Raila Odinga

Category: News



Remarks of the Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga, EGH;High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa, 4th PIDA Week 2018
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
Eng. Amos Marawa, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Government of Zimbabwe
Executive Secretary Ms. Chileshe Kapwepwe
Director-General, Belt and Road Unit, National Development and Reform Commission, the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Xiao Weiming;
Carla Montesi of EU;
Dr Amani Abou-Zeid Commissioner Infrastructure and Energy of AU;
Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer, NEPAD.
Mr. Joel Biggie Matiza – Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development and Transport, Republic of Zimbabwe,
Distinguished guests
Let me begin by thanking my brother Ibrahim and the AU Commission for inviting me to PIDA Week 2018.
This is taking place in one of the World’s greatest natural wonders that also showcases Africa’s potential– the Victoria Falls in the Republic of Zimbabwe.
As you are aware, a few weeks ago, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission His Excellency Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat appointed me to a task that few are called upon to perform; that is, to serve our people and our continent, at a time we are pursuing a 50-year transformational agenda of the “AfricaWeWant” in Agenda 2063.
For this recognition and call to duty as a servant of my Continent, I am most humbled, and thankful, to my brother, the Chairperson.
My task as Infrastructure Champion, is to accelerate our transboundary connectivity through infrastructure.
I therefore call all of you present here today to put hands-on-the-Wheels and we all push in the same direction.
If we all commit to this common cause, our efforts will be realized, sooner rather than later.
Realizing our continent’s development agenda will require fundamental change in behaviour and mind-sets.
It requires taking transformative decisions and being innovative in the way we approach persistent problems.
With regard to infrastructure, these problems include inadequate road and air connectivity with resulting and trade deficits’ which we as a continent, have come to accept as the normal state of affairs.
We live in the digital information age. We must therefore fastrack the unblocking of political bottlenecks for ICT Broadband and Fibre Optic Projects Linking our States. Africa’s children and leadership must be helped to access information at the click of a button or we shall never compete.
In this quest, old habits and old paradigms must give way to well-thoughout initiatives and I am glad we have embarked on this.
I see such a shift in the creation of the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI) – and the HR – High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa Initiative.
For these initiatives to yield results, we must overcome another set of old habits; the habit of perpetual feasibility studies and procurement of consultancies.
We are not inventing the wheel. We have tried and proven delivery mechanisms that we could implennt with modifications to ensure speedy and smart delivery.
These mecahnisms exist within government files. They are also with our private sector partners. They are with our development partners who should be willing to share them with us, hopefully, without conditions or strings attached.
The last thing Africa needs at this point in time is partnership with strings and conditions.
Such smart delivery instruments like Design and Build, Turn-key, Framework Contracting, to name a few, should come in handy for the Continent and help us get out of the trap of feasibility studies.
In implementing the priority Infrastructure flagship projects – we will need to avoid the traditional and long gestation delivery mechanisms that bogs down our public sectors and resort to the market for efficiency, measured and time-bound delivery.
Over the next two (2) years, we will work closely with key stakeholders which include Member States, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), AU Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Transport/ Infrastructure, and Development partners to deliver impactful projects identfied as low hannging fruits.
These include:
Establishment of Joint Corridor Coordinating Authorities – for the efficient management of vital economic arteries, or corridors, of our continent;
Championing the ratification of Inter-Governmental Agreements (IGAs) for the development of the Trans African Highways, Missing links; and the adoption of the Minimum Technical Norms and Standards by AU member countries, for the development and maintenance of the Trans African Highways;
Championing the establishment of lead National and Regional Agencies on Road Safety, as recommended by the AU-Specialized Technical Committee (STC) for Transport and Infrastructure, to give impetus to the realization of the “African Decade Programme on Road Safety (2011-2020)”.

