Raila Odinga

Category: press

STATEMENT BY RT. HON RAILA ODINGA ON THE NOMINATION OF Ms. MWENDE MWINZI AS AMBASSADOR TO THE REOUBLC OF KOREA:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

REMARKS OF H. E RAILA ODINGA AT THE LAUNCH OF PRESIDENTIAL OR PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY IN KENYA; CHOICES TO BE MADE:

REMARKS OF H. E RAILA ODINGA AT THE LAUNCH OF PRESIDENTIAL OR PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY IN KENYA; CHOICES TO BE MADE:

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

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA; EGH, AT THE OPENING OF THE 42ND SESSION OF OATUU GENERAL COUNCIL

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA; EGH, AT THE OPENING OF THE 42ND SESSION OF OATUU GENERAL COUNCIL

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA; EGH, AT THE OPENING OF THE 42ND SESSION OF OATUU GENERAL COUNCIL;
Stanley Hotel
Nairobi-Kenya
20th September 2019

It is a great honour for me to join you at this important conference where you focus on advancing Social Justice, promoting decent work and evaluating the role of Trade Unions. As you are all aware, Kenya has a history with the Labour Movement both in Africa and globally. We have a history of established trade unionists who have made a mark across the globe and the current efforts led by brother Francis Atwoli follow this great and established tradition. We support his efforts.
This conference is taking place at a very trying and changing time in the world of labour and work in general. But it is also happening at a very hopeful moment for Africa. Africa is today one of the fastest-growing regions in the world. Our middle class is rising and is projected to grow to more than one billion consumers in the decades ahead.
It is happening partly because of our workers and the economic and political reforms we have pursued in the last two decades. We are also meeting at a time the Continent is prioritizing continental integration and trade as the key new drivers of economic growth as envisaged in the Africa 2063 agenda that we are all committed to.
That commitment is seen in the recent formation of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the new focus on intra Africa trade. The economic take-off we envisage will however not be realized without adequate attention to our workers and the work environment. It must therefore create more impetus for a deeper look into our world of work and the plight of our workers.
That means our workers will need an even stronger and louder voice in the coming decades. It means labour leaders will have to consistently remain on the frontlines of championing the interests and the concerns of the workers and ensure they live and work in dignity.
The challenges ahead call for greater collaboration between Africa’s labour movement and our government to address a number of issues. Our countries need to standardize rules governing the movement of workers; including issuance of work permits and treatment of migrant workers to avoid developments like those recently witnessed on the Continent.
We need to make it easier for our skilled workers to work in and for Africa. Today, partly because of low pay but also because of unclear rules governing acquisition of work permits, a number of our skilled workers find it easier to find work in the western world and only come back home to retire, if they ever return. We must reverse this trend.
Standardization of rules will also have to include reforms that help Africa trade more with itself so that we don’t have to keep looking overseas for trade and skilled labor. It is a challenge our labour leaders must consistently tackle by working in close consultations with our governments. When we trade more, we create work for our people.
Labour movements will also have to work with governments to ensure a speedy modernization of our customs and border crossings to make it easier for us to trade with each other, for workers to move from country to country and for investors to set up shop and provide jobs.

Clear rules of engagement will enable us see each other as partners rather than competitors in the grand plan to make Africa great and competitive.
Often, the unfortunate happenings of struggling Africans turning against fellow struggling Africans are never government policies.
Such happenings result from frustration with the inadequacy of our economies and the smallness of the ugali.
Such acts need to be condemned strongly and punished. However, rather than lead to condemnation of each other, withdrawal from and retaliation against nations where they occur, these acts should be reason for greater collaboration so that our nations are able to cook a bigger cake together. They should be reason for individual nations and regional economic communities to invest more in their economies and greater education of our people to be their brothers and sisters keepers.
Thank you all.
I wish you fruitful deliberations.

