Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga message of condolence following the death of Hon. Waruru Kanja

"We have this morning lost another great son of our nation, a great fighter who stood up for
the truth no matter the consequences.

The death of Waruru Kanja ends and era.  It is the era of the politics of principle and ideals that his demise moves to a close.

The Son of Wairimu was among the venerable political leaders who guided Kenya through its early years of tumult by speaking truth to power and insisting that as a nation, we must stick to the ideals of the founding  fathers.

I was with Mr Kanja in Hospital about a month ago, and I can testify that he did well as a leader and he remained true to his beliefs and must have died a free man, at peace with his conscience because he did and said all the right things that Kenya needed in its formative years.

It is sad that even the seemingly indestructible Kanja has had to depart from us. It is a handing over of sorts with Kenya marking its 50 years of independence.

We mourn with his family and friends and celebrate his life and times."

Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga
Leader of the Coalition for Reform and Democracy - Kenya

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Hon Raila Odinga Statement Against the Appointment of the JSC Tribunal

By Raila Odinga

What began as a disciplinary hearing against an employee of the Judiciary has now matured into a major inter-branch conflict within the government, engulfing the Judiciary, the presidency and the legislature, and culminating in the appointment yesterday of a tribunal to look into the suitability of six members of the Judicial Service Commission to continue in office.

The situation has reached here because of a failure of leadership at every point. There was a failure of leadership when the Speaker of the National Assembly allowed the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee to assume jurisdiction over the dispute between the Judicial Service Commission and the former Chief Registrar of the Judiciary despite the fact that this was an internal issue of the Judiciary and secondly, notwithstanding the fact that the matter was still under deliberation within the JSC.

There was also a failure of leadership when the National Assembly adopted the report of the Legal Affairs Committee calling for a tribunal for the removal of the six members. Better counsel would have led to the search for a more amicable way of dealing with this matter at that point.

The President had a choice to accept the recommendation of the National Assembly for the appointment of a tribunal or to reject the recommendation. He could have used the opportunity presented to him to bring about dialogue among the concerned branches with a view to averting the crisis that we are now experiencing.

However, he has failed to do so and has chosen to appoint a tribunal whose effect would be to dismember the Judiciary and to leave it as an appendage of the presidency and the Legislature. Again, the failures by the president have been failures in judgment, and in leadership. It is now clear that the president is a willing participant in the scheme to destroy the Judiciary.

The appointment of the tribunal must be viewed in the wider scheme of what is going on in the country at the moment. The National Assembly has already enacted the Kenya Information and Communication Bill, which contains severe limitations on the freedom of the media in Kenya.

Currently, the National Assembly is debating amendments to the Public Benefits Organizations Bill, the passage of which will severely limit funding for civil society organizations in the country, and bring an end to the culture of civic vigilance which is an important source of the freedoms that we enjoy in this country.

Insecurity reigns in the country with the bandits holding free reign in northern Kenya while the promise to institute inquiry into Westgate attack remains just that; a promise.

Viewed together, these three developments lead to the conclusion that the Jubilee government is determined to bring an end to all autonomous institutions in the country. A pattern of a return to repression is taking shape. What is being attempted currently is to establish a country of presidential and legislative tyranny, and where no other institution in and out of the government will be allowed a voice. The people of Kenya must wake up to the fact that the new Constitution which they enacted and which they cherish, is now under threat because of the actions of this government.

The choice of members of the tribunal to look into the suitability of the six members of the JSC merits comment. All four have close ties with the ruling party. The inescapable conclusion is that their selection is motivated by a desire to reach a pre-determined outcome. The proposed tribunal is, therefore, an act of deception, clothed in the formalities of a constitutional process. CORD rejects both the individuals selected and the idea of the Tribunal, and calls upon the president to revoke the appointment.

As the country knows, CORD has taken blows in the hands of the Judiciary, whose decision in the presidential election petition we did not agree with but which we still accepted. We did so because we believe in the rule of law, which is now under attack through the actions of the President and the National Assembly.

Our belief in the rule of law brings us to the defence of the Judiciary, even though we do not admire its record. We call upon the Judiciary to remain steadfast in the face of this blatant bullying by the presidency and the legislature.

It is not too late to find an amicable resolution of this mater. CORD also calls upon the President to lead in the search for such a resolution of the crisis that he and the National Assembly have created.

The writer is Party Leader, Coalition for Reform & Democracy (CORD) and former Prime Minister Republic of Kenya

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

CORD's Rebuttal Statement to Hon. Mudavadi's Allegations

PRESS RELEASE BY HON. WAFULA WAMUNYINYI, THE FORD-KENYA CHAIRMAN, BUNGOMA COUNTY AND CHAIRMAN OF HON. MOSES WETANGULA CAMPAIGN TEAM ON HON. MUSALIA MUDAVADI’S OUTBURST ON RT. HON. RAILA ODINGA.

Following the cowardly and unfortunate statement by Hon. Musalia Mudavadi towards the Co-Principal of the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) the Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga yesterday, I wish to respond as follows;

Musalia Mudavadi re-appears from the ashes of the March 4th 2013 to do what he does best… SPOIL.

Musalia Mudavadi yesterday released a hard hitting press statement targeted at the Rt. Hon Raila Odinga accusing the Prime Minister of seeking to "divide the Luhya community for personal gain."

The biggest limitation of Hon Mudavadi is his lack of vision; what he sees as an attempt to divide the Luhya community is in reality a selfless effort at uniting the Luhya community with the rest of
 Kenya! He should learn from Senator Bonny Khalwalwe who has seen the error of his ways and joined CORD in pursuing a vision of one Kenya for all.

Mudavadi should know that there is no battle for supremacy between him and Mr. Odinga because he holds no waters in Bungoma politics. Nobody takes him seriously on anything as it is a fact that everyone knows his opportunistic and cowardly style of politics where he is always waiting to be invited, offered and given.

It is an open secret that Amani group have a post election agreement with the Jubilee coalition and this makes the Bungoma Senatorial race to be a contest between CORD and Jubilee. Therefore, it is foolhardy for Mudavadi and his team to purport to run away and disown their association with Jubilee as this only explains how opportunistic he can be.

On the 19th of December 2013, the people of Bungoma will vote for their Senator and regardless of how one interprets it; this will be a race between CORD and JUBILEE. I want to tell Mudavadi for free that the people of Bungoma county and Western region as a whole have absolutely no time for Jubilee and their shenanigan will tumble come the 19th of next month.

Mudavadi can not just accuse the Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga of being disrespectful to others when in his statement he displays the most veil, discourteous and disrespectful language towards the same man he is accusing; as two wrongs don’t make a right.

CORD's vision goes beyond tribal cabals organized to act as a platform to propel individuals to power or shield them in times of adversity. CORD seeks to integrate all Kenyans as one people regardless of ethnic, religious, social or economic background.

This is why CORD has legislators, Senators and Governors from all over Kenya! Mpuri Aburi in Meru, Simba Arati in Nairobi, Hassan Ali Joho in Mombasa, Ukur Yattani in Wajir, Millie Odhiambo in Mbita, Wilfred Machage in Migori, Chris Bichage in Nyaribari Chache, Ababu Namwamba in Budalang'i, Alfred Mutua in Machakos, Peter Ole Nkedianye in Kajiado, Wycliffe Oparanya in Kakamega, Amason Kingi in Kilifi, Mutula Kilonzo Junior in Makueni, John Munyes in Turkana etc, etc... ODM's Executive Director Mr. Magerer Langat is from Kipkelion, Deputy Director from Central, Wiper Executive Director Brigadier Rop is from Nandi, the list goes on and on. Our nominated Senators are ALL WOMEN; the youngest Senator Miss. Daizy Kanainza (24) is from CORD and hails from Kakamega whom Amani fought vehemently before she was confirmed.