We recognise the need for equitable and balanced development opportunities amongst the Trans African Corridors, in the course of implementing the high level Infrastructure Championing Initiative.
We will therefore include as part of our Projects Selection Criteria for the upgrading of the TAH missing links – “peace dividend project-awards”, to foot-print countries and RECs, along key under-developed TAH corridors.
Africa’s transformation, as outlined in Agenda 2063 – will require “agents of change”, or projects of monumental scale, to trigger, and give impetus, to the social and economic transformation programme of Agenda 2063.
For instance, given the present global re-positioning economic order, Africa will have to define, and finance its own equivalent of Inter-State and Pan-American Higways or Belt and Road initiative to reinforce the continent’s key flagship drivers: African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
We must explore new frontiers of connectivity. The opening of what we call The African Belt Way, that is the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project, connecting the eastern and western-central Africa deep-sea ports of Lamu, the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic at Douala in Cameroon, will need to be scoped and tabled for turn-key development.
We will champion the Continental High Speed Freight Railway Project and advance its implementation. This is an important “change-agent”, with positive impact for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
We will pursue high level advocacy with member states to implement the Prioritized Action Plan (2018-2019) with regard to realisation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
This will help us fast track the full liberalization of the air transport market in Africa in terms of market access, frequency allocation, tariffs, and the granting of traffic “freedom” rights – all geared towards, easing “doing business”, and travelling within, and outside Africa.
In conclusion Ladies and gentlemen, the task at hand is an enormous. I have no illusions about this and I believe none of us have.
What I do know however, is that, it is doable… if all of us push in the same direction.
I therefore count on all of you my fellow Africans, and friends of Africa, to join me – to see the dreams of our founding fathers and aspirations of our children and grandchildren fulfilled, for a better and inclusive Africa.
I thank you for your attention.
Hon. Raila Odinga,
High Representative-Champion for Infrastructure Development in Africa
23 November 2018



