to close ranks with President Uhuru Kenyatta after a bitter election contest that left the nation torn down the middle.
As leaders, we came to the acceptance that solutions to our problems will never come from outside and that the solutions must result from an honest assessment of objective realities prevailing in the nation.
In Kenya, we agreed to recognize and confront the historical realities that we have long swept under the carpet. We took a journey down memory lane; from our struggle from independence to date and the realities that have impeded our progress.
We agreed that the time had come for Kenya to reflect on its performance in the search for the hallowed goals of justice, unity, peace, liberty and prosperity for all that our struggle for independence was about. We came to the conclusion that our diversity appeared destined to be a curse to ourselves today and to our children tomorrow unless we confront them.
We recognized that the differences were becoming too entrenched yet no two Kenyans can agree on the origins of the differences and what they portend.
We got concerned that millions of our children continued to be born and married into these differences; that people were dying out of these differences and the already well entrenched differences are currently leaking into the fourth generation in primary and secondary schools. Yet in many instances, Kenyans cannot remember why and where they disagreed in the first place.
We narrowed the challenges down to strengthening devolution and tackling corruption, marginalization, divisive elections, security and lack of national ethos.
We are not in anyway deluded that these changes will come easy. There will be opposition and resistance because the issues we want to tackle go to the core of how Kenya has been ran over the past five decades. Many political careers have been made out of the foundation we are now seeking to shake and rebuild and many were hoping to make more careers out of that same foundation. But we are agreed that we have to make these changes if we are to have a nation.

Creating a stable nation is the primary, if not the sole purpose of the Building Bridges Initiative. It is an opportunity for a frank discussion about the questions that have bedeviled Kenya for decades.
We see our agreement, which is now commonly referred to as the “handshake” as a possible guide that other African countries could borrow with modifications to address their circumstances. It is our hope that the Handshake could inspire other African nations struggling problems similar to Kenya’s.
The developments on the global stage are also the context in which the world must view the creation of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and which Kenya strongly supports.
We view the creation of a single market with duty-free access among traders in the continent is a long overdue means to spur industrialization, infrastructure development and economic diversification across Africa.
We are determined to ensure that rather than spend more energy and time negotiating complex trade agreements with the external world, we would be better off encouraging intra-Africa trade which stood at a mere 16 per cent of Africa’s total trade in 2016. We are determined to move Africa away from the narrative of simply being a place where the powerhouse economies of the West and East come to get their raw materials. We see investment in intra-Africa trade as our way of getting out of aid trap. When Africa’s population doubles to two billion people, many of them will be young, under 18. This comes with tremendous opportunities and challenges. We recognize that one of the most urgent tasks facing Africa is to create opportunities for these youths and ensure a decent life for them. In all these homegrown initiatives, we want partners, not patrons. Africa is moving forward, sadder but wiser.

REMARKS OF H.E RAILA ODINGA, EGH, AT ODM NEC MEETING; MAY 8, 2018.

REMARKS OF H.E RAILA ODINGA, EGH, AT ODM NEC MEETING; MAY 8, 2018.

We are meeting at an extra-ordinary time, under extra ordinary circumstances. The times and circumstances demand that we speak the truth, and that we do so frankly and boldly as we face the conditions in our country today.

So let me begin by being very clear on one issue. The meeting we are holding here today, the others to come in the near future, the activities we have pursued in recent past and those we will embark on in the coming days, are not about 2022 elections.

We meet against the background of the March 9 handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and I during which we launched the Building Bridges to a New Kenyan Nation initiative.

That handshake has been hailed across the world and many of our citizens as a bold step towards addressing ours problems once and for all and bequeathing a better country to our children. But it has also become the subject of much political discourse and distortion by sections of leaders.
That handshake was not about 2022. It was too significant an event to be reduced to a struggle for positions, promises and ambitions of individuals.
This country has had elections before. We had Presidents, Prime Ministers and even Chief Secretaries before. There is nothing special about 2022 elections. The only thing that is special is that we have arrived at an agreement that we must do things differently going forward. We also have something special in the realization that if we don’t do the things we have set out in the MoU with President Uhuru Kenyatta, 2022 elections will amount to doing the same thing time and again and expecting different results.

Without the changes we envisage in the MoU, 2022 will be messy. It will come with the same confusion, heartbreaks and possibly chaos. We are trying to forestall such eventualities. As a forward looking and reform minded party, we must resist the efforts of political shylocks demanding their pound of the flesh out of the handshake.

Let us take a dispassionate look at where we were before the handshake and where we are now as a country and decide whether this was a worthy effort.