Look at the face of the Amani Coalition; where is the diversity? Where are the women? What is this "unity" that Hon Mudavadi talks about? Tribal unity? CORD on the other hand stands for national unity.

Hon. Mudavadi must explain to the Luhya nation how he lost the control of Vihiga County, his birthplace to Hon. Moses Akaranga on a little known party called PPK… He must explain why he lost his parliamentary seat in 2002 to the same Mr. Akaranga while serving as the Vice President of the Republic of Kenya before he accuses others of being disrespectful. The man is a relic of political history and unworthy of the engagement of CORD Principals Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga, H.E. Hon. Kalonzo Musyoka and Hon. Moses Wetangula.

We urge Hon Mudavadi to conduct an issue based campaign, if he cannot;
he should leave it to those who understand the issues facing Kenyans.

HON. WAFULA WAMUNYINYI, MP-KANDUYI
FORD-KENYA CHAIRMAN, BUNGOMA COUNTY.
27TH Nov. 2013

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Official Statement of the CORD Parliamentary Group Meeting of 29th October 2013


OFFICIAL CORD PG STATEMENT


We members of the CORD Parliamentary Group, Governors Summit and National Executive Committees meeting at Orange House on the 29th day of October, 2013 wish to make the following statement:

We congratulate Gov. Cornel Rasanga and the Honorable Stephen Mule for recapturing the Siaya Gubernatorial and Matungulu parliamentary seats respectively in the just concluded by elections.As a Coalition we also commiserate with our brother Hon. KalembeNdile for losing the Kibwezi West seat.

We also thank our members and supporters in the areas where by-Elections were held for the many votes they gave our candidates. We urge them to remain steadfast and do the same in the upcoming by Elections slated for December this year.

We shall continue being united as a Coalition in the forthcoming by-election scheduled for December 2013 in Bungoma, LungaLunga, NyaribariChache, BomachogeBorabu and the vacant County Wards across the country. We ask our members and supporters to remain peaceful and show political maturity during the campaigns.

The Kenyan Government with the help of some member states of the African Union (AU) has requested for a deferral of the two cases before the ICC by invoking Article 16 of the Rome Statute. It’s to be noted that the Rome Statute itself has provided this specific mechanisms for purposes of a deferral. This factor should be born in mind by those calling for a withdrawal from the ICC or the repeal of the International Crimes Act. For the record, CORD has not changed its position on this matter and we are prepared to have a structured and constructive engagement with both the Government and the International Community within the context of the Rome Statute to ensure that victims get justice and impunity is punished.

CORD wishes again to condole and extend its sympathies to the victims of the Westgate Mall attack. Our view is that in handling both the attack and its aftermath elements within the security forces mishandled the operations. We note that the KDF has admitted that there was looting by some soldiers. We call upon the President to immediately establish an independent judicial commission of inquiry to investigate and establish the circumstances surrounding the planning and execution of the attack and the subsequent conduct of Public officials and institutions including the Disciplined Forces and the NSIS. CORD as the official opposition should be involved in making recommendations regarding the persons to be appointed as Commissioners.

Lately we have seen an unlawful and unconstitutional invasion of the freedom of the media and the freedom of expression. These two freedoms are the basic pillar and foundation of an open and democratic system of government. We will not allow the carpet to be rolled back against this fundamental democratic space that Kenyans fought for valiantly for so many years. The government should come out clearly both in its conduct and management of public affairs whether it supports and is prepared to protect these basic freedoms.

Finally CORD members of the National Assembly have drafted a Bill which is undergoing publication for purposes of exempting essential commodities from VAT. We call upon the leadership of the National Assembly to prioritize and expedite debate and enactment of the Bill.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Message from the Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga on Mashujaa Day - 20 October 2013

By Raila Odinga
Mashujaa Day this year has found me in the United States of America with some of our country’s governors seaeking opportunities for our people living in some of our most neglected counties. It is an interesting coincidence that got me thinking of the work that the heroes of yesterday began and that our children and their children have to carry on with. Our country has had great men and women standing up at different times but towards the same goal of ensuring liberty, prosperity and justice for all.


The freedom fighters risked all to liberate us from the colonial yoke. After independence, another generation stepped in and risked all when the very dreams that inspired the freedom fighters were being rolled back. These are the heroes of the Second Liberation who faced the single party machine and reclaimed the rights and freedoms that were being taken away. Of course they paid a great price. The heroes of our first and second liberations have brought us this far. We are immensely indebted to them.

In December, Kenya turns 50. As we remember the heroes of the past half a century, we must focus on the next 50 years ahead and ask ourselves, who will be our heroes of that period and what will make them?

Listening to governors Ukur Yatani of Marsabit and Ahmed Abdullahi Mohammad of Wajir speak about the challenges and promises of their counties, I found myself thinking of our country’s next fifty years, its old challenges that we have been unable to subdue and the new ones we are yet to start figuring out. Then it occurred to me that the heroes of the years ahead might be made in the counties.

Our counties are certainly set to be the next theatre of action, opportunities, challenges and growth. In Wajir for instance, there is not an inch of tarmac road, 50 years after independence. The governor recently laid his hands on a 1913 colonial government report saying the county has sufficient limestone to produce cement for 100 years. The limestone has never been exploited to date.

In Marsabit, NASA records the strongest all round the year wind blowing in the same direction and capable of generating electricity for all of East Africa. It has never been exploited. Like many other African nations, Kenya is changing fast but transforming too slowly. The economy is growing. But so is poverty. Despite new challenges and new opportunities, the old mindset persists. The heroes of the next fifty years of our country will be men and women who accept that we cannot create the future by clinging to the past.

Kenya has a chance to open a new chapter with the coming of devolved units. Already, a number of our governors are toying with grand visions.

In the struggles of these governors, I see a journey to determine the country’s future by expanding our country’s productivity. In this regard, the counties carry great potential in determining our country’s next heroes. Unfortunately, the passion of the governors alone is not enough. Every defining moment in a nation’s history needs a champion at the centre. Abraham Lincoln stepped in to save the union that remains standing as USA. He remains his country’s hero to date.

Kenya too needs somebody to champion and save devolution and secure our next fifty years. There is a simple logic that makes me passionate about the future of the counties. The logic is that when I try to empower and make a neighbour rich, I create room for sharing, trading and making life bearable for my neighbour and myself.

We still need to work hard to create better relations between our forty plus ethnic groups. To win the battle against colonial powers, our founding fathers pulled together, in one direction. Today, we are falling apart at the seams. The heroes of the years ahead will be the men and women who will recognise this fact and act to permanently patch up the widening cracks between our ethnic groups by addressing honestly and candidly the things that are setting tribe against tribe.

But we must also never forget that the struggle for freedom never ends. Future heroes will be men and women who remember the words of Ronald Reagan that…”Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on…”

Finally, whether we are ready for it or not, the world is moving into the era of innovation, science and technology. Economists tell us that the world is getting smaller, but it is not coming together. The nations that innovate are going to rule the world.

Kenya has pioneered mobile money. The M-pesa is a unique Kenyan contribution to the world. While it shows the capacity of Kenyans to innovate, it may not be long before somebody comes up with something better. The heroes of the coming years will have to be men and women who keep Kenya on the front row through innovation, science and technology. We live in an era when some corporations are richer than entire nations. I am confident that if we invest in them, the Kenyan youth will give us the Sony, Citicorp, Philip Morris, Yahoo and Google of the next century and make them our heroes. The choice is ours.


The writer is CORD Leader and former Prime Minister of Republic of Kenya

Friday, 27 September 2013

Hon Odinga Interview in South Africa on Westgate Attack


JOHANNESBURG - Former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga says Kenya is even more determined than ever to play a role in the fight against terrorism.

He was speaking in an interview on eNCA on Thursday evening.

Odinga says despite al-Shabaab's terror attack, the country will not pull troops out of Somalia.