Ladies and Gentlemen;
Kenya is a proud and prominent member of the UN family.
We value our partnership with the UN and we take keen interest in the security, comfort and progress of the UN staff in Nairobi because we remain extremely proud that we host the only UN post outside the developed world. And I want to believe that the UN in Nairobi equally sees itself as a proud and prominent member of the Kenya family; that the staff daily dig deep into their reservoirs of resolve and determine to do good and make a difference that strengthens the concept of the global family and the shared opportunities and challenges that the UN represents.
That is why I felt compelled to be here this morning despite pressing engagements that am to attend to shortly outside Nairobi.
I am therefore very proud and pleased to preside at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Green Zone Residential Apartments Housing Project for UN-Habitat staff.
We fully welcome the efforts of the UN-Habitat to contribute to the alleviation of the housing crisis in Kenya by providing adequate, affordable and secure housing for its staff in Nairobi through their savings.
I want to thank UN-Habitat for the professionalism and diligence that has seen it encourage staff to save and diligently watch over those savings, leading to this multi-billion shillings project. Many employers wish to achieve this milestone but never really do.
This initiative will ensures the staff, who contribute immensely to Kenya’s economy, security and our global standing feel appreciated and facilitated to continue serving Kenya and the world.
And as has been observed, with this project, the UN Habitat is contributing directly to the realisation of the housing component of the Big Four agenda of the Government of Kenya.
The UN Habitat has long been a trusted partner in this critical area of housing. Together, we worked on the Kibera Slum Upgrading Programme during the Grand Coalition Government that saw parts of the massive slum give way to modern and affordable residential apartments. Incomplete as it is, the Kibera Slum Upgrading Programme is testimony of what we can do together with correct partnership and political will. We want this partnership to continue and to expand.
It remains our dream that together with UN-Habitat, we will eradicate slums across Kenya and replace them with modern and affordable houses within the period of our national development blue print of Vision 2030. Strengthening and deepening cooperation with UN-Habitat is critical. This is because while the Constitution of Kenya is explicit that every Kenyan has a right to accessible and adequate housing, and to reasonable standards of sanitation, the reality remains that Kenya, like many other Third World countries, has a massive housing gap.
Yet like all other African countries, Kenya is experiencing rapid urbanization and a bulging young population.
UN Habitat has informed us that half of humanity, a total of 3.5 billion, already live in cities and that by 2030, almost 60 per cent of the world’s population; including Africa’s will live in urban areas.
Kenya’s population between the age of 15 and 64 is expected to hit 45 million by 2035.
We already know how the young population will be making decisions on where and how they will live: they are coming to the cities and other urban centres. UN-Habitat has warned us about that.
Yet according to the 2013 Housing Survey, Kenya will have a deficit of about 2 million houses over the next 10 years but that is only if the population remains static, and we know it will not.
The deficit will therefore be larger, unless we act now. This reality has real and clear implication for housing.
It is a two-dimension crisis. First, it is a crisis of a young and vibrant workforce coming into the cities and who will need housing affordable and decent housing. Yet the towns they are coming to already have too few houses.
Secondly, the cities that are attracting new immigrants already have droves of dwellers who cannot afford or find decent affordable housing.
The result has been and will be obvious; the creation and proliferation of new slums.
Now more than ever before, we need partnerships; with the UN, with the Private Sector and with all employers so we can help house our people today and well into the future.
We need more players to commit to work directly with the government in financing housing projects in Kenya or to alleviate the problem by investing in provision of housing for employees.
We need partnerships that will enable Kenyans access mortgages to buy or build own houses.
With housing identified as a key national development agenda, policies are being put in place to bolster the financial architecture of Kenya’s housing market.
The policies should ensure partnerships for primary housing supply, primary mortgage lending and lines of credit to financial institutions for the promotion of access to decent and affordable housing.
Although our primary focus is urban housing, we must not end here.
The time has come for Kenya and Africa to go beyond cities and towns with regard to housing and move into rural areas where housing patterns is crippling other land uses and inhibiting economic growth.
With UN-Habitat, we can plan better our rural areas to ensure sustainable housing that does not interfere with other land uses for economic gain while at the same time ensuring that even rural populations have well designed housing with commensurate sanitation.
Finally, I notice that the housing units we are launching today belong to the Habitat Housing Co-operative Society. This is a manifestation of the power of cooperative pooling of resources and saving. It is my hope that UN-Habitat can encourage such a culture among other employers in Kenya to enable employees provide own houses for themselves and other needy Kenyans.
Thank you.

Public Lecture at Duke University

Public Lecture at Duke University

Africa: A Time for Sustained Optimism?
Public Lecture by Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga, EGH.
Duke University
October 23, 2018

It is always a great pleasure and honor to speak in a prestigious academic institution. It gives me an opportunity to share my vision of Africa with the next generations of leaders across the globe.
This is a vision I have developed through decades of struggle for democracy, justice and pursuit of equality and prosperity for all Africans.

These interactions also provide time for reflection away from the constant hassle of politics at home. As you well know, politics is rewarding to the extent that it makes nations great. But at times, it can also be extremely brutal both to the politician and the nation.
I therefore like listening to both accomplished and aspiring scholars to enrich my thoughts on the way forward for my country, Kenya and for Africa and I must admit I have benefitted immensely from these engagements and I know the experience in Duke can only make the experience better.

I thank the Duke University, and my host, Dr. Giovanni Zelnada, the Director of the Duke Center for International and Global studies, for this opportunity.
Today, I will argue that an African Miracle is possible. It is slowly but steadily taking shape as the continent addresses the critical issues that have held it back.

I do not use the term, “miracle”, lightly. The World Bank assembled a group of most prominent economists and constituted the Commission on Growth and Development in 2006. The team reported that since 1950, only 13 countries sustained economic growth at 7 percent or higher for 25 years. These 13 countries are all from East Asia, except a few, that include Brazil and, importantly, Botswana.
The Commission reports that “some people view these cases as ‘economic miracles,’ events impossible to explain and unlikely to be repeated.”