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT THE  INAUGURAL CONFERENCE IN AFRICA  “Public Private Partnerships Africa’s Next Big Thing;

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA AT THE INAUGURAL CONFERENCE IN AFRICA “Public Private Partnerships Africa’s Next Big Thing;

KAMPALA, SEPTEMBER 16-18TH 2019.
It is my great pleasure to speak at this important conference on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs).
Our presence here today is an indication of just how things and thinking are changing in Africa.
There is optimism in the continent’s future and new thinking on how to finance the opening up of Africa and all its regions to business, travel and trade. Our countries increasingly recognize the importance of infrastructure to their economic growth and are actively exploring solutions to fund the required development.
There is a new appreciation by our governments that infrastructure bottlenecks will restrict our growth aspirations and are therefore working to provide the infrastructure community with strong value propositions for investment.
As we seek to develop infrastructure, we acknowledge the inadequacies of the traditional mode of infrastructure financing.
To this end, I congratulate the Government of Uganda for this conference that is a clear manifestation of the new thinking to align Africa to the rest of the world with regard to financing infrastructure and related public services.
As a critical gateway to the Continent, eastern Africa needs to position itself to play a significant role in infrastructure financing and development.

We therefore need to begin thinking of innovative financial markets, strong legal system, progressive regulatory framework and ease of funding for purposes of infrastructure.
As you are all aware, strengthening regional integration is identified as a priority and one of the key new drivers of economic growth in the Africa 2063 agenda that we are all committed to.
The formation of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the new focus on intra Africa trade has created more impetus for more investment in regional infrastructure development.
With the creation of the continental free trade area, we entered a new era of infrastructure development.
The new era forces us to provide a diverse set of infrastructure assets on a grand regional scale as an immediate and urgent priority and challenge.
To achieve this goal, we must do what others cross the world have done before or are doing today; which is using Public Private Partnerships to deliver infrastructure and related public services.
Traditional public funding sources for infrastructure are falling far short of the investment needs, hence the necessity to mobilize private funds.
To succeed, we need to put and pursue all options for PPP on the table, like contracts for private-sector-run road maintenance services and Build-Operate-Transfer or BOT agreements.
To date, we lack clear PPP policy as regional bloc. We also suffer low capacity and lack of institutions responsible for driving PPPs and clear laws and customs governing PPPs especially on a regional scale.

There is also the problem of low quality and age of infrastructure, which discourage serious investors from entering PPP deals with us, alongside bureaucratic procedures and fragmented decision-making.
And we suffer from the all-time old problem of Corruption.
For PPPs to take roots and work, governments must take the lead and create necessary conditions and enabling environments.
It is the responsibility of governments to plan and prioritize individual infrastructure investments that are meant for PPPs, in line with policy targets.
This means we need to prioritize reaching broad agreements as a region on what aspects of infrastructure development to prioritize whether it is roads, energy, railways, pipelines, waterways and airports.
Success with PPPs requires that we arm ourselves with policy actions from participating governments as well as a strong high-level political backing.
High level political backing is critical. The World Bank reports that when the N4 Toll Road linking South Africa’s most industrialized, but effectively land-locked northern and eastern regions of Gauteng and Mpumalanga provinces to the Mozambican port of Maputo was completed, it was recognized as a pioneering accomplishment.
It was the first toll road concession signed in Sub-Sahara Africa. It was also the first cross-border transport PPP, and only the second regional PPP in any sector.
Most important is that the project was successful because of high-level support that came directly from the presidents of the two countries.
Our governments need to work together with the private sector and development partners to establish technical assistance facilities dedicated to the identification and preparation of projects.
As a region, we need to develop a short list of well-prepared projects ready for take up on PPP basis.

Luckily, the African Union Commission has prioritized lists of such projects under the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) that aims at interconnecting, integrating and transforming the continent. PIDA projects are good candidates for PPP on regional scale.
The World Bank in its PPI report indicates that Africa is doing badly with regard to PPPs.
The World Bank’s PPI Database has recorded only seven regional infrastructure projects on the African continent since 2000. Five have been transport projects, while; two have been natural gas transmission projects. There is room for us to grow in this sector.
We must work on limiting risks for PPP projects through adequate project selection as well as fair, transparent and competitive bidding process.
Risk mitigation must also include guarantees that Governments will honor their contractual commitments throughout the project lifetime.
Working as a region instead of individual countries, it could become easy for us to tap into the assets managed globally by institutional investors, such as pension funds, insurance companies and sovereign wealth funds for infrastructure projects.
I therefore welcome this initiative by Kampala in the hope that it could be the start of an era of thinking and planning regionally for effective infrastructure development.
I thank everyone for attending and wish you very fruitful deliberations.