I am convinced that it was the right thing to do and I know President Kenyatta equally agrees it was worth the effort and the risk and we are determined to push it to its logical end.

Kenya is at a crossroads. Elections are mini civil wars. Businesses close at election time. Citizens relocate to perceived safe areas at election time. Many of our citizens feel disenfranchised and excluded. Corruption is killing that nation. Citizens view each other with suspicion, mistrust and anger. A little misstep and we tip over the precipice.

As leaders and a party, we have a duty think beyond 2022 and put the country on a path towards lasting unity and meaningful reconciliation. Not many nations that get to the brink secure a second chance to rethink and re-imagine their destinies. We are among the very lucky few and we must not take it for granted.

In the MoU called the Building Bridges to the New Kenyan Nation, we have identified ethnic antagonism, lack of national ethos, inclusivity, strengthening devolution, ending divisive elections, ensuring safety and security of our people, ending corruption and ensuring shared prosperity as issues our country has to address if we are to create a nation at peace with itself.
We will soon unveil a series of public events across the country to outline the terms of the MoU to Kenyans.
Addressing some of these issues may require changes to some of our laws and even amendments to the constitution. When that time comes, we must be bold enough to pick up the challenge as a matter of duty to the nation.

To participate actively in the national discourse and drive the agenda ahead, we must reorganize, rebrand and rebuild as a party. We must stay focused and refuse to be distracted by familiar voices that always stand on our paths to reform.

On this agenda of great national importance, we are prepared to work with old and new allies in the Opposition and in government as we have done in the past. ODM must take its rightful place in driving Project Kenya and the birth a new nation within the next one year, together with other like-minded parties and leaders. I am counting on your support. The country is looking up to us for leadership.
I thank you.

Visit to Kajiado County

Visit to Kajiado County

I was happy to be in Kajiado County engaging the residents regarding the National Reconciliation Initiative that we have embarked on.
They pledged their support in the coming days towards this crucial and much needed undertaking for us as a people.
I thank them all for wishing us well on this journey as well as, their very warm welcome. Asanteni sana

REMARKS OF H.E RAILA ODINGA; EGH; AT THE FIFTH DEVOLUTION CONFERENCE; KAKAMEGA, APRIL 24, 2018.

REMARKS OF H.E RAILA ODINGA; EGH; AT THE FIFTH DEVOLUTION CONFERENCE; KAKAMEGA, APRIL 24, 2018.

I am honoured to join you in celebrating our sixth year of Devolution.

In the last five years, this gathering was a men only affair. Today we have three female governors. I recognize and welcome the madam governors to this club.

It is my hope that after the next elections, we will have at least ten female governors. Devolution must bridge the gender gap in the country’s leadership.

Our people are definitely not enjoying the best they could, but they definitely have improved access to facilities and services like healthcare, roads, markets centres, early child development and agricultural services than before, thanks to devolution.

This should be a constant reminder to us never to fear or oppose change for the sake of it. “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything,” as George Bernard Shaw told us.

Devolution has proved that neither geography nor history is destiny. Nations and regions are poor or rich not because of their geography or their past but because of their ability or inability to make the best of their environment.

We now have tarmac roads and airports in long neglected parts of Kenya like Lodwar, Maralal and Wajir. Hospitals have sprouted in Wajir and Garissa. North Eastern can now access clean water through borehole drilling programmes. Processing plants are sprouting in Makueni, Uasin Gishu, Nyandarua and Kirinyaga among others, underscoring the potential of counties as the next centres of industrialization and job creation.

A 35-year old mountain of garbage has been taken out in Kisumu, underscoring devolution’s capacity to stop the march of environmental degradation in the countryside.

Unfortunately, these positive developments mean that there will be greater expectations of the county governments. Voters expect progress to be a straight forward march into the future, not a zigzag back and forth journey.

Devolution’s achievements should therefore not be celebrated without taking into full account the challenges ahead.

The challenges and areas of possible conflict are glaring. For instance, the National Government is pursuing its Big Four agenda…Food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare. Most of these are devolved functions.

Making sure their implementation by the National Government does not undermine devolution or result in duplication and conflict is a challenge we must address.

There are two issues which I consider cardinal to the success or failure of devolution; GOOD GOVERNANCE AND POLITICAL LEADERSHIP.

Good leaders need vision for the work they set out to do and a clear mission on how to pursue the vision.  Often, such vision and mission are stated in a Manifesto.

In a county, the governor’s manifesto must find its way into the COUNTY INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT PLAN (CIDP) to inform social and economic transformation.