I am adhering to the same high standard of a miracle when I state that an African miracle is possible.
Many of you might find my view puzzling. After all, globalization, that fueled economic growth over the last seven decades, appears to be ending.
The principle of multilateralism, that underpins the current world economic order, is also under attack.
And Democracy, that in my view underwrites long-term social and economic stability, appears to be in retreat worldwide.

There have been some setbacks in Africa too.
According to a report of Credit Suisse, Africa’s share of world wealth is not even 1 per cent.
Wealth per household in Africa actually fell by 1.9 per cent from 2016 to 2017 whereas it rose by 8.8 per cent here in North America.
It is hard to imagine that an economic regime that allows such monstrous inequality can be sustained. It will surely cause a populist revolt in one form or another. Migration from Africa to Europe is a manifestation of such tension.

So you may ask, what is then the source of this Afro-optimism amid such global pessimism? You may also say “we heard this African miracle story about 15 years ago. But it proved short-lived.”
And you are actually right to doubt. The collapse of commodity boom revealed that Africa is still vulnerable to a downturn of commodity prices.

I am aware that the Asian miracle was driven by exports of manufactured goods to open and growing markets in Europe, U.S. and Japan. Such a favorable environment does not exist today. Manufacturing in Africa has actually been declining by 2 per cent annually. Some say that as China upgrades its economic structure, a huge room will be left open for basic light manufacturing for Africa.
But even if it does, I doubt that low value products can be a basis for closing the huge gap between Africa and the developed and emerging economies.
Therefore, we will not create an African miracle by emulating the East Asian model. I envision that our own African growth model will drive an African miracle. Sustained high economic growth in the continent will be driven by African unity and political and economic integration.

I am not advocating an inward-looking protectionist policy here. I am aware that such policy failed in Latin America decades ago.
African markets will remain open to every country in the world. Indeed, we will promote free and fair trade. But, the main driver will be the growth of African markets. Let me give you an example.
In Africa, intra-continental travelers are often bound to illogical and time-consuming routes via Europe and the Middle East when flying between African countries. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) projects that if just 12 key African countries opened their markets and increased intra-continent connectivity, an extra 155,000 jobs and US$1.3 billion in annual GDP would be created in those countries.

In January this year, the African Union (AU) launched the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) to transform intra-African air travel, lower costs and increase connectivity.
Under the SAATM, African countries have already relaxed visa restrictions for African citizens. We also launched an African Union Passport for heads of states and senior officials in 2006, and we plan to distribute it to all Africans by 2020.

Let me underscore that the SAATM is only one of several components of Agenda 2063 whose guiding vision is the creation of “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in international arena.”
I, like many African leaders, fully subscribe to this Vision.
As you know, Africa’s intra-regional trade is very small. In 2016, intra-African exports made up only 18 percent of total exports of African countries. This compares poorly to 59 per cent for intra-Asia and 69 per cent for intra-Europe exports. The figures for imports are similar.

In 2017, intra-regional exports of sub-Saharan Africa amounted to only $68.8 billion. The continent’s GDP was $1,648.8 billion. So, intra-regional exports were a pitiful 4.17 per cent of GDP.
If we triple intra-regional exports, we can increase the continent’s GDP by more than 8 percentage points. This will go a long way to achieve a 7 per cent economic growth.
In March this year, 44 African nations signed the Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) under which the nations commit to cut tariffs on 90 percent of goods.
This is a big progress considering that there have been multitudes of overlapping sub-regional trade agreements and customs unions. CFTA now creates geographically the largest free trade zone in the global economy.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) projects that the simplification of border controls and the drops in duties and other costs will boost intra-regional trade by 52 per cent in five years. We still have work to do at the highest political level to complete CFTA.
Eleven (11) African nations have yet to sign the agreement, and this includes the continent’s two largest economies, i.e., South Africa and Nigeria. But I am confident that both countries will come on board as they regain sound economic footing following the next elections – Nigeria in early 2019 and South Africa in 2020.

