Raila Odinga

Category: News



AUGUST 15, 2019:
H.E Raila Odinga this morning received Trade and Industry Cabinet Secretary Hon. Peter Munya for a briefing on the setting up of the Special Economic Zone in Kisumu, the revival of KICOMI and related projects in the region.
The CS was accompanied by the CEO of the Special Economic Zones authority Dr. Meshack Kimeu and the acting CEO of the Export Processing Zones Authority Mr. George Makateto. They were joined by the governor of Kisumu County Prof. Peter Anyang Nyongo.
Mr. Odinga expressed satisfaction with progress towards setting up the SEZ in Kisumu, including the acquisition of more land and efforts to rope in some of the existing industries to be part of the SEZ. He similarly appreciated work on revival of KICOMI including work undertaken to assess its current state and possible sources for funding for both projects.
He asked the ministry to fastrack both projects in close collaboration with the county government and local institutions of higher learning. Mr. Odinga further called on the ministry to factor in agricultural activities in addition to industries in setting up the SEZ and the revival of KICOMI.
AUGUST 15, 2019.



(AJEA 2019); AUGUST 9, 2019:
I am honoured to join you at this event where we take stock of the state of our media and reward excellence in journalism. I am equally happy to meet so many friends from this profession in this congregation.
Media Accountability and Good governance, which am informed is the theme for this year, makes for an interesting subject at a very interesting time for our country. These two are at war as we speak.
There is a quiet transition taking place in our country. Many are yet to come to accept or terms with it. It is one of the interesting things happening in our country that Kenyans are counting on the media to capture and explain, accurately and accountably. We are also in the middle of a tug of war on corruption and envisaged constitutional reforms.
We have a corruption war in which suspects have tried to control and shape the narrative and even provide some kind of live feed. Their narrative is that the war is a witch hunt. In an atmosphere that is increasingly getting too charged and too emotional too early, we have seen a war being waged on the reputations of journalists and entire media houses.
So, despite the general calm, we are actually in the middle of a toxic engagement that can be confused and confusing.
I want to begin therefore by acknowledging our media for the courage to steer the conversation back to what really matters. We have seen the media do some exemplary reporting particularly on the emotive subjects of corruption and governance.
Where we have been baited to discuss witch hunt or no witch hunt, the media have pushed back and refocused the debate to the issue of whether we have corruption or not in the first place and whether there is abuse of power and office in this country or not. It is a commendable effort that we have to acknowledge. That did not begin today though.
Over the decades, our media has distinguished itself through bold coverage of issues ranging from corruption to governance to politics and human rights.
That bold exposition has triggered debate that made Kenyans participate actively in the affairs of their country and prevented us from sliding to the abyss like many others in Africa.
You have sustained the crusading tradition that helped this country overcome the single party era and also made us realize a new constitution.
We have been through Goldenberg, Saba Saba riots, the Anglo Leasing and now the dams scandal to mention a few of the mega corruptions that the media have boldly shaped conversation on. It is a glorious tradition that you must continue and safeguard against those who want to trash and trample on it.
Like everywhere else, the media in Kenya are far from perfect. They make big mistakes. Sometimes the mistakes seem deliberate or sponsored to use a Kenyan word while others look like normal human error. Whatever the case, any mistake by the media, no matter the cause, often has grave ramifications. I therefore want to encourage you to always realize that as journalists, you are writers of the early drafts of history.
Historians, biographers and future politicians and other leaders in all fields will draw heavily from the early drafts that you write today.
It is a heavy responsibility you must bear with extreme care, without emotions or feelings.
Like every other public figure, I have occasionally felt maligned and misunderstood by the media.
But I reject the attempt to generalize that into some kind of vendetta and a permanent war against the journalists.
I remain opposed to any kind of threats to or any organized campaign against the credibility of the media or individual journalists.
But let us face it. I know that our media feel embattled right now because of the atmosphere of mistr…




Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure and a privilege to be with you this morning for this year’s National Youth Week.
The theme of the “Intersection Between Education and Global Opportunities” ties well with Goal Number Four of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, that requires governments to ensure inclusive and sustainable quality education that promotes lifelong learning opportunities for all.

I congratulate the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs for the dedicated coordination of the observance of this day and for recent initiatives, including the transformation of our National Youth Service to ensure it serves our young people and our country.

Distinguished guests,
The Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey Labor Force Basic Report in 2016 shows that youth who lack early learning and basic education are the most vulnerable and most likely to experience unemployment.
We all know youth unemployment is a bomb waiting explode not only in Kenya but also across Africa and much of the world.
We must therefore adequately transform education to become a powerful tool for achieving the 2030 agenda for sustainable development of our national Big 4 Agenda. We must work at making education provide young people with a realistic, affordable and attractive path to productive employment.
Kenya has made robust strides in education over the last seven years with youth access to education improving significantly.
I am aware that Gross Enrollment Rate improved from 69.4 per cent in 2012 to 77. 1 per cent in 2017. By January, 2019, we had attained a 93 per cent transition rate from primary to secondary levels of education.
Despite these strides, education mismatch with the industry remains a big challenge. While there are more educated young people looking for work, employers say they cannot find the skills they need. The labour market is suffering from this significant skills mismatch.
The qualifications and experiences that young job seekers possess clearly do not to align with what employers are looking for.
This means that even as young people struggle to find work—and millions are out there seeking jobs—many high-skilled jobs remain unfilled.
Left without the type of training they need to meet the demand for highly specialized skilled labour, young people especially in the developing world risk being left behind further.