"We will not be intimidated or blackmailed by these desperate acts of terrorism because we did go to Somalia for a reason and that was to protect our own territorial integrity which was under threat.

"We already had a lot of terrorist attacks before our troops went to Somalia. Our presence in Somalia has helped to stabilise that country, we have weakened al-Shabaab substantially in Somalia and normalcy has returned to a very substantial portion of the Somali territory," said Odinga.

His statement follows last week’s terrorist attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall, in which more than 60 people have been killed. Forensics teams from around the world are in Kenya helping to recover bodies and identify the terrorists behind the attack.

“Al-Shabaab is part of al-Qaeda, it’s part of a bigger international terrorist organisation and as you know this is not an issue that can be eradicated overnight. It has a process, but the international community is determined to proceed with this and Kenya must play its part in this whole confrontation,” he said. 
  • This story has been updated with more comments from Raila Odinga.
-eNCA

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Speech by Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga at 8th EISA Annual Symposium, Johannesburg South Africa

SPEECH BY HON RAILA A. ODINGA EGH FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA AT THE 8TH EISA ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM HILTON HOTEL, SANDTON, JOHANNESBURG; 26TH, SEPTEMBER, 2013
 

Elections, electoral politics and coalition building in Africa:
Is democracy on trial?
EISA Executive Director,
Members of the EISA Board of Directors,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Let me first congratulate the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa for the valuable work it is doing across Africa. Over the last decade, ISA has transformed itself as a credible, efficient and professional organization in the Continent, working mainly in the areas of strengthening electoral processes, political parties and the legislatures in Africa.
 

The Eighth Symposium could not have come at a better time, focusing as it does on the emergence of coalitions as the future in Africa.
 

Not too long ago, as the Berlin wall started falling in Europe and new nations began to emerge out of the collapse of the Soviet Empire, the western world cheered the triumph of democracy and the demise of what Ronald Reagan once called" the evil empire".
 

Except for the bloody conflicts in former Yugoslavia and the unfinished agenda of national liberation in Chechnya, most of these "new nations" in Europe have settled down to be stable democracies where electoral politics as a means of forming and changing governments is accepted and democracy has more or less become institutionalized.
 

In Africa, the opposite is quite often the case: winners force their victory on losers who, quite understandably, cry foul and only succumb to electoral outcomes as fait accompli.
 

The democratic upsurge of the early 1990s that challenged post independence authoritarian regimes in Africa all seem to have met with tremendous resistance as new forms of authoritarian rule emerge and democratic gains get reversed.
 

If anything, every cycle of competitive electoral politics, or semi competitive as the case may be, has brought with it conflicts and crises that quite often disrupt the very foundations of the nation state itself.
 

Today, the threat of violence hangs over almost every election in Africa because as politics has got ever more competitive, a number of leaders have resorted to ethnic, as opposed to ideologically driven alliances and modes of mobilization in our multi-ethnic societies.
 

This strategy has emphasized ethnic group sizes in determining one’s value in politics. In this arrangement, the smaller your ethnic group, the less your chances of being invited to the high table of ethnic share-outs that pass for coalitions.
 

The politicization of ethnicity is having deep negative effects on national unity in Africa. It determines whether members of different groups within the nation perceive each other as friends or foes.
 

It determines whether a regime stays at the top and whether it succeeds or tumbles down. When people are mobilized as ethnic groups and not as followers of some ideology, it will not matter how well or badly the regime performs in terms of delivering national programs. The nation comes last. This is the latest threat to democracy and stability in Africa.
 

Presidential elections are once again becoming zero sum games in which the winners take all while the loser loses everything. Winning or losing is about survival, not delivery of services to the nation.

In this scenario, ignored groups tend to regroup and fight back as members of ethnic groups. While citizens can easily walk away from the table where they are considered useless because of their dismal ethnic numbers, they will not simply walk away from the table where the national cake is being divided. They will demand their share, somehow.


The mounting momentum of ethnic based coalitions is, sadly, coinciding with the re-emergence of the Big Man in Africa; a species we assumed dead and buried about a decade ago.


By the beginning of the 21st Century, the authoritarianism that characterized most of Africa for decades was in retreat.


The “Big Men” were swept out in rapid turns from Zambia, through Malawi, Zaire and Kenya. Elections were being fought fiercely in an arena in which democratic aspirations of the people were largely reflected in the results.


Where authoritarianism persisted, it was vigorously challenged. Africa’s grand march to democracy seemed irreversible.
 

Today, the “Big Men” are being reincarnated, in some cases, sadly, in the luminaries of the Second Liberation. They are inventing new tricks of survival; recruiting new converts and revising progressive constitutions to give themselves more power and longer terms while all the time tightening their grip on the nations.
 

Africa’s new Big Men know times have changed. They know they cannot rule by the gun or by decree anymore. So, they too have changed.
 

Today, they pose as democrats by organizing periodic elections, which they must win at all costs. They adhere to constitutions; but only after amending them to suit their intentions.
 

They purport to create free and independence Judiciary, then try to pack the courts of law with their loyalists, just incase some opposition leaders or civil society types decide to try their chances at justice in the courts. In other words, they leave nothing to chance.
 

In all cases the resistance to institutionalizing the democratic political culture comes from the entrenched economic and political interests within the ruling parties that have run the post colonial state since independence, or those that have hijacked the popular movements and converted them into cheer leaders in support of ethnic-based authoritarian rulers.
 

When they reverse the democratic gains, the ideological justification is usually framed in terms of Africa's uniqueness.
 

In their world, the problems democracy faces are not the results of the roadblocks put on the highway to democratization but the unsuitability of democracy itself to the African society.

This twisted logic needs to be rebuffed in view of reasonably successful processes of democratization in such countries as Senegal, South Africa, Mozambique, Ghana and Botswana.
 

Against this background, it is fitting to laud Africa’s opposition leaders that enter the ring year in, year out to take on ruling parties, knowing well enough that the odds are hugely against them.
 

Think of the job Morgan Tsvangirai is doing in Zimbabwe or the struggles of Kizza Besigiye in Uganda or the faith of Alassane Ouatara in Ivory Coast that led to his confirmation to the presidency. These are Africa’s real foot soldiers for democracy.
 

Together with exceptional cases like Senegal and Ghana, these leaders provide hope for competitive electoral politics, coalition building and the institutionalization of democracy in Africa.
 

In Senegal, for example, long time resistance and opposition to the ruling Socialist Party, founded by Leopold Sedar Senghor at the dawn of independence, saw the emergence of ideologically based coalitions in 2001 that finally uprooted the Socialist Party from power.

The beneficiary of this coalition, Abdoulaye Wade of the Liberal-leaning Senegalese Democratic Party, lost power subsequently in the elections of 2012 partly as a result of being seen to have betrayed the ideological commitments he had made with his coalition partners, and partly as a result of the perceived excesses in his government.


His regime was accused of complicity in several acts of corruption. His attempts to change the constitution to remove the two term limit so as to run for a third term added to his electoral woes while his opponents, comprising some of his former partners in government, capitalized on the betrayal and corruption issues, building a big enough electoral bloc to wrestle power from him in the 2012 elections.


But we must hasten to give Mr. Wade credit. In many places on the Continent, the opposition, however organized and popular, would not have wrestled power from the ruling party as happened in Senegal. The incumbent ruling party would have survived the electoral onslaught through the manipulation of the electoral process, use of state security organs to intimidate voters and outright cheating in the announcement of results.


Cameroon, for instance, presents the opposite picture of Senegal. The first multiparty elections were held in Cameroon in 1992, administered by Cameroon's Ministry of Territorial Administration despite requests by the opposition for an independent election commission to conduct the polls.
 