The political will and determination to fully implement the CFTA exists. Once implemented, it will be the catalyst that moves the region toward high levels of intra-regional trade.
The foundation for development lies in a well-educated and healthy cadre of human beings. Africa’s population is young and growing fastest in the world.
In the coming decades, Africa’s population will double to some two billion people, and many of them will be under 18. This could bring tremendous opportunities for economic growth. Young Africans are tremendously entrepreneurial, talented and dynamic.

These young Africans could harness new technologies and ignite a new dynamism for growth but only if they are well educated, trained and healthy. Here too, Africa is making a major stride.

The working age population (age 15 – 64), who either had no formal education at all or did not complete primary school, declined from nearly 90 per cent in 1960 to less than 50 per cent in 2010. The working age population with primary and secondary education completed rose from about 10 per cent to more than 40 per cent over the same period.

Granted that the quality of education, particularly in the primary and secondary levels is unsatisfactory. Also, too many young children grow stunted because of inadequate care and nutrition during their first 1000 days of life.
We, African leaders, are now keenly aware of these challenges. It will take time, given limited financial resources and qualified teachers available. But, in a decade or two, you will see major progress in overcoming the challenges of quality of education and care in early childhood too.

We will harness diversity in careers and jobs. We will encourage entrepreneurship, arts and sports. We will encourage venture capital.
Realizing an African miracle, i.e., sustaining economic growth at 7 per cent per year, of course requires investment. The World Bank, IMF, World Economic Forum and our American friends have been telling us to implement reforms to make it easier to do business.

Many African countries have made important reforms to do so and I am sure that other African countries will follow.
But, is this how China and India have succeeded in attracting huge amounts of foreign investment? I hear that having a very large market – and expectations of an even bigger market – and a well-educated and disciplined labor force is the key to attract investment.
This is exactly what we are doing in Africa through the establishment of a pan African common market with strong regional infrastructure and through our commitment to education.

Our commitment to education includes higher education, in particular in science and technology. This requires the transfer of science and technology from the West, including from universities.
I therefore support strong collaboration between universities in the U.S. and our counterparts in Africa.
Africa should not be forever destined to be an exporter of unprocessed mineral and agricultural resources. We need money and technology for value-addition of our resources. This will be the basis for industrialization of the African continent.

I said earlier that intra-continental trade will be a major driver of economic growth in Africa. I am aware that people cannot trade unless huge infrastructure deficits in the continents are addressed. It is estimated that the cost of transport in Africa is on average 50-175 per cent higher than other parts of the world.

Let me repeat. The insufficient infrastructure networks across the continent have limited cross-border flows of trade, capital, information, and people. It has drastically affected Africa’s growth and broader development performance and regional integration. Improving land transportation is an imperative to development.

That is why last week; I accepted the appointment by the Africa Union Commission as High Representative for Infrastructure Development Championing to spearhead the modernization and upgrading of selected Trans African Highway Corridors and their missing links.
One of my main tasks will be to garner political buy in and ownership of member states as well as ownership of regional economic communities.

I strongly believe that the existence of a reliable infrastructure of roads and railways, running North to South, East to West of Africa, is critical to opening up the Continent and making it the gateway to the 21st century. You must have heard of the Trans-African Highway; the hugely ambitious, grand project, launched in 1971.

It is a network of nine highways which, when connected, will cover a combined total of 60,000 kilometers across the continent. One of them will stretch 8,000 kilometers between Cairo and Dakar; another for 8,000 kilometers between Cairo and Cape Town; a third for 6,000 kilometers between Lagos and Mombasa; and a fourth for 4,700 kilometers between Dakar and Lagos.
Only one of nine highways has been completed so far. That is the Trans-Sahelian Highway, which runs 4,500 kilometers between Dakar in Senegal and N’Djamena in Chad. Although the others are only partially finished, countries are progressively opening them section-by-section. It is just one example of what we plan to complete.