REMARKS OF H.E RAILA ODINGA, EGH AT ANNUAL JOURNALISM EXCELLENCE AWARD  (AJEA 2019); AUGUST 9, 2019:

REMARKS OF H.E RAILA ODINGA, EGH AT ANNUAL JOURNALISM EXCELLENCE AWARD (AJEA 2019); AUGUST 9, 2019:

REMARKS OF H.E RAILA ODINGA, EGH AT ANNUAL JOURNALISM EXCELLENCE AWARD
(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…

REMARKS OF RT. HON. RAILA A. ODINGA, EGH, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA DURING THE NATIONAL  YOUTH WEEK

REMARKS OF RT. HON. RAILA A. ODINGA, EGH, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA DURING THE NATIONAL YOUTH WEEK

REMARKS OF RT. HON. RAILA A. ODINGA, EGH, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA DURING THE NATIONAL
YOUTH WEEK CELEBRATIONS AT THE UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS, GIGIRI, NAIROBI ON FRIDAY, 9TH AUGUST 2019:

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.

RAILA ODINGA’S STATEMENT ON KENYA’S DELEGATION TO NASHVILLE AND PARLIAMENT’S REACTION:

In its lead story today, the Daily Nation highlighted the shameful case of Kenya’s Parliament and County Assemblies sending a record delegation to a conference in Nashville, Tennessee, whose immediate relevance to taxpayers and even the lawmakers themselves is unknown.
This afternoon, the National Assembly, in a rare show of unity and characteristic defensive show of anger, disowned the Nation story, threatened the media house and demanded an apology.
I want to differ extremely strongly with the position taken by the National Assembly on this matter. The strange rage displayed by the lawmakers does not in anyway exonerate the House and its leadership. Instead, it betrays a collective sense of guilt.
The information that the Daily Nation published is in the hands of several people, locally and abroad, who out of pain for our country, felt the need to put it out if that can help stop the culture of waste and living large at the expense of tax payers that has become the mode in our legislatures. I am one of those with whom this information was shared by a section of the very organisers of the conference.
Parliament and the county assemblies whose members appear in the list have the responsibility to come clean on this matter and explain who is in the delegation being led by the speakers of the Senate and the National Assembly.
Parliament has to publish the names of each of the members, the aides of those members attending the conference, how much they were paid in allowances and tickets and why it was necessary for them to attend the conference in the first place.
The National Assembly must also explain to Kenyans how the names of those members got to Tennessee as those attending the conference.
It is misuse of power for the National Assembly to assume that it is beyond scrutiny and even worse for the institution to pretend that it can intimidate the media into abandoning the watchdog role that it is constitutionally assigned to play.
Parliament owes Kenyans an explanation on this matter.
H.E RAILA ODINGA; EGH
AUGUST 7, 2019.

REMARKS OF H.E RAILA ODINGA, EGH, AT THE 31ST MEETING OF THE NCTTCA COUNCIL OF MINISTERS,

REMARKS OF H.E RAILA ODINGA, EGH, AT THE 31ST MEETING OF THE NCTTCA COUNCIL OF MINISTERS,

REMARKS OF H.E RAILA ODINGA, EGH,
AU HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT;
AT THE 31ST MEETING OF THE NCTTCA COUNCIL OF MINISTERS,
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.

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA, EGH, AT ALMA PHASE ONE LAUNCH. KIAMBU COUNTY,

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA, EGH, AT ALMA PHASE ONE LAUNCH. KIAMBU COUNTY,

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA, EGH, AT ALMA PHASE ONE LAUNCH.
KIAMBU COUNTY,
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.