Implementing manifestos cannot be done unless the governor knits together a team that can deliver. You are therefore as good as your team. But even here, there are challenges.

How do governors implement their manifestos in an environment where the Big Four agenda includes devolved functions? A solution has to be found.

At this point, I wish to single out some very immediate threats to devolution and your tenures that we need to address this early.

Governors and the county public services continue to be accused of engaging in self-enrichment.

Too many governors and their executive are viewed with suspicion by voters and many are under active investigation by the EACC. There is nepotism and cronyism in counties. And too many counties are failing to come up with clear pro-youth programmes to address unemployment.  People pursuing business with counties also talk of an elaborate network of County Assembly speakers, leaders of majority, CECs, county works supervisors and county clerks, among others, whose sole purpose is to make money from public works projects. These officials have the capacity and audacity to paralyze, delay and stall development projects.

MCAs and county Speakers are particularly being accused of conflict of interest. Often they are the contractors while at the same time purporting to be carrying out oversight roles.

The quest for cuts has also led to a craze for allowances by members of County Assemblies that is also paralyzing counties.

Governors have to pay for their Cabinets to be approved. To date, there are counties that are yet to form full cabinet because of the standoff between governors and MCAs.

Members of County Assemblies are constantly on so-called bench-marking and team building trips that are essentially acts of bribery by the Executive to have their agenda approved and a quest for allowances. This corruption network is eating devolution from inside out.

We have to stop it or it will altogether kill our most important gift to ourselves ever since our fathers brought us independence. Sometimes, the idea of corruption is based on rumors and perception. But there are also cases where eyebrows have been raised because the life styles of people have changed overnight. The best way to stop rumors from assuming the pedestal of truth is for the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to undertake objective life style audits of suspects.

Two institutions are key to proper financial management and accountability: The internal audit department, and the procurement department. Working hand in hand within the finance department, they can make or break good governance in the county. The governor has a duty to ensure that the people appointed to these departments are qualified, competent, accountable and smart.

 

The good news is that fighting corruption and shielding devolution are no longer matters of partisan debate. The MoU of the now famous handshake on March 9 prioritizes making counties deliver to the people. It also identifies corruption as an existential threat to the country. The President and I are agreed that we must fight corruption from a wide and common front. We shall not provide sanctuaries for perpetrators of corruption. We will strongly support whistleblowing from all Kenyans.

We have mandated the public to report corruption whenever they witness it but without witch hunt. Very soon, the corrupt will be on their own.

But governors also have their side of the story. For instance, counties are failing to attract high calibre, public-spirited personnel because of the existing pay structure.

Because of this, policy papers are wanting in some counties and many governors lack quality advisory services.

There seems to be a genuine need to review pay policy to enable counties attract quality staff without necessarily increasing costs.

We need to help our counties generate funds that would help them finance quality staffing in addition to providing services. One way to do this is to review and rationalize taxation policies.  Counties have very small tax collection bases. In tourism sector for instance, VAT, Catering Levy and Tourism Levy all go to the national government. Overall, counties have only about 15 per cent taxation revenue base. There is too much confusion in the management of Roads sector with the National Government laying claim to most roads while doing nothing to maintain them.

We also need to review the relationship between regional authorities like Lake Basin Development Authority, Coast Development Authority, Tana and Athi Development authorities and the County and National Governments. And we must help our counties resolve boundary disputes. Let me make a brief mention of wealth creation in counties based on investments, own- revenue generation and employment creation. I encourage counties to remain aggressive in creating the institutional basis for investments by utilizing all the legal instruments available for doing this.

 

Here I would like to refer to the PPP law, the Special Economic Zones, Export Processing Zones, business incubation institutions, agribusiness investments, skills and business development centers, and so on.

Further, counties should not simply rely on getting locally generated revenues through licenses, rates and fees. The real difference in own revenue generation will only come from improved productivity.

Counties must demonstrate to the National Government that they are coming of age. The National Government must also be ready to provide the necessary back up when counties take investment initiatives for employment and wealth creation. The first five years of devolution witnessed enormous constraints in taking initiatives for investments in the counties. The PPP legal framework was particularly unclear. A lot has since been done to improve this.

However, the National Government still needs to do more in helping counties with transaction advisers and undertaking capacity building functions in line with the Inter-Governmental Relations Act. Very soon, we may need to address the issue of access to external funding in counties with the National Government as an intermediary given the transfer of functions in line with Schedule Four of the Constitution.