There are also gigantic steps forward in rail transport as the new vision of Africa takes shape.
One of those steps is a modern rail line between Ethiopia and Djibouti that has recently been opened.
Another big project is the East African Rail Master Plan. This is a proposal to rejuvenate lines among Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and Ethiopia. It is estimated to cost $13.8 billion.
The first section was inaugurated in June this year, covering Nairobi and Mombasa.
With the support of all the relevant institutions and offices of the AU Commission and the Continent’s partners, I will make full use of my position as the AU High Representative for Infrastructure Development to push Africa closer to the realization of the dreams of our founding fathers.
Our founding fathers envisaged a united and interconnected Continent that enjoys easy movement of goods and its citizens.

As we build strong infrastructure and human capital, I am confident that Africa will accelerate and sustain higher economic growth. But, growth that enriches only the rich is not what we want. We must ensure lasting peace and stability, that requires shared prosperity.

One of the biggest threats to the shared prosperity is Corruption.
I accept that it has been difficult to fight corruption on the continent. I admit that even in Kenya, where I have joined President Kenyatta in waging a campaign against corruption, many remain skeptical. But I see a turning point. Now, in most African countries, people’s voice can no longer be ignored.

My friend, President John Magufuli of Tanzania, won the election for the ruling CCM party, riding on the wave of public discontent about corruption and he has since made huge gains toward eradicating the crime.
In Kenya too, we have taken strong actions against corruption, and will continue to do so. Our actions are having a strong positive impact.

Alongside fighting corruption, we must renew faith in democracy. As a true and strong believer in democracy, I urge Europe and U.S. not to forsake the democratic values and sanctity of human right for the sake of partnership in anti-terrorism or for interest of their own private businesses.
Democracy will enable our people to believe in policies and ideologies instead of ethnic affiliation, or what we call “negative ethnicity”.

Kenya nearly broke apart in 2007-2008 because of ethnic driven politics. The country was on an edge once again following the last election in 2017.
Kenyans are now saying ‘we cannot continue living like this. We can’t continue living as Kikuyus, Luos, Kalenjins, Luhyas, Kisii, miji Kenda, etc.” It has to stop. Tanzanians have done it right from independence to date. It is Kenya’s turn to do it.
When I sat down with my partner in the Grand Coalition Government former President Mwai Kibaki a few months ago, he was struggling to understand why Africans go to international forums, talk boldly and loudly about continental unity, then go back home and start fighting tribe against another. It is curious and puzzling indeed.

I sat down with President Kenyatta and agreed to launch a new journey, to a new Kenya; a Kenya where elections are not civil wars, where winners and losers embrace and where corruption is not a way of life. We also agreed to set up a taskforce to deal with issues we identified to be holding the country and to prevent their recurrence in future.

And we will be urging other African leaders to follow our example. We need your support as leaders in academia and as diaspora. We need America’s support by standing up for, not against the ideals of democracy.
Then we will deliver the African dream, which will propel the world into a better and more prosperous and secure 21st century.
For all my life, I have been a Pan-Africanist and an Afro-optimist. My Afro-optimism never waiver. It remains stronger today than ever before.
Thank you.

Appointment as AU Representative

Appointment as AU Representative


Hon Raila Odinga wishes to thank the African Union Commission and the chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat for the appointment to the position of High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa earlier today.

Hon. Odinga regards the appointment as a great honour that he is ready to take up with dedication and humility, well aware of the challenges that come with it.

Hon Odinga further expresses deep appreciation to President Uhuru Kenyatta for the support and promises to do all in his power towards the realisation of the pan-African agenda that he and the president are passionate about.

Mr Odinga considers infrastructure, particularly roads and railways, running North to South, East to West of Africa, critical to opening up the Continent and making it the gateway to the 21st century.