Amidst widespread reports of electoral fraud, Paul Biya narrowly defeated his main opposition coalition rival by 39 per cent to 36 per cent. International election observers concluded that "the Cameroon government, for which President Biya bears ultimate responsibility, took unusual extreme and illegitimate actions to ensure the President's victory. This led inexorably to the conclusion that the election was flawed to the point where its legitimacy and validity are called into question."
 

Subsequent elections after this 1992 experience have proved no better. If anything the Biya regime simply perfected the art of manipulating the electoral process in its favor and making a mockery of democracy in the eyes of the Cameroonian people. Governance institutions characteristic of a democratic polity such as an independent judiciary, a vibrant legislature and a civil society capable of keeping the state accountable to the people have all been subordinated to Biya's authoritarian rule, making it virtually impossible for any coalition to win elections against Biya's party in contemporary Cameroon.

So Senegal is somehow unique regarding the fate of coalition politics and democracy in Africa, and her case should be carefully studied regarding what needs to be done to nurture competitive electoral politics as an important aspect of institutionalizing democracy in Africa. Overtime, Senegal has seen a vigorous civil society emerge and stay the cause.
 

The institutions of the democratic state--though substantially dominated by the presidency, have remained sufficiently strong to withstand the excesses of creeping authoritarianism. This has made it possible for political coalitions to take advantage of competitive electoral politics to peacefully change governments through elections.
 

Further, reasonably independent election bodies, very contrary to experiences in other African countries, have handled refereeing political competition in Senegal.
 

I particularly recall the case of Cote d'Ivoire in 2010 where the election results announced by the legitimate electoral commission was rejected and overturned by the very government of then President Laurent Gbagbo who had overseen the unveiling of that election team.
 

With the benefit of hindsight, I could share a number of insights on competitive politics in Africa.
We must, with bold determination, remain committed long-term to good governance and leadership, whether we are Kenyan, Nigerian, Zimbabwean, South African or citizens of any other country on this great continent.


We must push vigorously for the independence and professionalism of police and national intelligence.
 

We must, through more coalitions if need be, bring more willing and committed partners on board, joining together to make democratic change – and all that this entails – not just possible, but a reality.

As a Pan Africanist, I believe that just like many other battles African citizens have fought in the past, this too we shall fight and win.

Thank you.
 

Raila A. Odinga EGH

Monday, 23 September 2013

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga Set to Launch Autobiography Next Month

Raila, daughter Winnie and wife Ida
The long awaited autobiography of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has gone to press. The over 1000 pages book went to press early this week and is expected to be out in two weeks’ time.

The autobiography is set to give a personal account of Mr. Odinga on his life and political journey and perhaps answer most questions transcending the four decades that he has been in Kenya’s politics and conceivably mirror on his future endeavours.

The book is expected to be launched on 6th October 2013 before Mr. Odinga embarks on a two week trip to the United States.

Mr. Odinga is expected to travel to South Africa on Wednesday this week where he is expected to open a conference on democracy. He will return to Nairobi where he will launch his personal story before leaving for the US.

Currently his team is working on the list of guests to grace the launch.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Resolutions of the CORD Parliamentary Group Meeting Held on 16th Sept 2013

We, CORD members of the Senate and the National Assembly, meeting today, Monday 16th September 2013 under the chair of our coalition co-principals, Rt, Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga and Senator Moses Wetangula have reaffirmed our strong commitment to stand with Kenyans on all matters of public interest and resolved as follows:

1. CORD remains committed to continue playing our role as a responsible opposition, providing credible and consistent alternative voice in the best interest of the people of Kenya.

2. CORD is deeply pained and concerned by the sharp rise in the cost of living inflamed by the improper application of the VAT Act to basic commodities like unga, bread, sugar and milk. We condemn in the strongest terms possible the obvious insensitivity of the Jubilee government on this matter.

3. CORD is equally perturbed by the continuing spate of insecurity in many parts of the country. We believe the cardinal duty of any government is to protect the lives and property of all citizens. It’s now apparent that the Jubilee government has miserably failed in this duty or it’s guilty of complicity.


4. CORD wishes the accused Kenyans a fair and just Trial and hope that the victims will find justice. We are equally strongly opposed to the Jubilee-driven short-sighted move to pull Kenya from the Rome statue. We believe this is a cynical agenda by the very well-known agents of impunity to roll back the country’s gains in the fight against entrenched impunity. The move is manifestly myopic, selfish and big shame on Kenya as an otherwise respectable member of the international community. CORD will continue to strongly oppose this move that is grossly injurious to Kenya.

5. CORD believes the Jubilee government has and continues to demonstrate bad faith and resistance to devolution. This is demonstrated by measures such as withholding roads money from county governments, denying county governments a role in security matters and the superficial attempt to mix up CDF with devolution.


6. As Parliament reconvenes tomorrow, and in the view of this grave concern, CORD has resolved to take the following measures:

a. Sponsor immediate amendment to the VAT act, to expressly exclude basic items from VAT to cushion ordinary Kenyans from their present suffering.

b. Oppose the two bills on the Kenya Police Service currently before the House. We will Strongly resist all attempts to sabotage the momentum of Police reforms by returning the country to the dark days of an imperial Police boss. We challenge the Jubilee government to resign if they cannot protect the lives and property of Kenyans.

c. We condemn the attempt to pull Kenya from the Rome statute and will strongly fight this move by all means possible. Those charged should have no fear if they believe they are innocent. One must wonder whether the spectacle of compromising witnesses and scampering to sabotage ICC is indeed a manifestation of innocence.

d. Continue the push to strengthen devolution by demanding increased allocation of resources to counties, including immediate release of roads funds to county governments.

7. CORD remains strong and committed to service to the people of Kenya.

Meanwhile CORD wishes to announce that we have appointed Hon. Gen. Joseph Nkaisery, Senator Dr. Agnes Zani and Hon. Dorcas Kedogo to join the CORD Coordination Board, the second highest organ of the coalition.

Signed by: The CORD coalition.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

CORD Urges Government to Suspend VAT Act and Address Rising Cost of Living

The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy is urging the Government to suspend the VAT Act until key issues therein are addressed.

CORD has stated that if the issues, to do with the rising cost of living, are not addressed then we will introduce amendments once the National Assembly resumes sittings next Tuesday.

ODM Executive Director Hon Magerer Langat explained that a joint Parliamentary Group of CORD affiliated Senators and MPs will meet at the Party's Secretariat next Monday to strategize on how to tackle the issue of the rising prices affecting ordinary Kenyans.

The Coalition is expected to take a collective approach on the VAT issue. CORD's top leadership feels that the law cannot continue to be applied in its current form. The proposed amendment is meant to cushion basic consumer goods that were previously not subject to VAT such as milk, cooking flour, bread and sanitary towels. CORD will seek a reduction from the current 16 percent to 10 percent.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

CORD Statement on the International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court is based on the principle of complimentarity which makes the court’s jurisdiction subordinate to national courts except in very limited and well established circumstances and situations.

The Court’s objective is partly to put an end to impunity so that the perpetrators of serious crimes within the jurisdiction of the court, including crimes against humanity, are punished.

The Constitution of Kenya aspires to put Kenya in the frontline of states that respect, defend and protect human rights with a view of developing a culture of human rights Articles 2 (5) and (6) and 59 of the Constitution together with the Bill of Rights underpin the centrality of Human Rights and International Law in Kenya's Legal System.

Kenya’s membership to the Assembly of State Parties of the International Criminal Court is a demonstration of the people’s sovereign will, in action, to be part and parcel of the family of nations which since the creation of the United Nations have reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights and in the dignity and worth of the human person. Lip service to the values and principles of the United Nations as contained in the Charter and the various declarations and covenants of the global body continues to be the bane of peace, security and well being of the world. The relationship between the International Criminal Court and the United Nations underscores its instrumentality in meeting the objectives of the international community in attaining peace and security.