I want to end by saying something about the structure and viability of counties as presently constituted and the Building Bridges to a New Kenya Initiative. We continue to encourage our counties to explore the formation of economic blocs to address some of the challenges identified. This is also part of the MoU of the Building Bridges to a New Kenyan Nation initiative. Counties must work together regardless of the political affiliation of their governors, senators and MCAs.

I therefore laud the formation of the 14-county Lake Region Economic Bloc and appeal to the County Assemblies cooperate and pass legislation to aid the realization of the bloc. I encourage all counties that are exploring such formations to soldier on and their assemblies to cooperate. Going forward however, and as a matter of lasting solution to the problem posed by the sizes of the economies of devolved units, I want to propose to this forum that we need to bite the bullet and revisit the structure of devolution.

The Bomas Draft Constitution divided Kenya into 14 regions, each made up of several districts. The intention was to create units with the size and population that made them economically viable. It is time to look at how to recover this original spirit. My proposal is that we adopt a three-tier system that retains the current counties, creates regional governments and retains the National Government and with very clear formula for revenue sharing.

Finally ladies and gentlemen, you are one of the most critical stakeholders in the future of our country. I wish to invite all of you to support and take steps to the realization of the Building Bridges to the New Kenyan Nation initiative contained in the MoU we signed with President Uhuru Kenyatta. We aim is modest, humble and noble. We want to address ethnic antagonism, lack of national ethos, inclusivity, strengthen devolution, end divisive elections, ensure safety and security, end corruption and ensure shared prosperity. I appeal to you to embrace the document and its spirit.

Thank you. God bless you.

STATEMENT BY H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT THE LAUNCH OF BRIDGE TO NEW KENYA INITIATIVE

STATEMENT BY H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT THE LAUNCH OF BRIDGE TO NEW KENYA INITIATIVE

Fellow Kenyans.

In the life of any nation, a time comes when the people and their leaders must audit the progress made towards the attainment of the goals and prayers laid out at the founding of the nation.

Abraham Lincoln said… “If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.”

When such times come, the leaders entrusted to secure the goals, in our case: justice, unity, peace, liberty and prosperity for all; have a duty to reflect on their performance in the search for these hallowed goals.

Such a time has come for Kenya.

Fifty four years into independence, we are challenged to audit our progress towards the ideals for which our fathers fought to establish a free and independent country and for which many of our compatriots died.

We, the leaders are equally summoned to reflect on our performance towards the achievement of our nation’s aspirations.

This audit and introspection has been a long time coming.

Throughout our independence history, we have had doubts on how we have conducted our affairs in the face of growing divide along ethnic, religious and political lines. Regrettably, we have responded to our challenges by mostly running away from them.

We have moved from year to year, election to election, never pausing to deal with the challenges that our diversity was always going to pose to our efforts to create a prosperous and united nation. Consequently, the ties that bind us are today under the severest stress.

Our diversity appears destined to be a curse to ourselves today and to our children tomorrow.

In the past, we have given a lot of attention to institutional reforms in the hope that these could lift us to the next level of nationhood and make us a blessed land.

Seven and a half years ago, we gave to ourselves a new Constitution. We put our faith in it as the instrument to revolutionize our nation. In this and many other ways, we created some of the best hardware any country has ever possessed to engineer their affairs.

We must be courageous enough to admit that it has not worked. It has failed because we are yet to upgrade our software. We have been pouring new wine into old wineskins. The Gospel tells us that new wine needs new wineskins.

The time has come for us to confront and resolve our differences. These differences are becoming too entrenched.

No two Kenyans agree on the origins of the differences and what they portend.

Millions of our children continue to be born and married into these differences. People are dying out of these differences.

Many of these differences are already well entrenched in the third generation of Kenyans and are currently leaking into the fourth generation in primary and secondary schools.

Yet in many instances, Kenyans cannot remember why and where they disagreed in the first place.

As we fight ostensibly to save ourselves from each other, the reality is, we need to save our children from ourselves.

My brother and I have therefore come together today to say this descent stops here.

We refuse to allow our diversity to kill our nation. We refuse to be the leaders under whose watch Kenya slid into a failed nation.

This is a call to self-reflection. We have to look into ourselves and challenge our readiness to make the changes that will allow our institutional reforms to work.

So long as we remain divided, acrimonious, selfish and corrupt, no amount of institutional reform will better our lives.

The reform process will become an exercise in diverting attention from our own failings and taking refuge in blame game.

We therefore seek your partnership in this initiative fellow Kenyans. We are all sailing in this one ship. We must come together to scoop out the water that has been sipping in or we shall capsize.

We have travelled too far to turn back.

We would never make it back to the shore.