There is therefore need to do more to focus young people, employers, and education providers on improving employment readiness. There is need to give our students more and better-quality information about different career paths. There is also need for our education to focus more on what happens to students after they leave school.

Education providers have no option but to work more closely with employers to make sure they are offering courses that really help young people prepare for the workplace. We must also do away with a situation where employers sit and wait for the right applicants to show up at their doorsteps. We need to create an environment where employers and education providers work closely to design curriculum that fits business needs.
We must work on providing on-the-job apprenticeship system that has worked for other thriving economies.
In some advanced economies like China and Germany, employers even participate in teaching by providing instructors.

This is an area in which the United Nations has a lot to share with the government and partners present here today.
As a country, we are agreed that transforming education to connect with local and global opportunities is a MUST if we want to succeed and be among the world leaders.

I am informed that it is against this background that the government has rolled out the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) with the aim of emphasizing the significance of developing skills and knowledge and also applying those competencies to real life situations.

I am further informed that the focus of CBC is to inculcate competencies in seven key areas namely: communication and collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, creativity and imagination, citizenship, digital literacy, learning to learn and self-efficacy.

This is expected to lead to the emergence of innovative and transformative minds from our education system able to provide solutions to the challenges besetting our society.
We are alive to the fact that the technological changes sweeping the globe, including rapid advances in automation, artificial intelligence and robotics will likely worsen the problem of mismatch between skills and employment opportunities.

I am aware that it is in this regard that the ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender is implementing the Kenya Youth Empowerment and Opportunities Project with the support of a Ksh15 billion grant from the World Bank.
The program is currently being implemented in 17 counties seeking to provide skills to the youth and increasing their employment and earning opportunities through training and entrepreneurship support.

It is our wish that the agencies present here join hands to expand and upscale the program to cover the entire country.
The government is also implementing the Ajira Digital Project being spearheaded by the Ministry of Information and communication Technology to empower over one million young people to access digital job opportunities.
If implemented according to plan, the project will position Kenya as a choice labor destination for multinational companies as well as encourage local companies and public sector to create digital and online work.

The government is also striving to reform and revamp the National Youth Service to make it more responsive to current demands.
This institution holds tremendous potential and needs support to enable it cater especially for segments of our youth that are not geared towards white-collar employment.

I know many of us associate the institution with corruption but I note with satisfaction that many structural, management, procurement and financial changes have taken place.
All these efforts ladies and gentlemen, are geared towards addressing the problem of youth unemployment and ensuring education meets the practical needs of our people. We need your helping hand and your cooperation.
I thank you.



26 July 2019:
Mombasa, Kenya
I am honored to be here with this team on whose shoulders rest our hopes for a speedy integration of the Continent.
Let me state from the onset that I recognize and appreciate the work you have done and continue to do and the efforts you put in mainstreaming infrastructure as a tool for Africa’s integration.
That we will never grow or prosper without good transport connections is now well understood.
That is why we are all agreed on the need for a policy to put in place a powerful regional and continental transport network across the 54 States to promote growth and competitiveness. We are agreed that we must connect East with West and North with South.
As a pan-Africanist, I am extremely gratified that the subject of intra-African trade and integration is becoming a common subject on the lips of both the political class and technocrats across the continent.
In recent years, all our governments have made bold commitments to pursue this integration agenda.
As you are all aware, the idea of a united Africa is as old as the Continent itself.
I therefore want to encourage each of you to see yourselves as critical players in the final lap of a historic race that our fathers started but never got to finish.
The dream now looks more real than ever. We have to pursue it with pride and a sense of history and duty.
As members and officials of the Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Authority, you have your work cut out for you with regard to creating an interconnected Continent that trades with itself and depends less on aid.
You have to transform the trade route into an economic development corridor. You will do it by promoting efficient, inclusive and competitive transport by road, air, rail, pipelines, and inland waterways and through efficient customs and border controls.

The Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Agreement (NCTTA) treaty with its 11 protocols was signed in 1985 and revised in 2007 to facilitate regional cooperation with a view TO facilitating interstate and transit trade. Some progress has been made. The question we now need to address is; where are we today? How have we faired?
We have to agree that implementation of the commitments is still wanting.
The Northern Corridor road network in all six Member States is approximately 14,108Km in length. To date, only about 28.4 per cent of the road network is in good condition. That is a pointer to the existence of problems with our goals. Many sections of this corridor, like the Mbarara-Kisangani highway, Bangui-Kisangani-Kampala and Kisangani-Bujumbura corridors to mention a few have not gone past bilateral talks with donors or are stuck at Joint Technical Committees.
The coming of the Standard Gauge Railway Phase One from Mombasa to Nairobi has moved some 5 million tonnes of freight and 3 million passengers off the roads. However, the bulk of imports and exports destined to and from countries in the Corridor are still transported by road. Less than 4 per cent of the cargo transported along the Northern corridor relies on rail transport because our commitments here are running late too.
Kenya is prioritizing the Construction of SGR Phase 2A, which is a 120 kilometre stretch from Nairobi through Mai Mahiu to Naivasha. The project successful completion date is set for 30th September 2019. But it is a line to nowhere if other Northern Corridor states don’t complete their sections.
It would appear that national priorities are still taking precedence over regional and continental dreams.
Member States have not prioritized improving the quality of transport networks in order to improve the regional trade, investments and trade and spur economic development along the region.
The Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority needs to move with speed and fast track the improvement of existing meter gauge lines and the development of the Standard Gauge Railway for all Northern Corridor Member States.
Kenya and Uganda had undertaken to rehabilitate sections of the meter gauge railway network. However, some of these rehabilitation projects were overtaken by the commissioning of the Standard Gauge Railway. Our member states need to move with speed to jointly develop the SGR as a regional project.
We have seen commendable efforts in development of port infrastructure and inland waterways within the Northern Corridor.
There is commendable progress with regard to studies on safety and improvement of navigability of our inland waterways.
In Kenya, we have prioritized the renovation of the Kisumu Port with capacity for 600,000 tonnes and the expansion and modernization of the Nairobi Inland Container Depot with capacity for 405,000 TEUs.
A successful renovation and opening of Kisumu port will be a big boost to the Northern Corridor.
As we know, Lake Victoria is the primary inland waterway servicing both the central and northern corridors with capacity link East Africa to the Atlantic Ocean via River Congo.
I am aware that similar port upgrade activities are going on or are planned for Port Bell, Bujumbura and Kisangani. There is equally good potential in lakes Albert, Edward, Kivu, and Tanganyika, and the Kagera and Nile rivers which need to be harnessed.
Development of the petroleum product pipeline from Eldoret to Kigali through Kampala has been unable to proceed as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project. We need speed from the Ministries of finance in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda who have been directed to source financing for this project.
In all cases of development planning at regional or continental level, there is always conflict between national and regional priorities.
Integration or lack of it is often the outcome of regional politics. It requires goodwill.
The point we often miss is that a number of our national priorities could be solved through greater integration. Delivery of infrastructure on a regional scale remains a sure bet to spur trade and manufacturing that creates jobs. Today, we have 16 landlocked countries on the Continent, which we have to open up and help achieve the economies of scale and be competitive internationally.
No amount of planning at national level will open them up. Only regional integration will link them to the external world and open them up for trade and investment.
We must find ways to maximize the synergies among our state and the sub-regional bodies to speed up regional connectivity. This is especially important in the area of financing of regional infrastructure projects, which appears to be a problem.
It is not possible to finance transnational infrastructure projects solely from national budgets. That is a fact. We must therefore court and nurture public-private partnerships (PPPs) and other new funding schemes.
Many of our countries are struggling to meet the requirements for their own domestic infrastructure development.
This means there is a wide financing gap for the private sector to fill in not just in the Northern Corridor but across Africa.
For us to attract PPPs, we have to work on a joint enabling environment. This will include common legal and governance frameworks. In some cases, these exist on paper but are being frustrated by old bureaucracies or nationalist feelings. There cannot be a shortage of capital to finance our infrastructure needs given the renewed interest on Africa. We are at that point and that moment where investors and governments across the world realize that they have something to gain from a prosperous Africa. They are looking for our success in upgrading our infrastructure and they have an interest in working with us and with private contractors to contribute to success.
We are seeing significant improvements in our fiscal policies and in key economic sectors. There are prospects for overall economic recovery and the political leadership is looking ready to embrace far reaching commitments to turn these promises into reality. But such moments never last forever; and we are not the only region or continent plotting a takeoff. Our challenge is to seize the moment while it is with us. Our challenge is to implement strong legal and regulatory frameworks that are in harmony across member states.
Then we will need to work closely and transparently with our development partners and multilateral agencies to facilitate PPPs and other new funding schemes.
As we invest in the infrastructure of transport, we also have to invest in peace, security and political stability if regionalism has to take off or bear fruits.
Many parts of Africa remain unreachable because of years of war that either destroyed existing infrastructure or made it impossible for regimes to invest in infrastructure.
In the end, what will make our efforts succeed is our faith that a more integrated and connected Africa will be a stronger player in global affairs and a master of its fate and destiny.
Thank you.



JULY 18, 2019
Ladies and gentlemen;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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



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

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

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



JUNE 26, 2019:

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

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

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

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