For Kenya to remain faithful to the Constitution as enacted and proclaimed on 27th August 2010 we must not contemplate withdrawing from the Rome Statute. Kenya cannot exist outside the realm of international law in all situations. That thinking has not helped former and current leaders of Libya, Cote d’Ivoire and Sudan to run away from or be shielded from international justice.

Even before the enactment of the Constitution, Kenya had enacted the International Crimes Act of 2008. However it did not come into operation immediately. The Act domesticated the Rome Statute and established clear mechanisms for cooperation between Kenya and the International Criminal Court. The Rome Statute is now part of Kenya’s municipal law.

Withdrawal from the International Criminal Court will be inconsistent with and defeat the purposes and objectives of the Constitution of Kenya and will not bring honor to the nation and dignity to our leaders. The reputation of being the first country to pull out of the International Criminal Court is not a good one for Kenya. Merely a forthright ago the United Nations General Assembly reaffirmed its full support for the International Criminal Court and Kenya should not take lightly the resolutions and Commitment of the World body.

TheJubilee Coalitions motion to intimate Kenya's withdrawal from the Rome Statue is capricious and ill considered. It cannot objectively and concretely as it regards the current Kenyan cases at The Hague. Neither will the international Criminal Court suddenly disappear from the International Criminal Justice System or the world order.

We in CORD have never wanted to have our citizens tried outside our courts in a foreign land for crimes committed in our territory. We fought very hard for the creation of a court within our judicial and criminal justice system with the competence of dealing with international crimes. Collective amnesia has however been generated through falsehoods and propaganda to hoodwink the nation that the current cases in the Hague were triggered and propelled by way of a political stratagem and purpose calculated to advance the partisan course of a specific group. If that were so such abuse of a judicial process and oppressive conduct could never be entertained by any court including the International Criminal Court and that alone would be enough to vitiate any proceedings.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga with President Mwai Kibaki tried in vain to have a local judicial mechanism established by legislation but members of the 10th Parliament, most of them in the Jubilee camp frustrated the efforts. A delegation of senior ministers in the Grand Coalition Government was sent to Geneva and the Hague to seek more time to engage members of parliament and stakeholders with a view of avoiding the proceedings before the International Criminal Court. The Court and H.E. Kofi Annan granted the request but again the refrain ‘DON’T BE VAGUE SAY HAGUE’ had taken root. Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka undertook an extensive shuttle diplomacy to stop or suspend the trial of Kenyans at the International Criminal Court again without success. Raila Odinga engaged both the United States and the United Kingdom governments on a similar mission but the efforts did not bear any fruit and the United Kingdom gave its reasons in declining the request in writing. Hon Moses Wetangula was also engaged in the initiatives as the Minister for Foreign Affairs and a member of the cabinet committee that was dealing with International Criminal Court matters at the time. The record of the CORD leadership has therefore been very clear, consistent and unequivocal both on the question of the creation of a competent national tribunal and the referral of the current cases in the Hague back to Kenya.

Finally CORD wishes the President, the Deputy President and Mr. Joshua Arap Sang well and truly believe that they will be absolved through the judicial process of the International Criminal Court and that the cause of justice will be met. During the general elections CORD accepted the candidature of the President and the Deputy President without any hesitation in the spirit of democracy and justice. The narrative of our politics must qualitatively change in order to create an enabling environment for reform and progress. Kenya is not on trial and the people of Kenya are not at the stakes. CORD believes that international justice will render good judgment to our sons and the nation will emerge stronger and more united.

NAIROBI THURSDAY 5TH SEPTEMBER 2013

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Statement by CORD on the Value Added Tax Act 2013

In an attempt to simplify and clean up the administration of the VAT, the government decided to drastically reduce the number of goods and services which have been zero rated or exempted from VAT.

Food fell into this category, and we have now seen such basic commodities like processed milk shooting up in prices much to the suffering of ordinary wananchi.

There is no doubt that a chain reaction in price increases will follow as costs of transport go up, costs of farm inputs increase and those who offer services to make the economy run put up their costs as well.

Soon, schools will raise fees because of growing cost of food and other consumables. Soon, students in colleges will be asking for increase in allowances for those on HELB loans to be able to afford life.

Parents of students not receiving loans will have to dig deeper into their pockets.

The levying of 16 per cent VAT on X-ray and Diagnostic services will deal a severe below to the health of Kenyans. To cut costs and accommodate poor patients, doctors will cut out X-ray and other diagnostic services and rely on clinical symptoms alone. The result will be increases cases of misdiagnosis and lots of death.

The new VAT law is going to hit the ICT sector hard, with price of phones and cost of talking going up.

The ICT sector contributed 5% to the growth of GDP in 2011-2012 from contributing 3.7% to the growth of GDP in 2010.

High pricing will reduce digital penetration and less penetration will reduce contribution to the GDP growth.

Youth are going to be hit hardest by an increase in mobile phone, computers and computer software prices.

This law will hurt the youth who dominate the startup businesses. People living in rural areas will be cut off the digital economy penetration. Of course it will hit hard the unemployed, majority of who are youth.

It must be recalled that in his 2009 Budget Speech, President Uhuru Kenyatta, as Finance Minister then, said:

“Mobile telephones have become an essential aspect of our daily communication and transaction system. To make the telephone sets more affordable to wananchi and expand the subscription base, I propose to exempt from VAT, all telephones, for cellular networks or other wireless networks. I do hope the dealers in these products will pass this benefit to ordinary wananchi by lowering prices.”


We challenge the President to explain this change of heart.

Savings are going to suffer as government levies tax on financial services, including banking and withdrawal of money.


Confused by statistics and economic verbiage, many Kenyans are unaware that each time they withdraw money from their accounts or make transfers in any form; they pay 10 per cent tax. This has pushed the cost of withdrawals up, as banks and other financial agencies pass the costs directly to consumers of the services.
 

We see a situation where Kenyans may be forced to withdraw and keep money under their mattresses.

We had earlier warned against a blind increase of VAT, especially when it comes to basic commodities and services which affect the lives of ordinary wananchi.

VAT is basically an attack on consumption trends and habits. It is the most cruel way for a government to raise money in an economy that is depressed and underperforming.
It works best in an economy that is overheating.
If the government wants to raise revenue, there are better, less painful ways of doing so without making taxation a burden.

Our Recommendations:

The most logical approach is to cut down on public expenditure, expand the tax base and reduce the tax burden of the ordinary wananchi while supporting the livelihood of vulnerable groups through social safety nets.

In fact, with the depression our economy is going through, this was the time to lower VAT from 16 to 14 per cent to encourage consumption and spending.

But we need to go further than that by redefining our food self sufficiency strategy, especially the production of such basic foods like cereals, vegetables and fruits.

With the onset of devolution, such a policy would focus on supporting large scale commercial production of basic foods in areas where costs are low and productivity is high.

When this is accompanied by household producers who have access to affordable farm inputs and effective government extension service, then economic growth will truly include ordinary wananchi.

Government investment in this strategy would produce better results in the short and long run than engaging in the punitive exercise of punishing the poor and vulnerable when VAT is increased across the board. In fact, we fear the increase in VAT may lead to failure by the government to meet its target in revenue as people cut down on consumption because they cannot afford.

Finally, while we must continue to invest in infrastructure so as to integrate our economy and stimulate growth, let us not forget the basic issues of poverty that still face us and the need to pay attention to basic needs.

We must scale up social safety nets, including cash transfer to urban poor, orphans, widows and vulnerable children. We do not agree that you can grow an economy simply by taking money from consumers.

This is a message that both the national and county governments need to take seriously and implement so as to avert a looming disaster of a glittering economy in terms of infrastructure when the bottom of society wallows in poverty.