Yet, we can’t make it to our destination either. Our only option is to come together and scoop out these waters of animosity that we have been pouring into the boat before we all sink.

Once again, as Lincoln said… “The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail — if we stand firm, we shall not fail.

God Bless Kenya.

Thank you.

THE MAN WHO KNOWS HOW TO SPEAK THE ‎LANGUAGE OF THE COMMON MAN

THE MAN WHO KNOWS HOW TO SPEAK THE ‎LANGUAGE OF THE COMMON MAN

• Raila successfully brought Multi Party democracy to your doorstep (when most of Kenyans ‎including the digital thieves stayed safely at home eating Nyayo money while he was being ‎jailed, tortured and exiled)

• Raila successfully removed Moi’s oppressive regime out of office

• Raila successfully brought you Kibaki Tosha

• Raila successfully brought You a new constitution with devolution smiling at you

• Raila successfully defended the Mau Forest. This is a water tower that affects not only Kenya but the whole of East Africa. It affects so many lakes like Nakuru Baringo, ‎Bogoria, Natron and Turkana, and rivers like Njoro, Mara etc, it affects forests, rain and its after effects of its destruction would be ‎enormous. it affects many communities and tourism activities in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve and ‎the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem will suffer if the water tower is destroyed. He sacrificed votes to save Mau Forest. (his ‎detractors will thank him later)‎
• 
Raila reclaimed public road reserves by ordering the demolition of buildings and structures ‎erected on such lands by corrupt rich, powerful and influential businessmen – this needs balls ‎and guts and not soft spoken weak leaders

• Raila led the most dynamic roads infrastructure Kenya has ever seen since independence, one ‎of the most outstanding specimen of a road , Thika Highway still stands still to be appreciated ‎to date

• 
Raila guaranteed peace to Kenya when he refused to bring Kenya into anarchy by accepting a ‎power sharing deal instead of fighting for power even though he knew he had won the 2007 ‎elections by far.‎

• Raila is not afraid of suspending powerful ministers who have been suspected to leech the ‎country like when he removed the powerful Agriculture Minister William Ruto because of a serious ‎maize scandal

 Raila led the nusu mkate government successfully and all you have to do is go back to ‎history to check on the nusu mkate government achievements to know what he is all about – ‎he was the co principle leader of a successful stint of a successful regime where he guided the ‎Old and weary Mr. Kibaki through to a successful term.

WHEN RAILA SPEAKS, PEOPLE LISTEN – THE MAN WHO KNOWS HOW TO SPEAK THE ‎LANGUAGE OF THE COMMON MAN

MEETING OF NASA SUMMIT

MEETING OF NASA SUMMIT

The Summit, the highest organ of the National Super Alliance, met this morning and decided as follows:

1. That the single biggest threat to the stability and economic well-being of Kenya, now and into the future, is the enduring culture of sham elections with pre-determined outcomes. In this regard, the coalition will be dedicating its efforts in the coming months to the single issue of the realisation of electoral justice which entails a thorough reform of the electoral body, the laws governing it and the nature of the relationship it maintains with State agencies that influence its operations.

2. That as currently constituted, and given the amendments that Jubilee introduced to the election laws agreed on in the run-up to the 2017 polls, and having presided over elections marred by illegalities and irregularities, the IEBC cannot preside over the review of boundaries expected in 2018.

3. The coalition asks all its members to equally put singular focus on electoral justice and vacate all discussions of 2022 elections. NASA remains firm that there can be no elections in 2022 unless the causes of the irregularities and illegalities witnessed in 2017 are fully identified and addressed.

4. That conscious of the urgency of the matter of electoral justice to the future stability of the country and conscious of the other challenges facing the country; including environmental degradation, food shortage and looming hunger, rising debt burden and enduring divisions along ethnic, regional and party lines, NASA remains committed to dialogue in the interest of the nation but remains cognisant of the fact that Kenyans are running out of patience and the window is slowly closing.

5. That NASA continues to view the Bill being pushed by Jubilee leaning MP William Kassait Kamket to create a one term, seven year president and an executive Prime Minister as head of government as a Jubilee plot to jump the gun. The coalition therefore wants Jubilee to come clean on the Bill.

6. The coalition will shortly convene a joint Parliamentary Group meeting to cement its position on these matters and particularly on the matter of electoral justice.

Today’s meeting was attended by all members of the Summit.

H.E. Raila Odinga, Coalition Leader
Hon. Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, Co-Principal
Sen. Moses Wetangula, Co-Principal
Hon. Wycliffe Musalia Mudavadi, Co-Principal