With the support of all the relevant institutions and offices of the AU Commission and the Continent’s partners that he promises to work closely with, Hon Odinga promises to use the position to push Africa closer to the realisation of the dreams of its founding fathers who envisaged a united and interconnected Continent that enjoys easy movement of goods and its citizens.
Dennis Onyango
October 20, 2018.

Met AU Commission Chair

Met AU Commission Chair

Addis Ababa;
October 18, 2018

H.E Raila Odinga has held talks with the chairperson of the African Union Commission Mr Moussa Faki.

The Wednesday evening talks on the Africa 2063 agenda took place at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa.

Mr Odinga was accompanied by Kenya’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti who is also Permanent Representative to AU, IGAD and UNECA Ms Catherine Muigai Mwangi.

Mr Odinga flew to Ethiopia from Nairobi on Wednesday afternoon for the meeting with the AU Commission chairperson. Mr Odinga returned to Nairobi from China on Tuesday evening.

He returns to Nairobi from Ethiopia early Thursday.
Dennis Onyango
October 18, 2018.



Distinguished guests, graduates and alumni;
Let me begin with a special word of welcome not only to the graduating Class of 2018 but also to all of you here who may someday be members of some graduating class of the Kenya Methodist University; the Class of 2019, or 2020 or the class of 2022.
I also commend the Methodist Church in Kenya for its outstanding contribution to education which has seen KEMU become the first private university in Kenya to graduate medical doctors and surgeons.
You graduate at a time of great change and momentous challenges that include a difficult economy; debt and tax burdens, corruption and unemployment.
I want to assure all of you that as leaders, we are going all out and doing what was once unthinkable to address these problems and bequeath you a better country.
President Bill Clinton said that if he were to sum up his view of public life, it would come down to… “Are people better off when you quit than when you started? Do children have a brighter future? Are things coming together instead of being torn apart?” I fully subscribe to this view.
Many of you here call me Baba, and I accept the title with all humility. I want to assure you that as a father, I am determined to ensure that things work for you, that you have a brighter future and that Kenyans are better off when I quit than when I started. This is the reason we agreed with President Uhuru Kenyatta to put aside everything else and work for Kenya.
To help us realize this dream, I wish to appeal to the youth to aspire to higher ideals that they shall never compromise on for the sake of Kenya. Our youth must constantly ask; “Is there anything I have to put myself on the line for, for the sake of my community, my neighbor and my country or am I living in vain?
I want the youth of Kenya to believe that success comes from hard work and playing by the rules; not short cuts and shady deals. That is the only way to build a country that cares for of all citizens and stands the tests of survival.
I am aware that as youth, you did not create the divided, tribal, corrupt and unequal Kenya that you find yourselves in. But you can use your education to stop these ills. On that journey, I will cover your backs and walk with you.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Kenya needs to move forward in its economy, politics and social programs. What will make Kenya a better place for our children and earn it respect among nations, is knowledge.
That knowledge will come from three things that I wish to raise strongly at this congregation. These three things are; One, research, Two, research, Three, research.
Even in these hard economic times, we need to regard research as an indispensable investment in our future. Without research, we are sitting ducks in a rapidly and constantly changing world. Without research, we are fighting in the dark and hoping to develop by chance.
I believe we have to cut our coat according to our size as a country. I am therefore not insisting on research that secures us more patents than any other country or that wins us Nobel prizes for science, important as these are.
I am calling on our country to begin by investing in and supporting more of basic research that is meant to teach us rather than to invent or develop new products. That will have to be led by our universities.
We need to factor in and assign research components of each flagship project of our development agenda to a specific university based on the known strength of that university.
The truth however is that research is underfunded and ranks dangerously low in our list of priorities.
While UNESCO recommends that nations spend 2 to 3 per cent of their GDP on research, we spend only 0.8 per cent of our GDP on research.
How then will our children catch up with South Korea, for instance, which spends 4.3 per cent of its GDP on research?
Our government needs to set specific goals and targets for university contribution to national development goals.
As a country, we need to agree that each year; we will devote more money to research and a clear list of the projects to be financed and why they matter.
We will then need to link these projects with industries so that their results lead to new and better and competitive products.
I believe that until and unless that is done, our universities will continue to lag behind others in research while our governments will continue to record long lists of projects that failed to take off.
I am aware that we are straining and hurting economically and some will say we have no money to spare for such futuristic projects. But nations are built through hard choices and sacrifices.
We must always be willing to sacrifice our comfort today to ensure the comfort of the next generation.
For our universities to transform our society and meet international expectations, quality assurance is critical. This is a role the Commission for University Education (CUE) and the Ministry of Education must play without fear or favour with regard to courses and curriculum.
We also need to jealously guard the value of education by mounting a vicious crackdown on the fake and undeserved degrees that are sprouting in Kenya.
We must be merciless with people, including politicians who obtain degrees without having stepped in any classroom. Kenya must be led by people who have earned the papers they present for leadership positions.
As we pursue standards, we must listen to and address the concerns of key stakeholders especially private universities like KEMU as well as by the faculty of all universities. These bodies have raised concern about the apparent attempt to micromanage the design and delivery of courses and even to supervise and evaluate lecturers by the CUE. This approach threatens to make universities identical and undermine their autonomy.