COALITION FOR REFORMS AND DEMOCRACY;
NAIROBI;
SEPTEMBER 4, 2013.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Rt Hon Raila Odinga's Statement on Road Safetyand the State of Security in the Nation

THE RT HON RAILA ODINGA'S STATEMENT ON ROAD SAFETY AND THE STATE OF SECURITY IN THE NATION 

 I find the killing of innocent people has gone on for much of this year in Moyale and other parts of Northern Kenya disturbing and unacceptable. 

Too many meetings have been held with the national leadership and top brass of our security organs. Too many warnings have been issued by the National Government. Too many visits have been made to the affected areas. There has been too much talk of contingents of security formations being dispatched to Northern Kenya. 

Yet, in the end, nothing changes. 

From Garissa to Wajir to Marsabit and Mandera, insecurity, characterized by killing of innocent villagers, is becoming the norm. Today, Moyale has become the centre of these crimes. The number of victims is rising daily, while the National Government procrastinates, issues threats, makes promises and looks somebody to blame. 

This pattern must end once and for all. 

The National Government must restore sanity in Northern Kenya immediately to allow the people to settle down to the business of managing their lives and their future. 

The National Government must also, immediately, come up with concrete steps to end the carnage on our roads. 

The tears have barely dried and the grief has not ended among the families that lost members in the recent accident in Kisii involving school children and teachers. Then yesterday, we lost tens of lives on the road again. 

The reaction is the same; warnings and threats of stern action after the damage is done. I ask the government to extend a helping hand to all the families caught in the latest road tragedy. They need help with the bills and related expenses. 

This help must be coupled with concrete actions to restore sanity on the roads and in the wider security infrastructure of Kenya. 

 RAILA A. ODINGA.
30 August 2013

Monday, 19 August 2013

Devolution in Kenya: Prospects, Challenges and the Future ~ Speech by Rt. Hon Raila Odinga at LSK Annual General Meeting


DEVOLUTION IN KENYA: PROSPECTS, CHALLENGES AND THE FUTURE

SPEECH BY
Rt. Honourable Raila Odinga, Former Prime Minister of the Republic Of Kenya during The Law Society of Kenya Annual General Meeting, Leisure Lodge, Mombasa, August 16th, 2013

The Chairman of the Law Society of Kenya,
Members of the Council of the Society,
Attorney General
Senior Counsel present,
Invited Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I consider myself well-travelled across the width and breadth of our country.  I have travelled across Kenya as a political activist, a Member of Parliament, a Cabinet Minister for Energy, for Roads, a Prime Minister, and now, an opposition leader. From that experience, I got convinced beyond doubt that Kenyans want Devolution of power and resources.

The story of devolution in Kenya is of a people’s struggle for justice and the expectation for equality, equity, and inclusion. It is a fight against domination, subjugation, and exclusion.

Against slavery, Abraham Lincoln told the American people…..”A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure; permanently half slave and half free.” I can say with certainty that Kenya too cannot endure permanently half poor and half rich.

As was the war on slavery, devolution is an effort to address the wrong principle that says….you will work and toil and earn the bread, but I am the one who will eat that bread…Every part of Kenya must get a fair reward from its taxes. There is no better way to achieve this than through devolution.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN;
Devolution unfortunately has powerful enemies in high places. Devolution is running into a brick wall of a political class that has benefited from an over centralized system of government.
It is being undermined by a status quo that has captured the instruments of the state and has used them to secure privileges for themselves and their children, to the exclusion of everyone else.
The good news is that the rank and file of our people is determined to make Devolution succeed.

In the few months that the Counties have taken off, our people have been engrossed in learning the art of government. They are getting used to making own decisions.
They are moving away from the culture of blaming others for their problems. They have tried to take their future in their own hands.
A few weeks ago, voters in Makueni County rejected the backward talk that they needed a Jubilee senator so they can be close to the National Government. They proudly elected Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior knowing well he was going to join the opposition. The people of Kenya no longer feel that they have to be close to central government to progress. Waiting for help from Nairobi has begun to look like a deep prehistoric practice that no one wants to remember. 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN;
This is the kind of freedom that devolution brings. It is the freedom that the controllers of the centralized system are hell bent on killing.  This is the fight our governors and senators have embarked on. They are pushing for a country where the National Government exists only to facilitate the people and protect them from outside aggression.

The over-centralized system of the last 50 years bequeathed us little in terms of progress and plenty in corruption. Corruption helped those in power to hold hungry citizens at ransom and lead them down the garden path.
By centralizing the tendering for roads, the purchase of drugs, the construction of houses, the provision of amenities like electricity, those who control the central government were able to strike corrupt deals that kept them financially powerful and able to control the rest of Kenyans.

KANU went many desperate steps further. It instituted a modern day slavery, which saw the State use even relief food as a tool to control how people voted and how they related with the State.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN;
It’s said… “History Is So Beautiful It Makes You Cry.” So let me tell you abit of where it all began and why we should be wary at the pattern of events.
At independence, our founding fathers settled on a devolved system after it became clear that the political system of the country was already leaning towards a centralized dictatorship.
This dictatorship was in the hands of those who had accessed colonial education and economy. The losers were those who had missed out on colonial education.  Ironically, those were the ones who had fought the British to a standstill and forced them to negotiate.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t sufficient understanding of the benefits of majimbo even among those who stood to benefit from it.
The masters of the status quo moved in and misrepresented the system as divisive, anti-unitary and anti-national.  They intentionally bad mouthed majimbo, derided it at every opportunity and sabotaged it at every corner. Eventually, the beneficiaries of the devolved system themselves participated in its dismantling. The end result was an exclusive political and economic dictatorship that took fifty years to dismantle. Unfortunately, the noises have begun again.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN;
The history of devolution is a constant and sad reminder of the dangers that face this nation. It teaches us that the forces of political autocracy and economic exclusion will, if allowed, frustrate any system of government tailored to create equality among the peoples and regions of Kenya.

It reminds us that there are those who took over Kenya from the colonial administration and are intent to own it and exploit it exclusively for their benefit and that of their cronies and families.
Their key tool is denying the outer regions control over resources and decisions so that everyone has to beg the central government even for basics like food and medicines.
Today, the beneficiaries of status quo are ganging up again, citing the same excuses invented about fifty years ago to kill devolution. They say some regions are not ready. They say some governors have given themselves presidential looks.

They paint governors as extravagant. They want governors who are in reality heads of their own governments, to seek clearance from central government before travelling abroad. They say the Senate has no role, is inferior to the National Assembly and should in fact, be abolished.

Rather than empower the people to help themselves, they want to retain critical services like rural electrification and roads at the centre so they can dish them out at will as a show of benevolence.
You know, what happened once can happen twice. So we say; buyer, beware.

Fortunately, the Constitution of 2010 is a product of wide consultations with Kenyans and intense public education. No wonder the forces of status quo are having a rough time with the people.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Governors for fighting for the decentralization of the construction of roads. I beseech them to fight for the decentralization of other critical areas like electricity, purchase of drugs and pharmaceuticals.

This will eliminate the corruption perpetrated at the centre and which is used to oil the political machine that tramples on the people. More importantly, it will put the governors in charge of economic development in their regions.
To attract investment and ensure economic growth, you need a good network of roads, a steady supply of reliable, efficient and affordable electricity, and a healthy and educated workforce. No governor is going to guarantee these if they are ran by a separate authority.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN;
I agree that our Constitution does not explicitly spell out how responsibility should be shared between Counties and the National government.  But none of the challenges are insurmountable if we managed the process with good faith and if we embarked on honest dialogue between with all cards above the table.

The forces of status quo are however using every challenge as a reason to delay devolution by one more day, one more month, one more year and forever. The intention of the centrists is to help devolution die a slow, painful death while all the time pretending to be trying to resuscitate it.

I believe strongly that the spirit of enterprise that has propelled Nairobi must spread outside.  It must take off in Kwale, Malindi, Kakamega, Moyale, Homa Bay, Nyamira, Wajir, Marsabit and all parts of Kenya.
Examples abound everywhere. New York remains immensely big as a city and a state in the US. Los Angeles is big, so is Chicago.
But none of these regions has ever entertained the idea that they are in any way more important than or can do without Washington, DC or the USA. All they do is power the US economy.
In Germany, you get another example of an economy driven from multiple centres. Munich is an economic powerhouse. Frankfurt is a financial centre. The Ruhr brings together a cluster of industrial cities; Berlin is the capital and artistic hub. Together, they power a bigger and powerful Germany that has withstood recession to which the rest of Europe succumbed.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
Kenya too must create an economy that fires on all cylinders and runs on multiple engines by supporting many more sites and sources of economic growth.
Empowering our counties so they innovate, attract outside investment; raise their own money and spend it in the ways they need is the way out.

We must rise above the fear mongering and remind the forces of status quo that the purpose of devolution is not to dismember the nation but to allow different solutions to different problems in different circumstances.
This is why I want to appeal to the legal fraternity to support the push by the governors to amend article 203 (2) of the Constitution to raise the minimum revenue threshold due to county governments from 15 to between 40 and 45 per cent.

I equally appeal to you to support our senators in their push to amend Chapter Eight on Legislature and Chapter 12 on Public Finances to give them a greater say in legislations and sharing of revenue.
At a time the National Government can barely support itself, we cannot continue hoping that it will somehow help the rest of the country. Our future is in stronger, successful devolved units.

Thank You.


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

ODM Denies It Has Received Eviction Notice at Orange House

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) would like to allay claims doing rounds in media circles that it has been issued with a notice to leave its current headquarters in Kilimani area.

The party has not received any such communication or notice from Mr. Karoli Omondi, the former Chief of Staff in the former Prime Minister's office who is the owner of the premises which houses Orange House, the party headquarters.

ODM has used the premises since its birth in 2005 and Mr. Omondi has been very supportive to the party and its course.In the recent Makueni Senatorial by-election, Mr. Omondi extended his support to the Wiper and CORD candidate Sen. Mutula Kilonzo Jnr both financially and materially to ensure smooth running of the campaigns.

Therefore, the rumours and propaganda spreading both on social media and some sections of the mainstream media claiming that Mr. Omondi has issued notice to the party to move out of the premises are uncalled for and full if untruths.

Mr. Omondi is also available and can be reached to comment on these speculations.

Monday, 29 July 2013

PM Raila Odinga Opens Bi-National Kenyan Governors Summit

Dallas, Texas USA
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has appealed to America’s private sector and government to help Kenya’s devolved units succeed by directing investments to Kenya.

While officially opening the meeting between governors from the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy and investors in Dallas, Texas, Mr.Odinga said America has always stood with Kenya at times of significant transition like the one the country is undergoing today.

Mr. Odinga down played the recent decision by President Barack Obama not to visit Kenya saying it did not mean the ties between Kenya and the US had been downgraded.

“The ties between our two countries are strong as they have always been. Don’t worry so much that President Barrack Obama never stepped in Kenya during his recent tour of Africa. I am sure the President appreciates the depth of the ties that bind our people and our countries,” Mr. Odinga said.

“The truth is; the boundaries between our people and our countries are overwhelmed by our connections. Kenya’s prosperity will benefit  America. Our security certainly contributes to America’s. The steady march of our democracy certainly advances human rights, which is a
pillar of America’s value systems,” he added.

The former PM said that because America has always stood with Kenya at significant moments, it was “therefore not a surprise” that Kenyan governors are in the US as they seek to implement devolution which he described as, the most significant provision of our new constitution.

He called on US investors to support Kenya’s governors by directing investments to various counties saying it would ensure equitable economic growth and create jobs for the youth.

“Governors are at the frontline of our dreams for an equitable society where development opportunities are evenly spread across the country. They are the most prominent symbols of the new order we are trying to create in Kenya. The Governors are on the ground. They are able to see directly what is working and what is not working, what needs to be retained and what needs to be fixed. Their success will be our success as a country,” the former PM said.

“We are at this forum to learn and to seek opportunities for the benefit of our country. I am here to invite the American business fraternity to join us in the exciting but complex journey of taking  power to the people through devolution,” he added.

Mr. Odinga said CORD prioritized expenditure on social programs that  it believes will transform the lives of the people, reduce poverty, improve healthcare and create jobs.

He called for investment in infrastructure, healthcare and education.

“A trained and skilled workforce will attract investments and also ensure the youth are able to compete for and get jobs. At the same time, a good network of feeder roads across our counties, coupled with provision of affordable, reliable, clean and efficient energy together  with healthcare will change the lives of our people,” Mr. Odinga said.

He said that although education is not entirely under the mandate ofcounty governments, the governors still welcome investments in areas that will promote Early Child Education, create a sound working environment for teachers and proper infrastructure in schools for the pupils. He called for investment in Agriculture which remains the main source of income for our people.

Mr. Odinga said changing weather patterns across the world, Kenya  included, means the sector cannot stand in its traditional form.“We need to set up more research institutions; to produce more quality and diseases and drought resistant seeds. We need to produce fertilizers and to pursue irrigated agriculture. We also need to process  our agricultural produce and package them for the global market. I invite you to partner with us in this too,” he said.

Mr. Odinga appealed to the governors to establish linkages and learn from America’s long history with devolution, multipartism and the culture of bipartisanship that has enabled decentralization to work in the US.

“Some of the goals we are pursuing back home require that we join hands with colleagues from other parties in a bipartisan manner. Securing Devolution requires that the governors, the senators and Members of Parliament must work hand in hand,” Mr. Odinga said.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

PM Raila Odinga Hails Makueni County Voters For Electing CORD’s Mutula Kilonzo Jr To The Senate

Dallas, Texas USA

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has hailed Makueni County voters for electing Cord’s Mutula Junior as their new senator.

Mr Odinga also congratulated the Wiper Democratic Party and CORD leaders for the firm stand that ensured the coalition clinched the seat.

Mr Odinga thanked the youth who poured in Makueni in their thousands to stand with one of their own, Kilonzo Junior , and to ensure Cord won the seat.

The former PM also thanked Mutula Kilonzo Junior’s sister Kethi Kilonzo for her fight for Makueni seat, which was frustrated by Jubilee, saying it inspired Makueni residents to come out in their thousands to make their intentions known.


”I have just received good news that the Makueni people have elected Cord’s Mutula Junior. I am very happy that the Makueni people have  confirmed to the doubting Thomas that they are still ardent supporters and member of the Cord as many majority Kenyans are’ he said.

“I congratulate Junior. I congratulate the Wiper Democratic Party and the CORD fraternity for refusing to budge. This victory shows our future lies in standing together especially in times of trial, and Makueni was a big trial on our resolve and our unity,” Odinga added.

Referring to the struggle that pushed Kethi out, the former PM said the young lawyer remains a critical member of the Coalition going forward and asked her to stay focused and support her brother and the party, adding that CORD believes Jubilee will never forgive or give her rest but the  party will stand with her and the family.

Mr Odinga said CORD is determined to hold the hands of the youth and lift them to key leadership positions as shown in the coalition’s fight to put a young
man in a critical Senate seat after Jubilee ruined her sister’s chances.

He said the election of Kilonzo Junior is a win for the forces of Devolution that are determined to ensure all regions of Kenya get a fair share of the national cake out of the taxes they pay.

The former Prime Minister spoke during a dinner party organized for him and his  entourage that included governors by Kenyans residing in Texas, a head of a two day summit between the County Chief Executives and key investors.

He challenged Kenyans living in the Diaspora to help County Governments stabilize economically by investing in the country.

Raila said the country new system of governance will succeed in alleviating poverty if Governors got support from Kenyans in the Diaspora through ‘back home investments’.