Individual institutions must be allowed to create their niches and design innovative programs that differentiate them in the job market, win them global recognition and enable them bring different capacities to the building of our nation.
I am aware that our universities are struggling with funding challenges with public institutions hardest hit. This is making it difficult particularly for the public universities to meet even basic statutory commitments to NHIF, NSSF, Pensions funds, and staff Saccos.
Some universities are even unable to remit PAYE deductions.
Our society needs to adopt the philanthropic culture that has seen the rich in the developed world support scholarships, endowment funds and capital campaigns in their universities. We must also crackdown on wastage and outright theft of resources in our universities.
Universities are not got going to inspire hope when they are steeped in the bad habits of primitive acquisition, corruption and impunity.
We also need to continue reviewing our policies to promote private investment in higher education. Currently, there is disquiet among private universities that the formulation and implementation of some government policies put them at a disadvantage.
These concerns have to be addressed to enable private universities help the country shoulder the burden of providing education.
Finally; I have spoken in some detail about research and each time we talk about research, we think of the hard sciences. Today, I want to remind this congregation of another kind of research spoken of by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt over 70 years ago when he said…
“If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships—the ability of all people, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world, at peace.”
Kenya has been, and remains too divided to stand. We must work together to put the pieces that make Kenya back in place. This work of putting the pieces back together is what President Uhuru Kenyatta and I have been up to since the 9th of March.
We have been able to bring calm, tone down the rhetoric and prepare the country for a sober debate on what matters.
Like Roosevelt, I ask that if you want to measure our success, judge us by the enemies we have made. The agents of hate and division have attempted to declare war on the noble cause for unity and peace. We must resist and shun such people.
I appeal to Kenyans to embrace the idea that ‘Competition is useful up to a certain point and no further and that cooperation begins where competition ends. Cooperation is what we must strive for today, it is what the president and I have chosen and we want history to judge us by it.
Let’s join hands in this journey. I wish success in all your pursuits.
Thank you.



Hon Raila Odinga has left the country for about a week to attend the burial of former UN Secretary General Dr. Kofi Annan in Ghana before proceeding to the U.S.
Mr. Odinga left the country this afternoon for a brief stop-over in the United Arab Emirates before proceeding to Ghana for Dr Anna’s burial on September 13, 2018.
From Ghana, Mr. Odinga will proceed to the US where is scheduled to deliver a lecture at Duke University in North Carolina. He will also deliver lectures at the George Washington University and at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a non-profit think tank that specializes in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. The CFR lecture will take place at the organization’s Washington, DC offices.
While in the US, Mr. Odinga is also scheduled to hold talks with government and business leaders.



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.



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.



;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.