‘The foreigner investors we are looking  for every time will only play a minimal role in spurring economical growth of our county economies. Some investors will invest with a set mind that part of the profits they will make, must go back to their mother countries but if a Kenyan invests back home that is a win win situation’ Raila told a team of Kenyans in Dallas, Texas in the USA.

The former PM spoke on Friday Said he ‘Kenya can only be built by Kenyans themselves no matter where they are’ he said. The Cord coalition leader was accompanied by Governors among them John Nyagarama (Nyamira, Alfred Mutua (Machakos) Josephat Nanok (Turkana),  David Ngetiany (Kajiado), Cyprian Awiti (Homabay), Ranguma (Kisumu), rasanga amoth(Siaya),James ongwae(Kisii) Amason Kingi (Kilifi)and Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia)

Also in attendance was National Assembly leader of Minority Jakoyo Midiwo and Eliud Owalo,among others, Speaking on behalf of the two day summit organizers, Raphael Atore dispelled fears that his group was harbouring political agenda in inviting only Cordallied governors.

“We have no political agenda. We are not here to campaign for Raila Odinga or party as such but we opted to invite Cord Governors because of their being in the opposition. As Opposition allied leaders they will carry out investments transparently bearing in mind their roles as the ruling coalition’s watchdogs’ he said.

He said the organizers had invited leading investors to interact with the governors and agree on best partnership modalities. 'Our main focus as Kenyans in the Diaspora now is to help our governors come up with means of at least reducing poverty rated as being the highest in Nyanza and North Eastern and Eastern parts of the Country’ said Ochieng.

He added ‘ours is to revolutionalise management of development matters for the better Kenya under devolution’ he said.

After the Dallas meeting Raila will lead his entourage to three other States in the USA.

Friday, 7 June 2013

SUSTAINING DEMOCRACY’S FUTURE IN AFRICA: A CHALLENGE TO THE NEXT GENERATION - Raila Odinga

Presentation by Hon. Raila A. Odinga, Former Prime Minister, Republic of Kenya during the Forum at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.
____________________________

Mr Chairman; Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is always an honour for me to have the opportunity to discuss a subject that ever-remains so close to my heart: democracy, particularly with special reference to my continent, Africa;

For some people in this audience, democracy in Africa could be mere theory; safely commented upon and discussed from the safe confines of the academia or a conference setting.

For some us though, it has become life; real life. At your age, my generation of Africans believed there was only one threat that, once conquered, everything would be fine on our continent.

Growing up in the Africa of the 1950s and 1960s, we believed that once colonialism was defeated, the future would be bliss.

While today we repeatedly say Africa’s future belongs to its young people, in the Africa of pre and immediate post independence period, the present and the future were in the hands of the revered founding fathers. We deeply trusted the founders of our newly independent nations.

The idea that after independence, Africans could once again take up arms, return to the streets and even to the bushes to fight fellow Africans who were taking over the reigns of power from the colonialists was extremely remote.
Independence had come. The leadership comprised those who had fought for basic freedoms of expression, speech, association and movement.

We assumed the leaders understood the pain of being denied these freedoms. They understood the pain of inequitable distribution of resources.

They knew the pain of being discriminated against on the basis of tribe, race, religion and place of origin. They would not commit such sins against their own people.

Today, we know we were wrong. The struggle that the African people have had to endure in the years after independence have been as vicious as, sometimes more vicious than, the ones they waged against the colonialists.
It was a struggle laced with the pain of being betrayed by a brother, an uncle, a father, a neighbour, and a friend. Where were we to turn?

This is the reality this generation of Africans here in Pretoria and across the Continent have to face. We must never trust individuals. Only institutions count.
Even more importantly, we bequeath to you that the reality that freedom, as President Ronal Reagan said, is never more than a generation from extinction.

It must be fought for, protected, and handed on to the next generation to do the same, “or one day, we will spend our sunset years telling our children and their children how it was once like in a land where men were free.”

Let a young Kenyan, Zimbabwean, Sudanese, South African or Ugandan not say “the environment is so bad here, let me struggle and get out to Britain, the U.S, France or any other countries where systems seem to work.”

You have a rendezvous with destiny. To protect democracy, the youth of Africa must reinvent the spirit of patriotism that informed our struggle to be free.

And by patriotism, I don’t mean blind obedience. I mean a deliberate effort by the youth to treat their countries as the last heaven on earth where if they lose freedom, there is nowhere to escape to.

You have the responsibility to tell those in power that the first duty of the government is to protect the people, not run or ruin their lives.

Sometimes you will succeed in these efforts. Sometimes you will fail. But there is always an option. You have the energy, the flexibility the audacity to dream. And you have the numbers.

So do what Reagan told us: “When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”

Engage in the affairs of your nation and your parties. Retreat and surrender are never options.

Leaders, elders and pioneers; whether in government or out have a duty to keep empowering the youth, support their education, strengthen their grassroots networks and help them keep the flames of liberation burning.

Your generation is coming up well aware that the single goal we were made to pursue; that of throwing out the colonialists, was not good enough.
We know the colonialists left, but in a number of places, secret admirers took over from where they left.

This generation is therefore confronted with two paths and two realities. One reality you must grow up with is that the struggle in Africa continues.
You must know that without securing the basic freedoms, you are on a path to conflict, bloodshed, underdevelopment, poverty, racism, tribalism and religious intolerance and strife.
The other path will lead you to more democratic space, more opportunities more freedoms. It is the path to take.

Let me conclude by reminding you that there still remain forces that want to perpetuate impunity in the continent.
They scheme to scuttle the free expression of the popular will by ensuring that even the most expensive electoral technology must fail in African elections.
They endorse fraudulent elections, even where all other facts point to the contrary;
They ensure that even judicial decisions are compromised and a far cry from basic sense of natural justice and expectations, and;
Who knows, they will ensure that any remnants of true African liberators are gagged, hounded and tormented to their graves;

I remain optimistic and emboldened by faith; that with your engagement, propelled by the history you have been eye witnesses to, Africa will triumph; the goodness that God intended for all of us will triumph over all evil;

And as I said as Prime Minister, Africa remains the next frontier for genuine economic hope, peace and prosperity.

RT. HON. RAILA AMOLO ODINGA

Friday, 31 May 2013

Kalonzo: The ICC Cases Should Not Be Terminated


By Maureen Murimi
Citizen News Kenya


Former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has strongly lashed out at the plan by the government to have the cases against President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto at the International Criminal Court (ICC) terminated.

Kalonzo says such a move to end the crimes against humanity charges against Kenyatta, Ruto and Joshua Sang would deny victims of the 2007 post election violence justice.

Speaking after attending a wedding in Nairobi, the former VP refuted lies claims in the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) final report that implicated him in land grabbing and recommended that he be investigated further.Speaking at the same function, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga praised the TJRC report and called for its full implementation.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Raila Odinga Turns Down Government Diplomatic Job Offer

HANDSHAKE: President Uhuru and Raila Odinga
Raila Odinga yesterday politely declined an offer by the Jubilee Government to work as an envoy explaining that his “plate is full.” Mr. Odinga said his focus is to strengthen the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD).

Raila Odinga later on urged those still sympathising with him for losing the presidency, to stop. Speaking in Khwisero constituency on Saturday during the burial of Mama Ellena Andayi, 93, mother to area lawmaker Benjamin Andola, Mr. Odinga said he was ready to soldier on despite losing the Presidency, adding he would re-organise his house.

“Do not tell me sorry for what happened, I do not wish to hear this. When a cooking stick breaks, do you stop preparing your meal? Certainly not! And that is why we want to state that we have enough work to do,” said Raila Odinga.

The meeting yesterday was important to show the people that there is no animosity between the Government and CORD. However, Raila Odinga is firmly in the opposition trenches ready to ensure services are delivered as promised to Kenyans.